Alison Meagher – perhaps better known as “Butcher Girl Alison” – feels most comfortable with a sharp knife in one hand and a slab of meat in the other.
The celebrity butcher, who is in Rockhampton for Beef Australia 2021, says there is a growing interest in using all parts of a carcase – from the nose to the tail.
“I enjoy the art of it,” she said.
“Designing recipes with secondary cuts, using the whole animal, the creativity that comes along with it — the craftsmanship.
“A lot of passion goes into it and that’s why I love it so much.
“The price of beef is just phenomenal, so I think it’s really important that we start to use all these cuts.
“The price of your scotches and your loin cuts are so expensive — there are other alternatives that are just as tender and just as flavoursome.”
Ms Meagher held a nose-to-tail dinner at Beef Australia, explaining how a carcase is broken down and how to use every part of a beast.
She said once the precise work of separating the carcase was done, even home cooks could work with unusual cuts of meat.
“It’s like frying a steak — once it’s done properly, it’s manipulated for you by the butcher or someone that knows how to do it, so easy,” she said.
“The tri tip, the tail of the rump, the muscles within the shin shank … some off the shoulder blade, the banjo, the petite tender — people are more interested, they’re intrigued.”
Ms Meagher grew up on a cattle farm in regional Victoria and has worked in the meat industry in Australia and overseas for about 20 years.
“My father is a beef producer, I love cooking,” she said.
“I was a food stylist for many years.
“I worked in London in a little butcher shop and I got quite intrigued by the art of using a knife and the craftsmanship that went along with it.
A male-dominated industry
Ms Meagher said working with other women in the industry was empowering.
“I think it’s a great time for us because it’s something that’s been so male-dominated and we can be at the peak of it,” she said.
“It would’ve been nice to have someone like me saying it’s actually possible — if you’re passionate about it you can choose this as your profession.”