This weekend I did something that was frightening, exciting and confusing all in one. It would have absolutely freaked me out 12 months ago, let alone seemed a possible reality. As some of my regular followers may now be aware I was interviewed on live TV about my 52 Meats 52 Weeks challenge idea that started only just over 6 months ago.
Along with being interviewed I was also cooking some of this week’s meat. I managed to get across the message I live and spread and according to common feedback- looked pretty damn natural doing it. So this means I also managed well to hide the total mixed bag of nerves, dread, excitement and pride (etc…) I was experiencing. I’ll take that as a win…
I have to say this has to be a fantastic example of a simple man multi-tasking quite well… Don’t you agree ladies?? I digress…
The show was a massive thrill and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to spread my story and message of health and wellness. I have a real passion and this comes from my life experience thus far and a genuine desire to help others live a healthier and happier life.
Aside from sharing my health and wellness message, I was focused on cooking the Thar meat that I had very gladly sourced from Mark at the Twizel branch of the New Zealand Department of Conservation. After all, that’s one of the main reasons this blog formed right- a new meat every week!
What’s the story with the Thar?
Thar is a wild Himalayan Mountain Goat that was introduced into New Zealand as game in the early 20th century. The team at DOC control numbers with occasional culling and Mark had this meat in the freezer, so he happily sent it up to Auckland for me. That is classic Kiwi hospitality and help!
I arrived into Auckland on Friday night and was presented with a large amount of semi frozen Thar meat. One entire back strap (think whole eye fillet of beef or lamb back strap- the most tender part of the animal) and one leg roast. The back strap still had quite a bit of skin, sinew and hair on it, so I got working on making it TV ready. I put my best and limited butchering skills to the test.
In the end I decided to cut most of it into small medallions so it could cook quickly on air. However, I did keep two larger pieces for a more relaxed and less pressured cooking environment after the show. I consider myself to be not my father’s son when it comes to being a handyman/jack of all trades- he can do anything, me not so handy… but I think I did him proud with this butchering.
I also cooked up two small pieces then for a sneaky taste test. Imagine a kid at Xmas with their new toy in hand and mum and dad out of the house… I had to try it out!
How did the taste test go?
It was an exciting look into the future. A couple of small mouthfuls shared with NN and we were instantly hooked and in need of restraint. That taste was something else. I couldn’t wait to have more! The food geek was alive and salivating…
How was the show?
If you haven’t seen my live interview yet, watch it here.
The show was a bit of a surreal experience, being in the studio while they covered other stories, the news and rushed around trying to get me appropriate cooking equipment as well as much needed salt and pepper. I certainly knew I was going to appear shortly, but the specific details were harder to pin down.
Exactly when was I going to cook the meat and of course- eat it? The interviewer Toni was lovely and made me feel very relaxed, but I still wanted to ensure this meat ended up worthy of my top ten list, let alone live TV!
I got the pan hot and ended up essentially stir frying the meat with my rudimentary pink rubber utensil. I must say the camera man did make it look divine. The unfortunate part of this story is, however, after my interview there was no real time for hanging out with the hosts (Toni and Rawdon) and enjoying the Thar.
Did we eat any?
As I was whisked off set I swiped a small piece on the premise of playing guinea pig for the hosts and can gladly say my on air interview cooking worked out well- this quickly fried Thar back strap was simply out of this world! Toni and Rawdon later assured me via twitter that they tasted, devoured and LOVED IT. I’ll take their trusted word on that and add two more happy participants to the ‘Meat Mike Campbell 52 meats in 52 weeks challenge’!
What did I do with the rest?
Once my amazing support crew-the one woman preparation and support machine NN- and myself had enjoyed some post TV relaxation and my nerves chilled out somewhat, we later fried the butterflied back strap pieces for lunch with a simple salad. A hot pan, some seasoning, quick frying, time to rest, some more seasoning and this is some of THE TASTIEST MEAT I HAVE EVER HAD. No exaggeration, no lie- if you ever have the chance to eat this cut of Thar- do so without any hesitation! Sell your first born if need be…
What was it like?
