Australian-born and bred, Jess is an author, cook, host and Hardcore Carnivore, where she loves to BBQ, spread the word about the joys of eating red meat and of course cook and share her recipes with the rest of the world. As she gets set to host RMAC’s Red Meat Nation event next week, Red Meat Matters asked Jess to share with us her pearls of wisdom on all things red meat-related.

You’re an authority on the Texan barbecue. How do they do it differently over there compared to here in Australia?

Texas and US style barbecue is SO different from the barbies we know and love in Australia. IN fact, they would call most of  our backyard cooking antics “grilling”. Barbecue traditionally refers to low and slow cooking – tough secondary cuts cooked using smoke and indirect or gentle heat for several hours at a time.

What are the top three red meats or cuts, that no good BBQ should be without?

For traditional Texas BBQ, brisket is king! Smoked brisket is one of the hardest to master, but one of the most flavorsome things you will ever eat. Beef ribs, lamb shoulder, beef clod and cheeks are all superb cuts for barbecue.

Red meat is a huge part of the Aussie culture, but can get a bad rap by some nutritionists, what’s your response to the critics?

It doesn’t matter if you are talking about enjoying an adult beverage, time spent on your phone, or red meat – everything in life is about balance and moderation. I eat red meat several times a week, but intersperse it with frequent visits to the gym. I also keep a good balance of well marbled cuts and leaner options.

What do you think sets Australian red meat apart from the rest of the world?

Our natural resources in Australia, particularly our incredible pasture, have a lot to do with producing super high-quality red meat. Not to mention, our grading and MSA system is cutting edge compared to most others worldwide, and that means consistent quality for the end consumer.

You have a variety of Hardcore Carnivore meat seasonings, but what’s your personal favourite when cooking for yourself?

Ha! That’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child! I think the very first seasoning I released, Hardcore Carnivore Black, is probably a favorite still. It works some serious magic, particularly on thick cut steaks. I designed it to be very simple in flavor profile, so it enhances  without overpowering the meat, which is the real star.

You have held ‘Beef Workshops’ in Texas, to educate people on cooking with beef, can you see this idea catching on here? Do you think this kind of initiative is needed to bring back national pride in our high-quality Aussie red meat products?

Yes, I definitely think a hindrance to many people is being intimidated by the actual cooking of the meat. So many folks I speak to are worried about overcooking or ruining a nice cut, so they stay away out of fear, which is just crazy! It’s SO not difficult to become an excellent red meat cook – I spend a good portion of my cookbook, Hardcore Carnivore, talking about methods and debunking the myth that its complicated.

We all know the four tastes – salty, sweet, sour and bitter, but you’re an advocator for a fifth taste – Umani, which presents in the mouth as a meaty flavour as found in mushrooms, cheese and, of course, red meat. Can you see the fifth taste being widely acknowledged anytime soon?

I definitely think that “meaty” fifth taste of Umami is getting more and more popular. I think maybe the name “umami” rather than “meaty” makes it a little more complex than it needs to be – most of everyone loves the flavor when they understand it.

You’ll be hosting our Red Meat Nation event next week, what should attendees look forward to on the menu that evening?

I’ll be trying to bring some Texas flavors to the table, but the real aim is to celebrate the wonderful main ingredient – Aussie Red Meat!