16 July 2021

Meet the Maker: Southland’s Quality Meats is raising the steaks with dry-aged beef

| Sophia Brady
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Alan Matthews and Reece Travers

Alan Matthews and Reece Travers from Southland’s Quality Meats in Mawson have recently installed a dry-aged cabinet. Photos: Sophia Brady.

Southland’s Quality Meats is an ode to the great suburban butcher. Unassuming from the outside, the Mawson retailer’s window display, unsurprisingly for a butcher, is packed to the brim with fresh chops, roasts, steaks, cutlets, sausages and smoked smallgoods.

Along with their name in big, bold red letters, the sign out the front of the shop says personalized service (yes, with a ‘z’). That service is as important to their business ethos as sourcing quality produce, and they put it into practice with every customer.

As a local to the area, I pop in to fill my carnivorous grocery requirements and have not only been on the receiving end of said service, but I’ve witnessed it time and time again. Regulars are greeted by name, and it seems everyone gets preferential treatment.

Until recently, there was also shelving along the front packed with numerous awards won over their 25-year history for their house-made sausages, patties, rissoles and smoked smallgoods. The accolades are still coming thick and fast. They placed first and second in a local NSW competition for their Greek lamb sausages and boneless ham, but the shelving has been dismantled to make way for a dry-aged beef cabinet.

Dry-aged beef

The premium dry-aged offering is said to do for red meat what cellaring does for wine.

The special fridge, which is optimised for the perfect temperature and humidity, is the next chapter in providing first-class cuts to local home cooks. Usually only seen on the menu of the city’s fanciest restaurants, the premium dry-aged offering is said to do for red meat what cellaring does for wine.

“Dry aging is all about controlling the right environment. Set to 85% humidity and a consistent temperature between 0 and 2 degrees, the enzymes in the meat break down the connective tissues, evaporating all the moisture. With that, you get a super flavour and real tenderness,” said Reece Travers, the new owner of Southland’s Quality Meats.

Reece Travers

Reece Travers has taken over the business.

Reece took the reins of the business this week from Alan Matthews, who had owned the store since 1996.

Alan gave Reece extra tutelage when he joined him seven years ago after finishing his apprenticeship.

“After completing my four-year apprenticeship as a butcher, to fit into the high standard of Southland’s Quality Meat, I had to complete a further three years of training under Alan. It is a completely different standard from your normal butcher shop; everything must be done perfectly and meticulously. That is what people come here for,” Reece said.

Alan will still be a regular fixture instore serving customers and Reece will still be upholding the strict quality control and service everyone has come to expect. Now the personal service has gone to a whole new level with the introduction of dry-aged products.

“Customers can come in and have a chat about what dry-aged beef product they want. We will show them what is available and then, upon selection, the piece will be put aside in the dry ager from anywhere between four and six weeks,” Reece explained.

“They can come to look at it every week and see how it is going and when it is ready, we give you a call and you can come in to watch us prepare it. We think that a big part of the experience for our customers is watching us prepare it in-house to their exact specifications. People want to see that! So, we trim it and cut it to the thickness they want and then individually vacuum seal the steaks or roasts for them.”

Preparing dry-aged beef

Customers can watch as their piece of dry-aged beef is prepared in-house to their exact specifications.

Southland’s Quality Meats is located at shop 1-93 Mawson Place, Mawson, and is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 am until 6:30 pm and Saturday from 7:30 am until 2:00 pm.

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Congratulations to Reece taking over such a wonderful butchery! A great choice Alan, in handing over to Reece!
Proud of all your butchery’s achievements! ?

Very friendly and knowledgeable staff.Highly recommended!

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