No Minister

In Praise of the Humble Forequarter.

with 3 comments

Yesterday The Cook slow roasted a shoulder of lamb in the oven. The roast came from Woolworths and was half boned. That is to say, the shoulder blade remained while the leg bone had been removed. $13.50/kg. While the forequarter is cheaper than the hindquarter, I’ve always preferred it’s more delicate flavour.

Kiwi readers may not understand Australian lamb is killed much later than NZ lamb and is closer to what you would know as hogget. I think the Aussies have this one right with a typical NZ lamb carcass dressing out at 17kg while the tans Tasman version is closer to 24kg. Much, much better flavour. I don’t know what the Poms saw in those insipid Romney/Southdown cross lambs we sent by the shipload in the fifties and sixties.

The very best sheep meat you can get is Merino blackface cross (e g South Suffolk.) Of course, most of Australia’s ewe flock is Merino.

Speaking of which, at the age of eighteen, Adolf worked as a ‘seagull’ at Opua wharf, loading butter and lamb for Great Britain. We were all cockies or cockies’ sons so we went like hell to get the job done. I was in the hold, picking the frozen lamb carcasses off the sling and throwing them spinning, as any good halfback would, to my offsider four metres away who stacked them in the hold. The sweat poured off.

I remember locking up and seeing the ship’s officers watching. They didn’t know what to make of these crazy colonials.

For eight days work my take home pay was eighty pounds. in1964. (There were big bonuses for fast loading.) That was more than my parents’ annual profit from their farm (thanks to strikes by those lazy pricks in the meat workers’ union)

Inflation adjusted that was $3,373 in the hand for eight days work. That’s equivalent to $140k per year before tax.

Anyway. For tea tonight Adolf’s having The Cook’s cold shoulder. And it’s bloody good!

Written by adolffinkensen

June 24, 2022 at 7:58 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Well we are having NZ Lamb Rump from Hello Fresh, baked in the oven by me in olive oil from Greece, inserted with with garlic slices, a dash of lime, and lots of salt and pepper, drowned, I mean drowned with a French Code d’Rhone.

    Love lamb!! The best place in Wellington for lamb Greek Style, slow cooked for 5- 6 hours is Oikis. Simply Superb but the bastard wont give me the recipe.!!

    Before your time Adolf but my old man “stoked” his way in to London in 1936, being from Gore, on one of the frozen lanb ships , Rangiteki ? They of course called into Opua, and Tologa Bay as well I think.

    In a twist of fate he wanted to be a ship’s engineer but the ships engineer said he was crazy due to the lifestyle, so on the wharf in UK he saw and advert for RAF engineering apprentices and he became an aircraft engineer instead.

    After the war he returned to NZ and became the most licenced aircraft engineer in NZ, with BA even trying to steal him away as their chief engineer in Los Angeles.

    So is the twist of fate, but he always talked about stoking a lamb ship around Cape Horn! Very tough man!!


    June 24, 2022 at 8:20 pm

  2. Always regarded the meat nearest the head to be the sweetest. Neck chop stewed as in an “Irish”
    I would have agreed with your suffolk cross comment until I bred Texels in the 90s.
    We had a Suffolk stud in the Waipars days.
    But the ultimate is Merino for sure no arguments there, little bro drops some in regularly, from the last such flock in the Amuri Basin, now one very large Dairy farm.


    June 25, 2022 at 12:31 pm

  3. Hogget… now there is a word that is lost on most people these days.
    I agree that grass feeding for longer made all the difference

    Growing up on a sheep and beef farm in Tirau, South Waikato, my father used to have a
    small group of hogget ” Killers “. just for the kitchen table

    Slit the throat with the knife, bleed, skinned and then hung for 24 to 36 hours to allow the meat to set and get
    rid of excess moisture. This is another difference people may not know of. On you tube you can see clips of what is called dry aging.

    That’s why I only buy bone cuts suitable for slow cook casseroles

    Edward Main

    June 25, 2022 at 8:58 pm

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