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Revamp USDA Beef Grading Standards

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Mike

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How many on here would support the proposed USDA grading systems to include "Tenderness" in the grades? It has been proven with taste tests time after time that the consumer will pay more for "Guaranteed Tender" beef. Because of logistics dry aging the necessary period of time is not really an option and wet aging doesn't work as well.
It seems to me the best option for gaining value as the tenderness tests are relatively free of costs.
 
A

Anonymous

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I would certainly support RESEARCHING THE CONCEPT.

I think this whole marbling OVERemphasis is a farse and a dis service to the industry when there is only a 10% direct correlation between marbling and tenderness and select levels of marbling are adequate for flavor.

The marbling emphasis is being pushed by the angus breeders and has created a consumer "PERCEPTION" that choice is always better than select when it's not. Marbling was always an insurance policy for overcooking but Cryovac aging has changed that game.

The CSU taste test between CAB and CHB proved that choice isn't always better than select. CHB kicked CAB's butt in all categories and CHB allows select in the mix.


~SH~
 

Jason

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I support the concept as well, but we all know final preparation of beef will affect the eating enjoyment more than anything else. You can ruin a good tenderloin if you cook it too much.

I am not 100% convinced that a sheer force test really measures tenderness. Let me explain.

I took a beef in a while back that my butcher called me and said we have a problem. I said what? It is the same genetics feed and age as the last ones I brought in(virgin bulls). He was worried because he couldn't poke his finger through the meat (his sheer force test). The beef was lean outside. He complained about it everytime I brought one in. They are harder to cut up, as there is no heavy layer of fat to set up hard. Anyway the beef was fine. I tried it and it was more tender than the previous one I had taken in. Sold portions of the carcass and no complaints.

Early this month I took in a steer that was finished to industry standards I would say, 1500 pounds live and had a 1/4-1/2 inch fat cover. My butcher said it was fatty in places. In case you didn't guess he is very fussy. Bottom line the beef is easier to cook with the extra fat as a margin for over cooking.

Bottom line, people that proclaim leaner animals at slaughter are harder doing as mature animals and those that say continental influence are needed to lean up the Angus are both wrong. Proper selection for frame size and proper feeding for breed and frame as well as proper handling techniques and cooking methods are all involved in a good eating experience.
 

Mike

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Jason:"Proper selection for frame size and proper feeding for breed and frame as well as proper handling techniques and cooking methods are all involved in a good eating experience."

I'll take your bait:
1-What does frame size have to do with a good eating experience?
2-Are we to feed each breed differently?

Jason:
"those that say continental influence are needed to lean up the Angus are both wrong."

The angus seedstock breeders surely haven't proved you right. They have gained in fat and lost in muscle. Going backwards I would say.
 
A

Anonymous

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If you want to take the quess work out of a quality eating experience, you age the beef (choice or select) in cryovac for 21 days.

You take a select CHB and a choice CAB and age them in cryovac and I can assure you that most consumers could not tell the difference and they would also say these steaks were both excellent.

So why have that expensive seam fat that accompanies that unnecessary extra marbling with most purebred angus genetics? Makes no sense.

Yes Jason, there is certain angus genetics that can reduce seam fat but at what cost to fertility and longevity in the cows just to stay purebred?

It's a lot easier to crossbreed and have calves that weigh more, cows that last longer, and cows that rebreed without the excessive seam fat on the carcasses.

There is a good reason why more purebred breeders are offering composite bulls. Clay Center has already done the research. There is few angus bulls that consistantly produce Y2s and still have the cows from those bulls consistantly rebreed.

From the standpoints of weaning weights, feedlot performance, carcass quality, cow longevity, and cow fertility, you couldn't give me a purebred angus bull for mature cows again. I'll use them on heifers but not on my cow herd and certainly not for replacement heifers.

Another thing, if you don't assist A FEW calves at birth, you are sacrificing too much performance in your calves.

Performance on the cow and performance in the feedlot starts at conception!



