Jess Pryles

The Slaughterhouse Tour

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Eating meat is one thing, understanding where it comes from and how it is processed is an important part of being a self-proclaimed Hardcore Carnivore.

It’s one thing to be a meat lover, it’s another to step up to the plate and see exactly how most of the meat we eat is processed. Actually watching an animal being slaughtered is by no means a pleasant thing, but as a self-titled Hardcore Carnivore I felt I had a responsibility to at least be able to witness the process.

When Bindaree beef offered me the opportunity to speak at their Producers Day and tour their plant in Inverell, NSW, I was nervously excited to take them up on the offer. Bindaree are one of the largest family owned abattoirs in Australia, processing around 1200 head of cattle a day.

I thoroughly enjoyed the personalised tour I received, and also appreciated how open and transparent management were, allowing me to view and take a camera though the whole plant, from the knock box (the area cattle are dispatched via bolt) all the way to the freezers stocked with ready to ship meat. Though I was understandably anxious about seeing the actual slaughter for the first time, it was a very calm and humane process.

I spent about an hour taking the tour, from the stockyards, to the kill floor,  processing area (I’ve spared you more graphic detail here!), offal room, boning room, and packing room. I got to see first hand that the trim which becomes burger mince is actually just trimmed parts of muscle, and not full of weird, unpleasant body parts. And I watched them prod the giant trim containers with these huge syringe like device that determines the fat ratio (this is how you end up knowing you’re using 80/20 for that perfect burger blend).

Overall, I found the whole processing system completely fascinating and enlightening, and was pleased to discover that not a single part of the animal is wasted. If anything it’s made me want to pursue the next level which is to hunt for some of my own food. I hope to be able to participate in some deer hunts soon and assume both a greater responsibility towards being a meat eater and an understanding of how to break down the carcass (and ultimately a better knowledge of what I’m consuming).

And yeah, I ate steak for lunch about an hour after we finished the tour.

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By Jess Pryles

Jess Pryles is a full fledged Hardcore Carnivore. She’s a cook, writer, and TV personality specializing in red meat, with penchant for grilling and bourbon. She's also a respected authority on Texas & competition style barbecue. Born in Australia, she now resides in Austin, Texas.

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