Surveyor of fine meats

Surveyor of fine meats

Local lad Austen ‘Dogga’ Perry has recently completed Certificate III in Retail Butchery as he looks to further his career in the blossoming meat industry. Perry is the son of local business owners, Jen and Josh Perry and plies his trade at the family operated butcher shop, Perry’s Quality Meats. I was recently given a small glimpse of what it’s like to work in the less than flattering industry, and was presented with a family friendly, inclusive environment ran by passionate Circular Head locals who pride themselves on giving opportunities to young, local people who are driven by a strong work ethic and a willingness to challenge themselves to become better people. Perry’s apprenticeship was based over a four year period but the determined young man was able to complete it in three years and five months. Chipping away at the theory side of things, Perry was required to travel to Hobart for two, three week blocks over the course of his apprenticeship. The theory requires him to navigate a wide range of industry principles including the maintaining of equipment, breaking down different species of animal and hazard analysis which gives insight to the complete overview of the meat industry. Standards are set by organisations such as the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC), Australian Meat Industry Superannuation Trust (AMIST) and the ROYAL Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Perry’s transition into butchery seems natural and the young local has taken it in his stride.

“Its a pretty cruisy job. You’ve got to get stuff done but other times you might be trying a new recipe so you just tinker away,” Perry said.

“Generally our first job of the day is to fill the display cabinet, so we slice everything nice and fresh. 

“On Mondays we might break down beef to refill the chiller. We get two fore quarters and two hine quarters, bone it out and trim and cut it to spec (different cuts) which gives porterhouse, eye fillet or t-bone etc.” 

Whilst Perry’s dad Josh keeps his cards fairly close to his chest, he shared some thoughts on his youngest son’s progression in the butchery game.

“Austen’s got a bit more love for the cooking side of it,” Perry Senior said. 

“When I purchased the business, the previous owners told me that the core of the business is small goods. That’s the off cuts and little bits and pieces that don’t go out as premium. Things like edges off porterhouse for example, we put them into sausages and things like that and Austen really enjoys that aspect.”

As the conversation began to revolve around small goods, debate is fierce surrounding who produces better quality. There was however bipartisanship when it came down to who churns out better twiggy sticks versus who produces better saveloys.

“Dog makes good savs, I’ll give him that,” conceded Perry Senior.

Perry’s Quality Meats is true to its word when supplying to their customers.

“Customers that come in here want things like cape grim beef and good steak and are obviously willing to pay that little bit extra but they know they’re going to get quality produce,” Perry said.

The Perry’s employ another apprentice, Elian Nicholls, and a school based apprentice, Kye Febey, who will be looking to start full time in January.

With a passion for local produce, the Perry’s have began breeding livestock out on their family farm.

“Dads now breeding his own Red Angus cattle and he’s breeding his own calves that we’re going put in the shop. We’re waiting for them to  to be a certain weight, between 400-480kg.”

Sticking to that paddock to plate theme, lambs are sourced from Black River, pigs from Scottsdale and chicken provided by Nicholls Chicken.

The next exciting step for Perry is competing in the WorldSkills Australia event to be held in Launceston on August 24. It is Australia’s biggest vocational education and excellence competition which sees vocationally-trained participants competing against industry peers in practical skills challenges with the chance of making the Tasmanian team, which will then  compete at the national championships.