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Band Saws are not just for butchers – there’s a band saw at Firedoor, the celebrated restaurant in Surry Hills. Owner Lennox Hastie has been awarded 2 Chef’s Hats by Sydney Morning Herald for his outstanding cuisine. Hastie and his team “push the limits of traditional open flame cooking and breathe new life into the meaning of barbecue”. Firedoor is where meats cook over seasoned timber coals at open wood grills.
Hastie believes steak reaches its full potential through the passage of time – at Firedoor beef ages anywhere between 150 – 300 days
Not everyone welcomes crying in their restaurants, but at Firedoor they’re used to it (in a good way). Their signature steak has brought more than a few diners to tears, Massimo Bottura among them. After the Italian chef wept with joy eating his steak, Lennox Hastie smuggled one back to him when he went to Modena to visit.
You might have seen Hastie on Chef’s Table talking about the work he put into developing a program for ageing his meat for unusually long periods of time. Post drought and pandemic he now sources beef across different producers.
“Right now, we’re running 260-day dry-aged and 150-day dry-aged,” Hastie says, “last month we had 300-day aged full-blood wagyu – rich and buttery but with a complex sour cherry and spice flavour that I find more redolent in wine.”
And like wine, enjoy this beef young, Hastie says, though it’s the passage of time that really raises it to full potential. He chooses the rib-sets for ageing, grading them on appearance, taste, touch and smell, picking out well-marbled sets before testing their pH to confirm their suitability for extended ageing.
Hastie dries the sides for two weeks and renders the fat down from the animal. He then paints the sides with that rendered fat to seal any exposed meat. It is this preparation that enables them to age for between 150 and 300 days. This also depends on the animal size and how it ripens.
In service they’re cut to order and grilled over gnarled 80-year-old grape vines. A Spanish Flor de Sal is the only addition to the meat. “The rich flavour and texture is intrinsic to the animal, the ageing process, and grilling over an open wood fire.” Hastie says. “Each aged rib-set has its own unique flavour. Ranging from hazelnuts, toasted popcorn, and aged sherry through to black truffle, foie gras, and parmesan.” The flavour even varies from one end of the steak to the other, much like a cheese. “The flavour is so complex that we serve it unadorned with a fresh salad or charred greens on the side to clean the palate. There are no condiments or sauces.”
A 260 day dry aged Ranger’s Valley Black Market Rib Eye is the steak that brought Massimo Bottura to tears.