The secret to the perfect steak? It starts on the farm. BLACK Bar & Grill executive chef Dany Karam shares how he serves up one of the best steaks in Sydney with the help of NSW farmers Rangers Valley.
Chef Dany Karam insists he’s about two things and two things only: fire and meat. Of course, it’s a little more complex than that. The fire in question comes from a pair of custom-designed grills in the open kitchens at BLACK Bar & Grill. These gleaming contraptions – on which the heat is controlled by oversized wheels that raise and lower the grill over flames fed by ironbark and cherrywood – are where more than 300 steaks are grilled to juicy perfection each service in one of Sydney’s best steakhouses. And then there’s the meat. For this is no ordinary beef; it’s the kind that chefs all over the world clamour to get their tongs on.
On any given night, steak lovers can pick from more than 15 different cuts of beef on the menu at BLACK – opting for grass or grain-fed; waygu or angus; a dainty 180g striploin up to a somewhat legendary 1kg ribeye, each one cooked precisely to suit the cut, thickness and marbling. On the grill today Dany is cooking grain-fed Black Angus with a marble score of five from Rangers Valley. The NSW farmers are one of the respected producers that have helped give Australian beef a reputation with chefs around the world.
Chef Dany grew up eating farm-fresh food in Lebanon and has cooked in fine dining restaurants from the Middle East to Europe and Australia. No matter where he’s worked, it’s generally accepted that the very best beef comes out of Australia. “It’s top notch,” he says. Now, as head chef of BLACK, Dany has the best cuts of premium beef reared across Australia at his fingertips. And one of his favourites comes from Rangers Valley in the scenic New England Tablelands of NSW.
Find out more about Dany’s childhood and how it inspires his cooking.
Flame-grilled to perfection
As he turns the thick steak over the naked flame (it’s a fallacy, it turns out, that you should only turn a steak once), Dany douses it regularly with wagyu fat and pink Murray salt. No other seasoning or glaze is needed, not when you have a cut of meat with this much flavour.
As he cooks, Dany explains in detail how this head of cattle was raised – he knows that the herd was fed on grain for no less than 270 days: one of the longest feeding cycles of any farmer in the country. The slower the growing process the more tender the beef, and the higher that all-important melt-in-your-mouth marbling. It’s the kind of in-depth familiarity with ingredient that any true steak chef should have, and knowledge that Rangers Valley has been only too happy to share with the chef.
From farm to plate
Good steak is what Dany’s career is based on, and dealing directly with the farmers is an essential part of his job. “We talk to them. When choosing the steaks, there’s a lot of work involved… sustainability is the most important thing,” he says. “We like to know where the animal comes from; that it has been raised in a sustainable way; what the animal is eating.”
Dany has been out to visit the feedlots at the Rangers Valley station, located eight hours north of Sydney. He has deep respect for the producers he credits with being responsible for some of Australia’s best Angus beef.
Rangers Valley is at the forefront of animal welfare practices in the industry, with stress-free cows left to roam in lush green pastures and grow at a natural rate. The results, as you can taste on the plate at BLACK, speak for themselves.
We thought you might like…