IT is a new experience in shared eating that the beef industry is hoping will generate new excitement in restaurants across Australia.
Known as the Tomahawk, it is one of the largest rib eye steaks in Australia, weighing from 1.3 to 2.5kg, and takes its name from the 30cm of rib bone that is left on the meat while cooking.
According to Meat and Livestock Australia business development manager Bill Lindsay - who co-hosted 87 of Adelaide's finest chefs and food media at the lunch launch - the steak is designed to be brought to the table, then carved and shared between four to six people.
"We hope that chefs will take it up as a piece of theatre and some fun in their restaurants," Mr Lindsay said.
"Because it is a new concept, consumers should ask their butchers and restaurants to order the special cut. It would make a great conversation piece for a dinner with friends."
Lachlan Bowtell, MLA's marketing manager for trade, said it was a case of tackling the current economic climate head on. "With the Australian food-service sector experiencing a bit of a downturn due to the global economic crisis we are taking the bull by the horns (or the ribs) and adding some excitement to the beef scene.
"We already have a firm commitment from several South Australian outlets looking to menu the item, along with wholesaler support. We are also talking to a number of processors to get the specification in the boning room changed to accommodate the increased bone length, and so far we have received some real encouragement by two processors in particular.
"So in these times of 'a selling down' attitude in food service, we have done the opposite with a novelty steak giving the customer what they want - nutritious, delicious beef coupled with a unique experience."