"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients." - Julia Child

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Rub & Sizzle Beef

Forbes offers the visitor great places to host a barbeque or set up a camp fire oven to enjoy premium quality local beef. The cultural heritage of Forbes beef production is rich in traditional family recipes and a back to the basics style of cooking. Traditional back to the basics styles of cooking, keeps it simple and allows the flavour of the local produce do the talking.

The paddock to plate story of beef is about understanding an industry that converts grass into meat. Beef cattle farmers must make decisions based on situational pressures of the economy, consumer markets, the climate, animal husbandry and pasture management. The journey of a blade of grass to the meat on your barbeque is one that crosses farm gates, feedlots, saleyards, abattoirs and butchers.

The Beef cattle economy in Forbes

In 2013, Forbes had an estimated 213 Beef Farms, valued at over $30 million and employing over 920 people, making beef a significant contributor to the Forbes economy.

The Forbes area specializes in the production of heavy, 12 month old castrated bulls, known as yearling steers. Yearling steers are a key focus of the substantial Forbes feedlot industry. The local feedlot industry produce grain fed yearling steers for the international and domestic market.

The fall in the price of wool and the growing international meat market have driven many farmers to convert to beef farming. Australian beef's increased share of the Japanese and South Korean markets, have increased the size of the beef market in Australia and in Forbes.

Many Forbes beef farmers have formed a diversified farm enterprise which allows them to balance the impact of fluctuating markets and rainfall. A beef cattle farmer for instance may also raise grain, lamb or wool.

Beef cattle markets

Each farmer chooses to target one of four markets and manages their farm to optimize the market's specific life stage and feed strategy. The 4 key markets of a beef farm are:

Vealer Market - calves sold off at 9 months

Yearling Market - 12 months of age

Feedlot Market with calves - at 18 months

Grass fed Market

Feed

The beef industry is about the conversion of grass to meat. Forbes's setting on the fertile Lachlan valley, offers an abundance of feed. Beef cattle in Forbes are fed on clover, lucerne, rye and native grasses. The pastures of Forbes are continually improved by farmers to optimize natural feed. Beef farmers will use a grain supplement in the drier months of summer and autumn.

Breeding

Scientific breakthroughs in pasture production are allowing greater productivity from beef cattle. Genomic technology, allows the positive attributes of an animal to be established before they reach maturity. Better insight into the genetic makeup of cattle allow farmers to predict which animals will be most effective at converting grass to meat.

Selective breeding ensures a supply of the right type of beef cattle. A Forbes producer will select a bull and join their bull to a cow for a period of 6 to 12 weeks to breed. The timing of breeding is set to coincide with plentiful feed when calves are born. An abundance of feed ensures the mother's supply of milk and a wellfed calf. Somewhere between 4 to 9 months, the calves are weaned from their mothers, to be sold to other producers or raised on their farm of birth.

When a calf has been weaned, the farmer moves into a strategy of back grounding. Back grounding is where the calf is managed to grow at a rate that allows them to be ready for market.

Breeds of cattle

The Angus breed meat is the most popular in Australia and the most prolific breed beef cattle in Forbes. Angus meat is sought for its thin lines of fat dispersed through the meat, known as marble. Marbled meat is prized by some for a more succulent flavour. Other breeds of cattle in the Forbes area include the Charolais, a popular breed due to its growth capacity, and Wagyu, the highly marbled meat preferred by the Japanese market.

Cuts of Beef

There are 10 basic cuts of beef

1. Blade/Chuck Oyster Blade steak and Chuck steak
2. Shin
3. Cube Roll
4. Brisket
5. Striploin
6. Tenderloin
7. Flank
8. Rump
9. Silverside
10. Knuckle

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Popular Cuts of Beef

We did not always live in such abundant times and traditionally beef cattle was raised to be eaten whole. People ate tail to the nose, using every part of the cow without waste. Today, people choose to practice tail to the nose approach to eating to reduce waste and make a contribution to the environment.

Below is a list of cuts from every part of the cow with cooking recommendations that will allow you to eat tail to the nose. Try different cuts of Forbes beef from one of the local Forbes butchers.

1. Blade
Oyster blade steak is from the Blade
The chuck or blade is the area from the neck until the fifth rib of the chest. The connective tissue and silver skin is taken from the oyster blade steak to reveal a tender, juicy and flavoursome steak. The Blade or Chuck is less tender than loin steaks and needs to be cooked slowly.

2. Shin
Osso Bucco is a bone-in cut of meat
The Shin is a cut of beef from the lower leg of a steer. Shin bone-in is a cut from a muscle in constant use, full of connective tissue. Slow cooking methods such as casseroling breaks down the tissues and develops a full rich flavor.

3. Cube Roll
Scotch fillet is from the cube roll
The scotch fillet is a support muscle of the striploin, that is not exposed to heavy work, with a moist and tender flavor. The scotch fillet or cube roll sits between the chuck and the striploin (sirloin) muscles over the back of the animal and is a very tender, moist and flavourful cut of beef perfect for a special roasting occasion. Given its tender nature it can also be sliced into steaks to barbecue and pan-fry or strips to stir-fry

4. Brisket
Beef brisket is from the lower chest
Brisket is a cut of meat from the lower chest. These muscles support 60% of the body weight of the cattle, developing deep connective tissue. The bisket must be cooked slowly to tenderize the meat. The point end of the brisket is a well exercised muscle best suited to slow cooking dishes like casseroles.

5. Striploin
Porterhouse and t-bone steaks from the Striploin
The striploin muscles do very little work, making them very tender. Strip loin cuts come from the upper, rear portion of the animal. Strip loin is called “strip” loin because, when removed from the bone, it produces a cut that is a thick, long strip.

6. Tenderloin
Eye fillet cuts are from the Tenderloin
The cuts of meat that are considered the most tender, such as the tenderloin, are the cuts along the backbone that move the least and have the last amount of connective tissue. Filet mignon, popular in Beef Stroganoff are cut from the tenderloin.

7. Flank
Flank steaks are used in fajitas
Flank steaks are cut from the abdominal muscles of a cow. Flank steaks are long and thin steaks that suit themselves to slow cooking, which can be shredded with a fork when cooked

8. Rump
Rump steak roast or pan fried
Rump is the cut of meat that covers the hip bone prized for its rich full flavor. Rump steak has is a popular tender steak that works as well roasted as it does barbecued.

9. Silverside
Sliverside corn beef
Silverside comes from the hind quarter of cattle above the leg. It is a muscle that is used heavily in walking which becomes tender with the moist corning cooking method.

10. Knuckle
Eye knuckle medallions
The knuckle is at the front of the hind leg just above the knee. The knuckle has two muscles with the eye of knuckle a centre muscle, which is used as a roasting medallion.