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Posted January 22, 2014 by Grace Smith in Competitions and Giveaways
 
 

Mr Beak’s sausage factory tour + Win one of 3 Australia Day BBQ prize packs!

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If you have never had a sausage at an Australia day BBQ then you are missing out on a gravely important Australian tradition. In a country so new, our traditions are sacred and the lazy Aussie BBQ is something to be revered. Of course, no BBQ is anywhere near complete without the requisite row of sausages. Now I love our sausagey friends just as much as the next Aussie but I’ve always eaten them with a hint of fear and guilt, shuddering to think of what really went into them. If I stopped to think about it I’m sure a montage of horse meat, puppy tails and cardboard boxes would have filled my mind. We’ve all heard the horror stories of sulphurs, starches, sugars, rabbit/camel/horse meat, artificial flavours and colours and pitiful meat content. So this year I decided to finally face my fears and solve, once and for all, this age-old culinary mystery by checking out what goes on behind the scenes at a real live Australian sausage making factory.

Mr Beak’s sausage company was kind enough to take us on a tour of their factory so we could get the sausage scoop in time for Australia Day. We assumed they were so willing to let us tour their facilities because they were quite confident that we would be impressed. However we kept a vigilant eye, making sure we got to the bottom of the frightening mystery surrounding sausages, without having the wool pulled over our eyes.

Mr Beak's sausages made by us!
Mr Beak’s sausages handmade by us!

Firstly we learned a little about the background story of the company which resonated with us as being quaintly representative of Australia’s multicultural food history. Mr Beak’s is a family business which goes back four generations. The first sausage purveyors in the family travelled the world and were inspired by the smoky chorizos of Spain, the juicy bratwursts of Germany and the spicy salsas of Mexico. The family kept these delicious meaty secrets close to their chest and shared them with their children. Luckily for us, David Beak migrated to Australia 25 years ago, bringing with him his family’s hard-won insights into making amazing sausages.

So far everything sounded sweet, no mention of puppy’s tails or monkey’s feet at this stage. But we remained skeptical, knowing full well that anything that tastes so good must have loads of evil stuff in it.

Before we could ask for ourselves, we were questioned on what we imagined was the general meat content of a sausage. Envisioning those shady, anemic looking bargain sausages served at sausage sizzles I yelped out a pessimistic 20% estimate (allowing plenty of room for the cardboard boxes, chemicals and Styrofoam of my nightmares). I was pleasantly surprised to discover however that even the generic, cheap sausages contained 72% meat! However, just as I feared, the remaining 28% seemed to be a frightening mixture of starches, sugars and artificial additives. Of course it was with great pride that we were then told that the meat content of Mr Beak’s sausages was an impressive 90%. ”Good God”, I thought, “only 10% of these sausages is made up of horrible chemicals and starches.” Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I was informed that the remaining 10% is pure herbs and spices, with no binders or artificial colours or flavours being used whatsoever. I had always assumed that unhealthy binding agents and artificial flavours were part and parcel of supermarket sausages, hence the persistent niggling guilt at eating them. I voiced this opinion and was informed that the meat of these sausages is prepared in such a way that it is able to bind without the aid of these unhealthy ingredients.

Ingredients in the test kitchen of Mr Beak's sausages
Ingredients in the test kitchen

Types of mince meat at Mr Beaks sausages test kitchen
Mr Beak’s uses pre-rigor mince (meat that has been “hot-boned,” or removed from the carcass prior to chilling and before development of rigor mortis) which enables it to bind naturally

I Ate My Way Through team in the test kitchen with Mr Beak's
The IAte My Way Through team gets hands-on

So Mr Beaks had won us over with their pure ingredients so far but we had more questions, we had to face the next fear of sausage eaters- just what meat goes into the sausages. Amazingly, all the meat used in this brand of sausages is 100% grass fed beef, meaning the animals are happier and healthier. The parts of the animal are indeed the offcuts; brisket, ribs, trim and skirt and the fat content is high. When questioned about the fat content, it was explained that it’s the fat which gives the sausages the flavour, texture and moisture they need to be delicious. In fact we were told with pride that Mr Beak’s does not make lean sausages because the fat is a necessary component of a good sausage. We were left reeling at the discovery that the only naughty thing in these sausages was simple fat, our oldest friend. No creepy animal meats, no fillers or binders, nothing artificial, just nature’s flavoursome fat. So here’s the honest to God truth about sausages (if you buy a high quality brand like this one), they aren’t the world’s healthiest foods and they never will be because of their fat content. However if it’s the other ingredients in sausages which put you off (like it is for me), then in this case there’s really nothing to be frightened of. So if you were thinking about avoiding this stellar Aussie tradition at your Australia Day BBQ, you can now indulge, safe in the knowledge that all you’re eating is meat and spices. Make sure when you’re buying your sausages that you look carefully at the ingredients. You no longer have to accept the horrible additives as a necessary evil, aim higher and buy a sausage like Mr Beaks.

Lastly, we decided to check out the sausage making process, to make sure we had covered all bases. Mr Beak’s sausages are made here in Sydney so we snuck a peak at the factory. We discovered that a surprising amount of work and effort goes into those under-appreciated sausage sangas we inhale on 26th January.

