Which is sure as heck a heap better then a spoilt meat tray… words of wisdom.

What to do with all the random meat in the big assed meat tray you won at the pub on Friday night.

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but every bowls club, RSL and pub in the vicinity of the area I live in has a meat raffle. You could literally feed yourself, your friends and your griffin every night of the week just from winning meat trays… if you were really good at winning meat trays or knew how to perform the Jedi mind trick.

I unfortunately am not, and do not.

I have given up on meat trays, just like the lioness gives up on her lame cub. The only difference being she got to eat her cub, I got to eat nothing.

Jenny is still keen though. She still has the lingering taste of the last meat raffle she won (and you could be excused for thinking that was when she married me), which was a frozen chook (looked more like a bush turkey though) at the Mullumbimby Bowls Club five years ago. And I’m pretty sure it only cost us about 18 bucks in tickets to finally win that aforementioned bird.

And FYI this story is not leading to a part where I tell you about the $1 ticket I bought and won the Taj Mahal of meat trays. It was half a fucking t-rex. As big as a really, really big thing… Alas, no.

I just had the good fortune of having someone stay with us at the hotel, win a meat tray and not be able to take it with him when he left, thus donating said meat tray to me. I didn’t even have to buy a ticket. Eff you meat tray gods. EFF YOU!

There is one main point (followed by another lesser point) to consuming a meat tray while observing correct etiquette.

1. You must consume the bbq-able meats with as many or as few of your friends as you feel appropriate. It is also appropriate the any guests will bring with them beer and wine, as a mark of respect for the hundreds of dollars you have spent on tickets to finally return home victorious. When you win a meat tray it is not compulsory to make salads or arrange a fancy spread, as more often than not you will take a bunch of drunken hoons home with you from the pub for a late night bbq. Meat, onions, sauce and possibly bread. No dramas.

2. The rest of the meat can all be placed in the category of braising or roasting. Cook the braising beef, beef roast or leg of lamb for your family. Cook it long and slow (as it is still winter), and make something your granny would be proud of (no, not a doily). A stew or ragout. A curry. A good old-fashioned roast. You choose. Actually, choose a couple of options and have a bit of a play with it. Try something new. Combine it with the I’ve-never-used-this-before-and-actually-have-absolutely-no-idea-what-it-is ingredient that you got from the shops this week

Aside from all the other slow cooked meat recipes we have offered you so far, here is what I did with the #2 (which to me is actually number 1) meat from the meat tray.

Bread is advisable and we had roast pumpkin too.

Braised lamb with rosemary and garlic

This is not rocket science. This is not even me tweaking or re-inventing a recipe. There is absolutely no thought at all put into this recipe by me. And what a lazy fuck, you may think to yourself. Well this is a tried and tested formula that every not-so-dull chef out there will know works like a charm. Milpoix, braising meat, booze (some for the pot too), tomatoes and herbs and/or garlic. A nice holiday in the gentle heat of your oven. Yeah, braised things actually call the time they spend in the oven a holiday. They love it. You also have the option to spend an extra $1.29 and get a tin of lentils or cannellini beans in there, but that’s down to the individual party goer.

Slow beef and vegetable stew, buttered cous-cous and frekah

Once again this is not rocket science. Rocket science involves a whole heap of mathematical equations, a white board (or blackboard if you’re a crazy old eccentric type scientist), a lab coat, weird hair, glasses and so-smart-they-may-actually-be-crazy brains.

This one had a 1kg-ish whole piece of beef blade, 1 kg chopped tomatoes, sliced onions, sweet potato, zucchini, carrot, mushrooms, a cob of sweet corn, a couple of cinnamon sticks, pepper, 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce and 1-2 tablespoons of light soy to season.

• It all went into a pot and simmered until cooked, and the meat can be pushed apart with your finger
• Pull the meat (hehe) out and turn the stew up a bit to bubble away like a cauldron and thicken up a bit. Imagine you are a witch and try to cast a spell on anyone in your vicinity. Ignore them when they stare at you like you’re a strange-o
• While the stew is reducing shred the meat with two forks
• Have your cous-cous and frekah cooked by now, or just cook one if two is too many, and combine them so they are one entity
• Serve with shredded meat and veg, and yoghurt, chilli jam, herbs, whatever