A Finnish grass and chocolate-fed Ayrshire sirloin was crowned the World’s Best Steak this year, as JN Meat International retained its title in 2021. The victory marks the third time the Danish firm has lifted the supreme world champion title at the annual event, having triumphed in 2018 and 2019.
JN Meat International’s winning cut, from a 16-month-old heifer fed between 300-500 grams of chocolate daily, was praised by judges for its ‘very sweet and tender taste’.
“This sirloin was unlike any you've tasted before,” Ioannis Grammenos, chair of the 50-strong panel of independent judges, and executive chef at the multi-award-winning Heliot Steak House in London, said.
“Unique and evenly distributed marbling throughout the meat meant it melted in your mouth but still retained some bite to it. Incredibly tender, juicy and flavoursome, this steak's delicious and long-lasting taste lingered in the mouth, making you want to eat more and more of it. A well-deserved and worthy winner.”
JN Meat International also collected gongs in the World’s Best Sirloin and World’s Best Grass-Fed categories.
The WSC, which is organised by FoodNavigator publisher William Reed Business Media, was held at Dublin’s FIRE Steakhouse & Bar in association with official host partner Bord Bia and official supplier Synergy Grill Technology.
Lorraine Hendle, MD of the retail, manufacturing & hospitality portfolio at William Reed Business Media, said that the competition received ‘a record number of entries’ and added that the calibre of the steaks were ‘absolutely exceptional’.
“We didn’t think it was possible for the bar to be raised any higher. We were wrong and can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store,” she commented.
Jack’s Creek wagyu ‘world’s best fillet’
Australian beef producer Jack’s Creek was recognised as producing the world’s best fillet this year, when its 100% grain-fed wagyu took the category top spot.
Overall, the family-owned premium beef producer lifted three top gongs and 12 gold medals, with its Angus/Wagyu cross collecting the World’s Best Rib-Eye and World’s Best Grain Fed titles.
Jack’s Creek’s pure-bred Wagyu, which was reared on Bimbadeen Farm in Queensland, was praised for being ‘extremely juicy with a buttery flavour and silky texture’.
WSC judge Grammenos also applauded the producer’s Angus/Wagyu rib-eye for its “sensational marbling” and “robust taste”.
“The fat rippled right through the cut giving the steak a lovely and intense flavour as well as an incredibly succulent texture,” he said. “The tenderness of the meat was something that surprised me, especially for a ribeye. A stunning steak and crowd-pleaser every meat eater would enjoy.”
When Irish eyes are smiling
Irish producers were given cause to celebrate, notching up a ‘record-breaking’ haul of 46 gold medals in the 2021 WSC – a first for any country in the competition’s six-year history.
Irish meat suppliers ABP Cahir, Dawn Meats and Kepak and retailers including Lidl Ireland and SuperValu were among the winners to emerge triumphant. Irish meat exporters Ashbourne Meat and Liffey Meats, as well as Higgins Butchers, James Whelan Butchers, FX Buckley and Martin Jennings, also made the cut.
All the 46 gold-medal-winning cuts were reared on a grass-fed diet.
Sirloin proved the most popular steak securing 19 gold medals, followed by rib-eye which won 16 and fillet which took home 11.
Irish Angus Cross was the most popular breed for the Irish steaks, followed by Hereford and Aberdeen Angus.
Speaking about the tally, Joe Burke, senior manager for meat at Bord Bia, World Steak Challenge official host partner said: “In the history of the World Steak Challenge, no country has ever secured this many gold medals.
“It’s a phenomenal amount, a real testament to the excellent quality of the beef produced here and the outstanding work of our dedicated producers and loyal customers putting Ireland well and truly on the map.”
For a full list of winners, visit https://worldsteakchallenge.com/live/en/page/winners-2021