Washing our boots and hands at the Mr Beaks sausage factory
Following strict hygiene procedures

Donning earplugs, hairnets, jumpers, lab coats and gumboots and passing through extensive health and safety checks, we finally managed to gain admission to the place where dreams (aka assorted meat products) are made. Stepping into the freezing cold factory, we strained to hear our guide’s explanation through our mandatory earplugs, while noting the pleasing lack of any gross raw meat smell. Actually, the factory smelt kind of good, like herbs and spices. We were shown the massive one tonne metal containers of meat cuts which are poured into a grinding machine which turns the meat into mince. The signature herbs and spices are then mixed in to create a batch of sausage meat ready to go. This squishy mixture is then smushed into the master sausage making machine which pipes the meat through a spout. This machine is operated by an incredibly speedy technician who is responsible for pulling the long intestinal cases over the spout until it is filled with sausage meat and then quickly replacing it with a new one. Out of the machine, pop the newly born sausages of the day, which then zoom onto a conveyor belt and are sorted into their containers by the unbelievably speedy employees. The packages are then sealed, labelled and boxed, ready to be sent to Woolworths and other supermarkets. Quality control seemed to be the catchphrase of the factory, with extensive checks consistently being carried out on the products.

The sausage production line at Mr Beaks
Behind the scenes on the sausage production line

So our foray into the factory had once and for all debunked some of the myths we had heard about the sausage. We were sincerely impressed with this Aussie sausage company and the sincere effort it has made to create high quality sausages. In our travels we did however discover that all sausages are not created equal, and many do contain a fair few nasties. Investing in a quality sausage this Australia Day will ensure that in true Australian style, you will have absolutely no worries while indulging in Australia’s favourite tradition. Now, I don’t know about you but the word ‘quality’ immediately translates to ‘expensive’ in my head. So again, we asked the awkward questions and found out how much they cost. We were fairly impressed by the price of these artisan sausages, at $6.99 for a pack of six; they’re just over a dollar per sausage.

After all this sausage talk it would be cruel and unusual torture not to eat some of the bloody things. So we dug into an amazing lunch spread, comfortable in the knowledge that we knew exactly what we were eating.

The recipes for these two delectable dishes are available on the Mr Beak’s website, if you want to recreate our sausage experience at home (the links are below):

Mr Beaks Original Hotdog with Buttermilk Coleslaw and Chipotle Mayo
Mr Beaks Original Hotdog with Buttermilk Coleslaw and Chipotle Mayo

Mr Beak’s Spicy Salsa Sausage Salad
Mr Beak’s Spicy Salsa Sausage Salad

Win one of 3 Mr Beak’s Sausages prize packs

Australia Day BBQ giveaway

Thanks to Mr Beak’s, in celebration of Australia Day, we also have 3 prize packs to giveaway!

The prizes

1st prize pack (RRP $100) – pictured above

  • Mr Beaks sausages – Original
  • Mr Beaks sausages – Smoky Chorizo
  • Mr Beaks burgers – Classic
  • Wiltshire tools and BBQ accessories that include:
    • Medium BBQ Roasting trays
    • BBQ basket
    • Cook set: includes Bar-B tongs & mate
    • Cleaning scrapper
    • BBQ egg rings
    • 2 x BBQ wipes
    • Chilli infused skewers
    • Rosemary infused skewers
    • Thai basil infused skewers
    • Garlic infused skewers

Two runner-up prize packs (RRP $50 each)

  • Mr Beaks sausages – Original
  • Mr Beaks sausages – Smoky Chorizo
  • Mr Beaks burgers – Classic
  • Wiltshire tools and BBQ accessories that include:
    • Cook ‘N’ Clean set: includes Bar-B mate & brush
    • 2 x BBQ wipes
    • Chilli infused skewers
    • Rosemary infused skewers
    • Thai basil infused skewers
    • Garlic infused skewers
How to enter

Here’s how you enter the competition. You will receive either one entry or five entries per task you complete, depending on the task. So if you tweet about the giveaway, you’ll get five entries. If you also answer the competition question, you’ll get a total of ten entries, etc. The more times you enter, the bigger your chance is at winning!

Three lucky winners will be drawn at random; the first winner will win the major prize pack worth $100 and the two following winners will each win one of the runner-up prize packs, valued at $50 each!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition Terms and Conditions

  • This giveaway is open to Australian residents only
  • You must use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter the giveaway
  • To complete each task, you must first click on the +1 or +5 button. Follow the instructions for that task, then to record the entry, remember to hit the green Enter button on the bottom right! You must do this, otherwise your task won’t register as a competition entry.
  • Three lucky readers will be chosen at random; the first winner will win the major prize pack valued at $100 and the two winners thereafter will each win a runner-up prize pack valued at $50

Mr Beak’s Sausages
mrbeaks.com.au
Mr Beak’s is available at Woolworths (national), Metcash (NSW, VIC), Harris Farm (NSW), IGA (select) and Supabarn (NSW). RRP $6.99


Grace Smith

 
Grace is a contributing writer at I Ate My Way Through. A girl who plans her life around meal times, Grace dedicates her time to the pursuit of delicious food. Being the daughter of a Naturopath means she grew up with healthy eating in the forefront of her mind. Admittedly sacrificing flavour for health at times of weakness, she adores finding a new sugar-free dessert or gluten-free meal. When night time comes, she loves to explore Sydney’s vibrant bar scene, searching for secret nooks and crannies around the city. In her free time, you’ll always find Grace curled up with a good book, a cup of tea and her puppy Scrumpy.