Meating demand

Te Awamutu’s award-winning butchery Magills has more than trebled its capacity while providing the meat in some of the country’s best known brands.

The butchery recently opened a new $2 million plus facility, which neighbours its retail store and was designed for one purpose – to produce award-winning pulled meat.

From left, Magills owner Mike Van Der Hoeven with sons, Edward and John.

Magills won at the New Zealand Food Awards for their pulled beef in 2015 and owner Mike Van Der Hoeven says “that is kind of where it all started”.

The new facility was approved by the Ministry of Primary Industries last month. And with it, Magills can produce up to two tonnes of pulled meat a day – four if staff took on nightshifts. Previously, they were only able to produce 600kg a day.

“It is getting well used,” said Mike.

They pull lamb, pork, and beef. The meat gets portioned and vacuumed packed before sous vide (slow cooked) for up to 12 hours. It then gets pulled in its packaging – using a patented meat pulling machine – before it is cooled in a water bath, labelled, and shipped.

Magills award winning pulled beef.

And it’s done with what Mike says is “stuff that people don’t know how to cook anymore”.

“We use the old meats that only your grandmother knew how to cook, your bolar, your topsides, and chucks.

“It is God’s goodness cooked into a packet and it can be reheated in a couple of minutes.”

The business is family owned and operated, Mike’s sons Edward and John both work in the butchery, marketing administrator Taria Given, who is Edward’s fiancé, is a member of the team too.

Mike said that because the meat goes from raw, to packed and cooked in the one building, the butchery meets certain cross contamination requirements, and that is attractive to corporate buyers.

Staff Katrina Derbyshire and Julie Vandesteeg portion pulled meat.

Their pulled meat buyers include My Food Bag, Hell’s Pizza, Eat My Lunch, and as of this week, Oxford Pies.

They also supply schools and restaurants and are looking to sell to hospitals.

Because of the way their pulled meat is cooked, nothing nutritional is removed in the cooking process, and because it is soft, it is easy for the body to digest, Mike said.

Even though most of their business comes from wholesale buyers, Taria said the retail store is valuable to them, because it allows the butchers to trial different flavours and products

With the new facility, they have the potential of exporting their products, but as Mike said, “there are enough people to feed in New Zealand first”.

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