For the past few years, anyone with even a passing interest in meat will have realised it doesn’t feature much in the recipes of fashionable cooks, food bloggers and authors.
Instead, wherever you look you’re more likely to be confronted with spiralised vegetables, avocado and raw vegan brownies.
All of this is just one of the reasons why the Australian-born, Texas-based cook, Jess Pryles, is a welcome breath of fresh air in her industry.
The self-named ‘Professional Hardcore Carnivore’ is on a one-woman mission to put meat back on the menu.
Ms Pryles spoke to FEMAIL about her love of meat, how she learned everything there is to know about it by visiting butchers, abattoirs and farms, and why she eats it in some shape or form every single day.
Australian-born, Texas-based cook, Jess Pryles (pictured), is a cook, author and ‘Professional Hardcore Carnivore’
Ms Pryles (pictured) spoke to FEMAIL about her love of meat, how she learned everything there is to know about it by visiting butchers, slaughterhouses and ranches, and why she eats it in some shape or form every single day
While it’s clear Ms Pryles loves meat now, she said she used to be nervous about it, as she didn’t know the difference between the cuts or necessarily how best to cook it
‘I was too nervous to buy expensive meat in case I messed it up, and I didn’t understand the difference between the cuts,’ Ms Pryles (pictured) explained
While it’s clear these days that Ms Pryles is very much into meat – and specifically red meat – this wasn’t always the case.
Having started out as a cupcake baker in Melbourne, it wasn’t until she visited Texas that she realised how much she loved meat – she just didn’t know much about it:
‘I know what it’s like to be intimidated by cooking meat,’ Ms Pryles told Daily Mail Australia.
‘But my ability to eat it as much as I’d have liked was curtailed by not knowing how to cook it properly.’
She confessed that she used to be ‘one of those people who stood in the meat department at the grocery store overwhelmed by the selection’.
‘I was too nervous to buy expensive meat in case I messed it up, and I didn’t understand the difference between the cuts,’ she added on her website.
So, she decided to completely educated herself in the field of meat – from the cooking methods to the best-tasting cheap cuts, what it’s worth spending money on and what the difference is between grass and grain-fed beef
Nine years later, she is an expert in the field – living in Texas with a book, a range of seasonings and more
These days, Ms Pryles lives in Texas
Rather than simply accepting her lack of knowledge and resigning herself to the ‘occasional steak’ in a restaurant, the talented chef set out to change this.
Nine years later, Ms Pryles has completely educated herself in the field of meat – from the cooking methods to the best-tasting cheap cuts, what it’s worth spending money on and what the difference is between grass and grain-fed beef.
‘I’ve visited ranches, slaughterhouses, butcher shops and gone through the experience of harvesting it myself,’ she explained.
‘I’ve even attended courses at meat science university.’
Then, she took her new skills, decamped to Texas and ‘simply started writing about the food I was enjoying’.
‘I decided I’d rather talk about my own food than other people’s, so I started publishing both recipes and helpful articles about barbecue and meat cookery,’ Ms Pryles said.
60,000 Instagram followers and thousands more fans later, Ms Pryles is a well-regarded expert in the subject.
‘I’m not a trained chef – I think that helps to make my food more approachable,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘If I can do it, certainly any other Aussie girl or gal can too.’
Ms Pryles explained that she is not a trained chef – which is one of the reasons why people might think her food is more approachable
While she is Australian by birth, the cook said her cooking is more inspired by Texan barbecues, and the American low and slow style
The expert’s top tip for your barbecues is that you need to think about temperature – invest in a great thermometer
Ms Pryles admitted that even though her passport is ‘definitely still Australian’, her cooking is more Texan in influence than Antipodean.
‘I’ve developed an affinity for the American and Texan low and slow style of barbecuing,’ she said.
‘There is an amazing wealth of talent in Australia in terms of advanced barbecuing, but it’s still a small community, comparatively.
‘The average Aussie barbecue – firing up the hot plate in the park and scraping off the gunk from previous use to char up some snags – is the part we can do better at.’
So what’s her number one tip?
‘I tell everyone to get a great thermometer, and understand the importance of temperature,’ she said.
She also believes it’s important to understand meat and how it cooks, to trim it, to rest it, to know how to run a wood fire and how to control your manual air intake.
Ms Pryles has countless posts on barbecuing – and how to do it best – on her site.
JESS PRYLES’S COFFEE-RUBBED KANGAROO FILLET
Jess Pryles’s coffee-rubbed kangaroo fillet, pictured
Kangaroo is a game meat notorious for being extremely lean, similar to venison. The searing method in this recipe avoids overcooking, while the coffee is a bold complement to any strong, gamey flavours.
4-5 kangaroo loin fillets
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons ancho chilli powder
2 tablespoons coffee grounds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the coffee rub, place all the rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Spoon the coffee rub over the kangaroo fillets, making sure they are generously coated. Press the rub into the meat.
3. Place a frying pan over a high heat and add the olive oil. Sear the crusted roo fillets for 3-4 minutes on each side, then remove and allow to rest briefly before slicing and serving.
4. It’s important to serve the kangaroo rare, as it is very tough when overcooked. If you do happen to overcook it slightly, make sure to slice it thinly and against the grain.
Extracted from Hardcore Carnivore: Cook Meat Like You Mean It, by Jess Pryles. AUD $39.99. For more information, click here.
Ms Pryles said she eats meat every single day – during the week, she’ll eat lean meats – so that she can eat whatever she wants at the weekend
Luckily for the generation that like their foodies to live and breathe what they preach, Ms Pryles doesn’t shy away from eating meat all the time. In fact, a meat-free Monday often means chicken.
Pictured: Ms Pryles’s new book, Hardcore Carnivore: Cook Meat Like You Mean It
‘I eat meat every day,’ she said.
‘Not to prove a point. It’s just a regular and conscious part of my diet,’ she said.
For five days of the week, Ms Pryles said she will eat ‘lean meats, like venison, chicken breast, bison and lean beef’ and smaller portions.
‘This means that the other two days I can fully indulge with whatever I please,’ she added.
Recipes in her new book include everything, from coffee-rubbed kangaroo fillet to salt-crusted crispy pork belly, steak and egg tacos with homemade hot sauce and chicken fried steak.
Ms Pryles splits her time between judging and competing in competitions, writing books, teaching cooking classes, creating products and more:
‘I’ve just partnered with a firm who are building a dedicated cooking school facility in the Hill Country outside of Austin – so I’ll be offering regular classes there soon,’ she said.
‘Other than that, more travel, more cooking and no doubt more meaty adventures.’