Meat madness

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Published on December 19, 2013

Author: PSU-Beef

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What message is shaping your opinions about beef? by Lynn Bliven

Meat Madness: What Message is Shaping Your Opinions about Beef? Lynn A Bliven Association Team Coordinator Cornell Cooperative Extension Allegany/Cattaraugus County

Where life begins the Cow-Calf Farms • Cows are bred & give birth to a calf every year. • For the first few months of life, calves drink their mother’s milk & graze on pastures. • Calves are weaned at 6-8 months old, weighing 400-500 pounds. Then eat grass & forages. • 1-in-3 female calves are kept on the cow-calf farm as breeding animals (“replacement heifers”).

What is forage?

Stockers & Backgrounders • Stockers and backgrounders graze cattle on many different kinds of pastures all across the United States. These cattle gain weight and, in effect, convert forage and grass into protein.

Types of feeds: • Silage, corn silage: The entire corn plant, chopped and stored “wet”, fermented. Ensiled corn. • Shelled corn: Dry, whole kernel corn. • Cracked corn: Dry, whole kernel corn which is ground into smaller pieces.

Feedlots • Mature calves are moved to feedlots. • Typically spend 4-6 months. • Have constant access to water, room to move around & are free to graze at feed bunks containing a carefully balanced diet. • Veterinarians, nutritionists and cattlemen work together to look after each animal.

Marketplace Confusion Grass-Fed Low Calorie Reduced sodium Fat-Free Organic Sugar-free Natural Local Gluten-free Enriched Whole Grain Low-Fat High Fiber Fortified Added Protein Free Range No GMO Sustainably Raised

All Beef Is… • • • • Grass-fed Natural Nutritious Safe

So what is: Natural? Grass-fed? Organic? Dry-aged? Pasture raised? Free range? Humane? Prime?

What is: Natural? • “minimally processed, no artificial ingredients”. • Commonly used on products raised without antibiotics or hormone implants. So, is feeding expired baked goods “natural”? Potato peels? Citrus rinds?

What is: Certified Naturally Raised? • Cattle can be grain-finished or grass-finished (look at the label for details) • Have never received antibiotics or growth promoting hormones • May be given vitamin & mineral supplements • Must be certified by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service

What is: Grain-finished? • Cattle spend most of their lives grazing on pasture, then spend 4-6 months in a feedlot • Fed scientifically & healthy balanced diet of grains, such as corn, wheat or soybeans • May judiciously be given FDA-approved antibiotics or growth promoting hormones • May be given vitamin and mineral supplements • Have continuous access to clean water & room to grow & roam

What is: Grass-fed? • Varies, implies a grass diet. • Sometimes specified as “ 100%” or “strictly”. Grass (Forage) Fed – Grass and forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The diet shall be derived solely from forage consisting of grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes, Brassica), browse, or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state. Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. Hay, haylage, baleage, silage, crop residue without grain, and other roughage sources may also be included as acceptable feed sources. Routine mineral and vitamin supplementation may also be included in the feeding regimen. Grass (Forage) Fed Marketing Claim Standard (October 16, 2007, Federal Register Notice (72 FR 58631)) PDF So, are steers fed hay inside a barn all winter grass-fed? Does grazing in a field of “young corn” mean grass-fed? Where is this grass fed beef coming from?

What is: Grass-finished? • Cattle spend their entire lives grazing on pasture • May judiciously be given FDA-approved antibiotics or growth promoting hormones • May be given vitamin and mineral supplements • Can be difficult to produce year-round in North America due to changing seasons & weather conditions

What is: • • • • Organic? Certified organic feed, can include grain. Housing, health, & handling specifically defined. Processing done at a certified facility. No antibiotics, no hormone implants allowed. Could this farm be certified organic?

What is: Pasture Raised or Free Range? • “Access to the outdoors”.

What is: Dry-Aged • Most locally raised beef carcasses “hang” 10-14 days in the cooler. • Technically, “dry aging” is for individual primals for a period of 21 days or more.

What is: Prime? • Only USDA Graders can assign USDA Quality Grades. • There are NO USDA Graders in NYS. % IMF (intramuscular fat): % of US Beef Supply in the 3 top USDA Grades: 2.5-3.9% 31.5% 3.9-8.5% 61.5% 8.5-12+% 2.7% Beef Research Report, Iowa SU 1998 NBQA 2011

Slight Moderate Small Slightly abundant Modest Moderately abundant

Define what is important to you, seek it from local sources. 1. “What do I want?” Common answers are “affordable, healthy, safe, humane meats.” 2. VISIT farmers’ markets, ASK around, and TALK with area farmers. 3. If you like what you see/hear…buy it! Buy small quantities to sample, figure out what you like.

What is important to me? Healthy animals, healthy feed • Pasture, when it is available. • Haylage, balage, some grains, but not straight corn. • “Free choice” hay. • No food waste from industrial food processing. • Treat sick animals as needed.

Clean, humane farm conditions • Animals have access to the outdoors, shade/ shelter, water, feed, and pasture (seasonal). • General farm and livestock appearance.

