Steak of Origin judges follow a recipe to find the most tender and tasty sirloin steak produced in New Zealand.
Steaks are removed from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking, so they can be brought to room temperature before they are seared to medium rare in neutral-flavoured oil without any seasoning.
Beef + Lamb NZ says the judges look for juiciness when they bite into the steak, there should be no overpowering flavour when it is tasted and the smell of the meat should be fresh and mild. The steak should be tender and free of sinew, and the texture of the sirloin - which can be affected by aging - is expected to have some structure and not be too soft.
Beef Breeder of the Decade Chris Biddles, of Te Kopuru, said beef needed some fat or marbling and the animal needed to be on the improve, gaining weight, when slaughtered.
He objected to over-finished beef as it was a pain trimming fat off it.
Mr Biddles said he and his wife Karren preferred beef casseroles to steak. He butchered meat they ate, killing animals between 18-30 months, with heifers slightly more tender than steers.
Alex Macmillan, of Pipiwai, said "a lot of twaddle" was spoken about marbling. The Hinterwalder entry which won him the Steak of Origin supreme title last year had a 0.05 per cent marbling content, a small fraction of the fat in Wagyu steaks he had entered in the past.