Introducing Chris Badenoch, the man who served up a roasted pig’s head on prime-time TV, making his debut as a serious advocate and leader in the nose-to-tail movement in Australia.
Not only is Chris passionate about paying full respect to the entire beast, he also actively chooses to source beasts from ethical and sustainably raised producers such as Jonai Farms, Warialda Belted Galloways, Cape Grim Beef, and Milking Yard Farm Chicken.
Having had the opportunity to review his book, The Entire Beast and also interview him, we are convinced that Chris Badenoch is a true Beast Master!
Q. What is your culinary inspiration?
A. Everything really. What’s good, what’s local, what’s seasonal, what’s readily available, what cooking methods are available to me, what I’ve eaten recently, what I’ve watched or read recently, memories of great dishes I’ve eaten in the past, some random conversation I’ve had with a friend – inspiration can come from anything.
Q. Can you share your earliest vivid recollection of eating offal?
A. Lambs’ kidneys were my first offal experience, but it wasn’t an ‘offal’ one (sorry, just keeping the puns going). My mum used to make steak and kidney pies and I used to only want to eat the kidneys, and not the steak. I would bargain with my siblings to try and swap their kidneys for my steak – funnily enough it almost always worked. She used to make kidneys on toast for breakfast as well, which I adored. Lambs’ kidneys are still my favourite.
Q. What is the appeal of utilising “odd bits” in your kitchen?
A. It’s not so much using ‘odd bits’ as using everything, but it just so happens that most of the odd bits are the tastiest bits. As much as I would like to say that I am 100% driven by respect for animals and the environment, it’s mainly taste, which luckily marries up with my other philosophies as well.
Q. What is the most unusual animal part you have used?
A. Probably mountain oysters (aka testicles). In their raw form there’s no mistaking what they are, which is a slight struggle to get past, but once cooked they’re like the tastiest sausage you’ve ever eaten. They have a fabulously intense flavour and the texture of a good boudin blanc.
Q. As Beast Master, you have kindly shared the recipes for three of your favourite offal dishes. What was your inspiration for these?
A. Pressed Tongue Salad. The nice thing about the tongue is that it’s muscle, not organ meat, so it isn’t texturally challenging for most people. Plus, tongue is probably one of the tastiest parts of any animal (I love cows’, pigs’, lambs’, ducks’…) with an intensely meaty flavour. Also this dish in particular gives me an excuse to use my vintage tongue press.
Trotters Stuffed with Black Pudding. This is a really traditional, and quite elegant, preparation for a cut of meat that is often not so refined. It uses a bit of fiddly technique with the deboning, but the result is well worth it. Black pudding is a real treat as well, and it’s nice to combine two ‘odd’ bits of pork in one dish.
Braised Pressed Trotters. The inspiration for this dish came from wanting just a really good bar snack. Trotters, like most extremities, have a very intense flavour so once braised and shredded, you end up with a punchy puck of tender pork meat. Plus, everything is better deep fried right? It really is one of my ultimate dishes to enjoy with a good beer.
Q. For the benefit of anyone who has never eaten tongue OR trotters, how would you describe these odd bits?
A. Delicious! What more can I say?