Beau Ryan launches the first mushie meat tray at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club in Sydney.

The traditional club meat tray may have met its match in the mushroom, or a combination of both, according to club meat tray produce supplier Anthony Lahood. And with price rises and flexitarian dishes on the rise on club menus, the meat and mushie tray club raffle could also be a new drawcard.

According to research from Australian Mushrooms, 43 per cent of Australians would like to see more variety in their club meat trays and a third want a “flexitarian” option of both meat and mushrooms.

In a request from Australian Mushrooms to develop a “Meat and Mushroom” club raffle tray, the concept was tried out at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL in Sydney’s inner-west with former NRL footballer Beau Ryan as the face of the campaign.

While meat trays have been a constant in clubs for many years Lahood, a former Canterbury Leagues bar manager, came up with the concept to promote mushrooms by using the essential recipe ingredients of beef bourguignon with button mushrooms and a beef mince containing four types of mushrooms, plus beef, Worcestershire sauce and mushroom sausages as a way of introducing the fungus into favour.

The mushie meat trays in production.

With many club menus offering meat alternatives on the menu, a meat and mushroom tray could take off, says Lahood whose company, Lahood & Son, supplies up to 100 NSW clubs with hundreds of meat and veg raffle trays every year. 

“I was approached a little over a month ago because I own a meat company and a produce facility at Flemington market,” says Lahood, who launched the campaign at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club.

After the exposure on breakfast TV and in print media, Lahood says the Sydney club will now monitor the success of the mushie meat tray, to see if it tracks well with patrons.

“Will they be a winner? Let the clubbies decide!” says Lahood. “But it has opened the door to many other things for clubs to do with raffles.

“Coming into winter we are now looking at soup vegetables and lamb shanks, or chicken dinners, marinating whole birds with an array of roasting vegetables, for example.”

Rather than sticking to the old foam tray and wrapping in plastic, presentation is also key for Lahood with beef and mushroom stir fry coming pre-sliced and field mushrooms cut into “steaks”. 

“This winter will be very exciting for club raffles,” Lahood says.

Beau Ryan with one of the winners of Mushie Meat Tray.

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