Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Praising Australian beef and lamb

Why can't the United States produce high-quality, free-range beef and lamb for a reasonable price, such as the Australian products I have been buying at ShopRite and Costco for years?

For dinner tonight, I ate about half of an Australian lamb rib roast, which I trimmed and cut into chops, along with a salad of Jersey tomatoes and peaches. The leftover chops will make another dinner. The grass-fed lamb is sweet and tender, raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. The chops spent about 10 minutes under the broiler for medium rare (turned once), seasoned with only salt and black pepper.

Costco sells the rib roast for $9.99 a pound (mine cost $11.49). Australian lamb shoulder chops are cheaper, but I have searched in vain for them in recent weeks at ShopRite, which has instead offered USDA lamb. U.S. producers make no claims that their lamb is raised naturally.

About 10 days ago, my dinner was two small steaks, no more than 7 ounces or 8 ounces total, cut from that grass-fed, free-range Australian beef tenderloin I bought on sale at ShopRite for $2.99 a pound with a Price Club Card. (In other words, they gave it away.) I seasoned it with steak rub from Costco and cooked it rare to medium rare: The steaks were deliciously chewy and beefy.

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