~SH~
 

sw

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Back to the original question, yes marbling is way overestimated in the "Quality eating experience". And yes final preparation is the key, right after aging. We spent four years using Pieds as the terminal cross. Huge mistake. They perform terribly in the feedlot for one thing. For the main reason, most housewives would buy the meat once and never again. The meat will rarely go choice, it is very lean. Therefore, you have to cook it like venison, hot and fast or it will dry out and be tough, the ordinary person would not know this and over cook the meat every time. You also have to let it rest quite a while after cooking, if you cut into it very soon all of the juice is on the plate and not in the meat. We could get by with the meat, we knew from experience, but some of the people that bought that meat were not satisfied.
About the cross breeding, we processed 96 steers 2 weeks ago, they are AN x GV. They were 61% choice, 1 YG 4, weighed 1326, but they yielded 66.5%. That (on a 1326 lb steer) is 3.5 to 4% higher than average, that is 46 lbs more meat per carcass. Last week we had another 80 done, 65% choice, no YG 4s, 1296 weight, 65.4% yield. You can't get me to go to straight bred anything now. Anybody want bulls that are mates to those steers? I have a few.
 

Sandhusker

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Hat said:
~SH~ said:
Another thing, if you don't assist A FEW calves at birth, you are sacrificing too much performance in your calves.

Performance on the cow and performance in the feedlot starts at conception!



~SH~

I've never heard this quote before but I agree with you 100%.

Dang it, I agree with him too. :) Man, I hate that! :mad:
 

Jason

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Mike said:
I'll take your bait:
1-What does frame size have to do with a good eating experience?
2-Are we to feed each breed differently?


The angus seedstock breeders surely haven't proved you right. They have gained in fat and lost in muscle. Going backwards I would say.

1- Frame size determines the weight a steer grades choice at. Getting smaller and smaller framed cattle in the hopes of making cows more efficient is resulting in the excess fat we are seeing in the US now. So directly it has little to do with a good eating experience, but rather affects other things that do have a direct bearing on it.

2- We already do feed different breeds differently. Many British breeds are grassed as yearlings where continental influenced calves are better suited to going to feed directly at weaning.

I tend to agree the Angus seedstock breeders in the States have lost their minds chasing the marbling. Angus cattle marble, concentrating on our strength is counter productive.

I look for sires with above average ribeye as this has been a weakness in the breed. However at the same time I try to keep marbling at the average for the breed, or increase it if fat thickness at 1 year isn't too high.

Same goes for birth weights. Too many forget Angus are known for easy calving as a rule, working so hard to reduce the birth weight is again counter productive.

I pull about 3 calves a year, and try to not have any more than that. I also have customers weaning at well over 600 pounds with no pulls. All my pulls have been heifers or old cows over 13 years of age. If you pull any calves from cows you have done something wrong.
 
A

Anonymous

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Jason,

As far as angus breeders go, I think you are on the right track. I would assume your frame scores are between 5.5 and 6.5 correct? That's where I want to be.


sw: "For the main reason, most housewives would buy the meat once and never again. The meat will rarely go choice, it is very lean. Therefore, you have to cook it like venison, hot and fast or it will dry out and be tough, the ordinary person would not know this and over cook the meat every time. You also have to let it rest quite a while after cooking, if you cut into it very soon all of the juice is on the plate and not in the meat. We could get by with the meat, we knew from experience, but some of the people that bought that meat were not satisfied."

If you were able to provide concise cooking instructions and age the beef in cryovac, that consumer picture would change as well.


~SH~
 

Jason

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~SH~ said:
Jason,

As far as angus breeders go, I think you are on the right track. I would assume your frame scores are between 5.5 and 6.5 correct? That's where I want to be.


If you were able to provide concise cooking instructions and age the beef in cryovac, that consumer picture would change as well.


~SH~

Scott, I really hate frame scores... let's just say I have cows that survive well anywhere. My calves will finish (fat cover of .25 to .4) around 1250 pounds if they get jammed right off the cow. If they are backgrounded a bit they will go to that 14-1500 pound range. High percentage choice (90+).

Some consumers don't like to be told how to cook a steak. I had one guy complain my beef was tough he cooked it on a Bar B Q highest heat 12 minutes. His way was the only way, I have found lowest heat for 15 minutes per side much better. That and thaw the steak and place in a zip lock bag with 1 tbs of olive oil for 24 to 48 hours and leave it in the fridge. Just watch the open flame on the olive oil for the first few seconds.
 

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