Indooroopilly butcher Pete Cabassi is a third-generation beef farmer and passionate about the craft of butchery.
Opening his high-end butchery Cabassi & Co Artisan Butchers at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre recently, Cabassi says his aim is to feature Australia’s most awarded brands of meat alongside smaller seasonal producers but all with the aim of preparing quality cuts in-house and sharing knowledge on how to best prepare them with their customers.
“It’s really about the connection to people breeding the cattle and ensuring the product is at its very best when it’s presented to our customers,” says Cabassi.
wagyu beef is a particular favourite of Cabassi’s, something he has developed a personal affinity for over the past decade.
“I was looking world-wide for the very best in beef, and had the opportunity to seek wagyu out when I started hearing whispers about ‘Kobe’ beef in Japan. It was considered underground knowledge back then in the early 90s and I wanted to find out more. I found out that wagyu beef was bred in the Kobe (Hyōgo) Prefecture of Japan and it was exactly what I was looking for!
“When I finally had the opportunity to see and taste it in 1994, it was an ‘aha’ moment! I started thinking – how could we get this to work in Australia?
“The first thing that strikes you about wagyu is how tender it is, no matter what cut of meat. The second is the flavour. It is so tasty, so flavoursome.
“Then finally, when you look at it raw, it has marbled fat through the meat. Marbling equals flavour and tenderness, and wagyu is the most marbled beef on the planet – the effect makes it inherently tender, unlike other beef, which requires blending spices or sauces to achieve a similar effect.”
When buying wagyu beef, things to look for include freshness, breed, cut and marbling, says Cabassi.
“Freshness is first, because a lot of fat in the meat means it oxidises and goes off, so it has to be fresh.
“There is also a difference between cross blood and pure blood wagyu cattle which changes the flavour; I would recommend pure blood wagyu for the best quality beef.
“Finally, marbling content, which you can see in the cabinet, should be chosen based on what flavour you want – the more marbling, the higher level of fat, the more tender the cut.”