High steaks: Researchers call for beef taste testers

MAKE NO MIS-STEAK: This isn't a drill. CSU Master of Philosophy student Ashleigh Kilgannon from the Graham Centre needs volunteers to taste-test succulent beef. Picture: Les Smith
MAKE NO MIS-STEAK: This isn't a drill. CSU Master of Philosophy student Ashleigh Kilgannon from the Graham Centre needs volunteers to taste-test succulent beef. Picture: Les Smith

Calling all Wagga carnivores! The Graham Centre needs 220 volunteers to sink their teeth into some cutting-edge steak. 

Testers will sample nine juicy morsels cooked to 71 degree perfection, all in the name of science. 

CSU Master of Philosophy student Ashleigh Kilgannon is exploring reducing the aging time of beef to save consumers and producers money and boost sustainability.

Currently, beef products are aged for a minimum of 14 days between 0 and 2 degrees to improve flavour and tenderness. 

“If we can age it a little bit quicker without compromising the safety or eating quality, then it will benefit everyone,” Ms Kilgannon said.

It could also save a lot of energy.  

“If you can decrease energy use then you’re also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from that refrigeration plant, and sustainability is another key concern of the process in the industry,” Ms Kilgannon’s supervisor and Professor in food engineering, John Mawson said. 

Ms Kilgannon has been experimenting with different cooling temperatures and times, but hungry humans will have the final say. 

“All our instrumental measures just give you a cold, hard, number,” she said. 

“Meat might be really tender but if it’s not juicy then the consumer won’t like it… machines can’t take into account those interactions."

The hundreds of volunteers are needed to gather data across cooking preferences, from bloody to burnt. 

Tasting panels will be held in Wagga from October 9-12. 

Tasters must be at least 18 years old and red-meat consumers. To register, email: ashleigh.kilgannon@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Following the testing, data will be analysed over three to six months before making recommendations to industry.