AC Butchery is somewhat of a foodie institution from what I can gather. Quite often I’ll come across a foodie resource which will give a positive review here; an honourable mention there. Once you enter their establishment and sample some of their wares, you’ll start to understand why.
The meat counter is a veritable array of potential taste sensations patiently awaiting their moment to shine as some of Sydney’s best meats and small goods, at least in my humble and unsolicited opinion. There’s quite a selection to choose from, including a variety of cured meats (both local and imported), an eclectic ensemble of handmade sausages (I counted twelve on my last visit), and the usual cuts of fresh meats with the occasional cut of aged beef.
For the gourmet hamper, I decided to go with some fresh prosciutto and an aged standing rib roast.
To a lot of people, prosciutto has a certain quality akin to caviar or truffles whereby its mere utterance or inclusion in a dish implies a gourmet standard, though by no means to the same extent. This made for a worthy starter to the hamper.
Until I’d asked the friendly staff, I’d not realised that there were four varieties of prosciutto available – two imported, as well as one fresh (my selection) and one smoked, both locally produced by the butchery. The fresh prosciutto had been cured for around 9 months. I was told that this was about as young as you’d want it to mature, to allow it to develop the right texture and depth of flavour.
As my order was being put together, I was offered a scrappy off-cut to try; a cast off that would have otherwise made the butchery equivalent of the cutting room floor.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (or Merriam-Webster Dictionary for any Americans out there) foodgasm is yet to be officially recognised as an English word. That’s fine for now. There aren’t words that’d do justice to the moist, velvety texture, and the clean, uncomplicated flavour of this impeccable Italian item.
However, if you’ve ever had a food experience that causes you to involuntarily and simultaneously grunt, moan and sigh, with your eyes rolling back in sheer pleasure; when after you regain your senses, you notice fellow customers giving you odd looks while the floor staff work away as if nothing happened (perhaps out of politeness), you should have some idea of what a foodgasm is like.
Not that I’m speaking from experience…
The standing rib roast was sold on the floor as single bone “cutlets”. However, the staff were more than happy to break open a cryovac bag and trim the roast to service my request. If I understand aged meats correctly, this would make it a wet-aged roast.
The meat was quite tender to the touch and smelled very clean i.e. not much of anything. Unfortunately, I can’t speak for its flavour but perhaps that’s material for another article.