Besides being ridiculously flavoursome and so packed full of nutrients that my internal nutrition geek meter was close to combustion, I could compare this flavour to something of a combination of venison and beef. One very important consideration here is the cut- back strap. Therefore this must be compared to the best cut from healthy grassfed beef and healthy grassfed or wild venison. This was, at the very least, well and truly on par with the best grassfed beef eye fillet I’ve had.
I would eat this at some stage every day if possible!
What about the roast?
This was to become a true (brace yourself) SaTharday, with a small nibble on breakfast TV, an amazing piece of Thar steak for lunch and a whopping great Thar leg roast for dinner.
After a day of communicating with friends and family and managing the adrenalin rush and crash I got the ginormous hind leg roast in the oven for the few people in attendance. I added some salt, pepper, white wine and stock to flavour and keep moist, covered and into the oven to cook slowly.
My desired cooking time of 3 hours was cut to 2 in order for us to eat before 9pm.
I was very mindful of NN’s step father whose guest I was, who will only really eat very well done meat- I figured he could have the outer parts. However, in a haste to ensure everything was done I ended up finishing off the meat pretty close to well done. Damn… I mean, perfect- one happy host. No bother, with some of the jus from the roasting tray, this meat was still super tasty and a great meal was enjoyed. It had a different flavour to the back strap, and was clearly not as tender. The overriding flavour was one of rich wild game. It was good enough for me to enjoy for breakfast again the next day!
What are the benefits of meat like this?
Apart from potentially making you happy on the inside, if you’re meat and food inclined as I am, this wild meat is packed full of nutrients that your body can actually use and make the most of. Consider yourself to be getting a premium source of protein, iron, phosphorus, potassium, B vitamins. As well as some of the best saturated fat around- that of a blissful wild animal- this stuff is 100% super food!
And that’s week 28– an absolutely monumental week in the world of Meat Mike Campbell, the 52 meats in 52 weeks challenge and blog, and personally in the world of me- Mike Campbell.
As I sit on the plane on my return flight to Sydney writing this, I can’t help think back to a very similar occasion- returning to Sydney from NZ in the first week of January this year after Xmas. On that flight I essentially wrote the first post for this blog, the introduction to my meaty challenge. I can assure you that whilst writing that I had no idea where this would lead. I had no idea I would be appearing (starring– let’s face it…) on live TV and so many people not only loving my weekly stories about different and random meats, but jumping on board with my message, story and philosophy.
The story I explained on the show- about my amazing mum, her constant inspiration, my drive to spread a message for health, wellness and a fun balanced life, is me. This is what I live and breathe. That fateful conversation at the butcher last year, the consequent suggestion from NN, my pondering over Xmas and then the flight in January when I first put thumb to iPhone has grown, is growing and will continue to grow, on that I am determined and focused. Your following, support and feedback make this all the better, please keep it coming!
That concludes another, very different, week for Meat Mike Campbell. Please get in touch with me if you want to know more about my ‘Intelligent Body and Health Solutions Made Simple’. If you’ve tried before and failed or never started due to the overwhelming nutritional information, exercise ideas and products then contact me.
A simple solution is just around the corner.
Best wishes to everyone taking on the challenge of improving their health and body this week.
You’re not alone and you’re also in control of where it takes you. Want abs/’guns’/a firm butt/better quality sleep/more energy/less visits to the doctor/vitality? Then go do it!! Let my story guide you- I had no idea about TV, writing and social media, but I’ve read, asked questions and persevered and I’m slowly getting my head around it. To some extent…!
To succeed first you must try.
Special thanks again this week to:
The team at TVNZ Breakfast especially Toni Street (and her husband Matt France for making this connection to begin with, chur bro!)
Mark Beardsley and Herb Christophers from the Department of Conservation in NZ
NN- without you none of this would happen, xx