Mort & Co's The Phoenix rises to the top of the Wagyu branded beef awards

Posted on Saturday, 5 May 2018

Darling Downs based company, Mort & Co, has been awarded the highest accolade in the Australian Wagyu Association’s 2018 Wagyu Branded Beef competition.

The Phoenix, Mort & Co’s wagyu branded beef, claimed the title of Grand Champion Wagyu Brand with a top score of 803 out of a possible 910 points. It also scored Gold and Silver medals respectively in the Crossbred Wagyu and Commercial Wagyu Steak (marble score 5-7) classes. This follows the Silver and Bronze medals bestowed in last year’s Branded Beef competition and brings to five the total medal tally in just two years since the launch of Mort & Co’s wagyu brand.

The awards were presented during this year’s Australian Wagyu Association national conference that took place in Mackay from May 2 to 4.

Mort & Co’s managing director, Charlie Mort, commented on receiving the award, “It’s a fantastic achievement for the Mort & Co team. They’ve invested a tremendous effort into building our branded beef range.”

“An award like this is also testament to the dedication of our producers. They’ve done all the genetics work and we simply can’t get to this point without them.”

The branded beef competition is conducted annually by the Australian Wagyu Association in conjunction with Grand Champion Wagyu Brand sponsor, Cha Cha Char Wine Bar and Grill. A panel of 16 judges are appointed, and consists of chefs, restauranteurs, food critics, producers and associated industry personnel.

Each steak entry is adjudicated by a panel of seven, with each judge given the option of allocating up to 130 points per entry, which provides a potential mark of 910 on the scoring system.

An innovation included in this year’s competition was the decision to trial sampling the steaks from further along the striploin to showcase the entries at their full potential with bigger steaks and more marbling potential. Instead of taking steaks immediately after the removal of the gluteus medius muscle, the decision was taken to go further down the striploin, following competition protocols. From the judging panel’s analysis, the exhibits in this year’s competition presented better visually and this was reflected in the judges scores which were noticeably higher than previous years.

The competition encompasses four classes based on 100% Fullblood Wagyu (class 1), Crossbred Wagyu (class 2), Commercial Wagyu Steak marble score 5-7 (class 3) and Gourmet Sausage (class 4). The scoring criteria for each is based on visual raw appeal (30 points), tenderness (30 points), juiciness (10 points), flavour (30 points) and overall liking (30 points.). The overall Grand Champion Wagyu Brand is then awarded to the highest scoring entry from classes 1, 2 and 3.

Mort & Co’s medal haul was:

Class 2 Crossbred Wagyu

The Phoenix (by Mort & Co) – Gold medal

Score 803

Marbling 44%

Fineness of marbling index 2.90

Rib eye area 123.7

Wagyu content F2 – 75%

Breeder: Hamilton Park Pastoral Co

Judges comments: “Glorious”, “an extremely tender, juicy and beefy flavoured meat with enduring bold flavour”

Class 3 Commercial Wagyu Steak (marble score 5-7)

The Phoenix (by Mort & Co) – Silver medal

Score 711

Marbling 34%

Fineness of marbling index 2.7

Rib eye area 108.9

Wagyu content F2 – 75%

Breeder: Wentworth Cattle Co

Judges comments: “Initial juiciness”, “firm and fresh with some graininess”, “quite rich with cereal, wheaty characteristics”, “caramel, butter, button mushroom flavours”

Grand Champion Wagyu Brand (awarded to the highest scoring entry in classes 1, 2 and 3)

The Phoenix (by Mort & Co)