High Quality Meats • A good eating experience! • Adequate marbling & fat cover. •Animals of the appropriate age. •Beef: 16-32 mos. •Lamb/goat: <1year •Pigs: <1year •Poultry: <1year

Humane, clean processing • Properly wrapped for long freezer life. • Beef animals should “hang” between 1-2 weeks. • USDA inspected is good, not necessary.

USDA & NYS Regulations • USDA Inspected: Livestock (beef, pork, goat, lamb) meat can be sold to the public. • “Custom” & NYS 5A: Livestock meat cannot be sold. Consumers can buy a live animal (or portion of live animal) from a farmer & have it processed at a 5A. • NYS 20C: Can process (butcher) & sell livestock killed at USDA inspected facility.

What about claims? • • • • • • • Higher in CLA Lower in cholesterol or saturated fat. Sustainable scale. Family farms. Grass-based. Humane. Lean.

Beef Primal Cuts

There are eight wholesale cuts that are then used to make retail cuts.

Beef Cuts

FORE SHANK AND BRISKET The fore shank and brisket come from the shoulder and chest of cattle. It’s most common retail cut is the brisket.

Beef Brisket The Beef Brisket is a very course textured muscle. The heavy layer of fat and the sternum or breast bone have been removed. Due to the course texture of this muscle, cooking in liquid is recommended.

THE ROUND The round is the hind quarter of cattle, similar to the ham of a hog. The rump roast is a common example of a retail cut from the round.

Round Steak This steak is identified by the round leg bone and three muscles. At the top of the screen is the top round, at the lower left is the bottom round, and lower right is the eye of the round.

Rump Roast- Boneless When the rump is removed, boned, rolled and tied, a retail cut called the Beef Round Rump Roast is made. This represents a cut only moderately tender, moist heat is often used. However with a cut from choice and prime cattle, it is often cooked with dry heat.

Tip Steak The Tip Steak is cut from the tip roast. Like the roast this steak is identified by four individual muscles within one large muscle mass.

THE CHUCK The chuck is the neck region. You may recognize the boneless chuck roast as a retail cut from the chuck.

Chuck Blade Steak The Beef Chuck Blade Steak is similar to the beef chuck blade roast. It is usually cut less than one inch thick. The blade bone shown in this slide has the typical shape of the "sevenbone", a term frequently used in the meat trade.

Chuck Arm Roast The Beef Chuck Arm Roast is identified by its thickness as a roast, the large round bone in the center of the cut and the many small muscles of which it is made. This roast may or may not have a cross cut rib bones showing but if present would be at the bottom of the picture.

Shank Cross Cut The Beef Shank Cross Cut is identified by a cross section of the arm bone and many very small muscles, each surrounded by connective tissue.

THE RIB The rib cut is the rib section of the animal. We derive several retail cuts from this area including prime rib, and back ribs.

Rib Eye Steak The Beef Rib Eye Steak come from the large end of the beef rib and is made by removing back and rib bones.

Rib Roast, Small End The Beef Rib Roast, Small End, contains several ribs, a portion of the backbone and one large muscle, the rib eye.

Back Ribs

THE SHORT LOIN The short loin consists of the loin and short ribs of the animal.

T-Bone Steak This steak has the characteristic "T" shaped vertebrae and the large eye muscle. The smaller muscle located below the T-bone is the tenderloin.

Porterhouse Steak The Porterhouse Steak is similar to the beef loin T-bone steak. However the tenderloin muscle is much larger and an extra muscle is located in the center of the porterhouse steak on the upper side.

Tenderloin Steak (Filet Mignon) The most tender retail cut from the entire beef carcass is the Beef Loin Tenderloin Steak. This steak has a fine texture, is circular in shape and is usually about three inches in diameter.

THE SIRLION The sirloin is the waist of the animal, located between the ribs and round. The top sirloin steak is the favorite retail cut from this section.

Sirloin Steak, Round Bone The Sirloin Steak, Round Bone is located further back on the sirloin area of the beef loin. This particular sirloin steak has the greatest amount of lean and the least amount of bone.

Sirloin Steak, Round Bone The Sirloin Steak, Round Bone is located further back on the sirloin area of the beef loin. This particular sirloin steak has the greatest amount of lean and the least amount of bone.

FLANK AND SHORT PLATE The flank is the area between the body and the hind legs. You may be familiar with the flank steak often used for beef jerky.

Flank Steak The Beef Flank Steak is the only steak in the carcass containing an entire large muscle. Also, although most other steaks are cut across the muscle fibers, the flank steak fibers run the full length of the steak. To help tenderize these long fibers, you will notice the knife scores across the cut. Since the flank steak is one of the less tender steaks, it should be cooked with moist heat cookery.

OTHER CUTS Other cuts consist of less desirable sections and are often cubed as stew meat or ground.

Ground Beef

Pricing On the hoof On the rail By the piece

Pricing

The important message • Shopping locally allows you to choose based on a relationship rather than a claim. • You want a good eating experience. • Buying local has many benefits (the “triple bottom line”). • Talk to farmers to learn more.

Questions Credit for content and photos: Michael J. Baker, Cornell University Beef Extension Specialist Matt LeRoux, Ag. Marketing Specialist CCE - Tompkins County Audrey Monroe, RD, LD Kansas Beef Council

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