Words and Images: Richard Cornish
Farmer and butcher Alan Snaith is always coming up with new ways to trim and package his award-winning belted Galloway beef.
Based on his farm out in Clonbinane 70km north of Melbourne, he and his wife Lizette raise the cattle that they fatten on the lush pastures in Healesville and Macedon. The cattle are raised free range and processed when they are around 650kg or between 2.5-3.5 years. The Snaiths sell their beef under the Warialda Belted Galloway brand and have worked closely with chefs across Victoria to produce a highly recognised label selling the Scottish lowland beef.
In the past he has championed brisket years before the belly cut became popular with hipster meat smokers and developed fermented beef smallgoods with licenced processors. Alan trained to become a butcher and is known for his use of the boning knife to sculpt out the tender pieces of muscle that lay between tough and chewy connective tissue. He has given us hangar steak and bavettes. He carves out the tender banjo steak from the chewy blade.
His latest offer is the deckle. This is a cap that runs over the brisket. It needs slow cooking but is quite thin. If cooked until tender it would be quite dry. So, what Alan has done is layer up several pieces of deckle, seasoned each piece with Olsson’s garlic and lemon salt and trussed them up. The result is a lovely ingot shaped piece of beef, artfully strung that slow cooks to a sweet, juicy and tender piece of meat that is well seasoned and tangy.
Ideal served with vegetables and mashed potato or salad and polenta. It needs to be placed in a tray in which it just fits and placed in a hot oven for 20 minutes to get a little colour. It should be covered, the oven turned down to 120°C-140°C and slow cooked for between 4-6 hours depending on its size.
It needs to rest for 20 minutes, and the juices used to make a sauce.
What: Slow Cook Deckle $28 p/kg
When: Available now
Where: Buy online directly from Open Food Network, or from Veg Out Farmers Markets, Lancefield Farmers Market, Castlemaine Farmers Market, Bendigo Community Farmers Market