Beef is the culinary term for meat that came from a full-grown cattle about two years old, particularly skeletal muscle. It is classified as red meat — a term used for the flesh of mammals, which contains higher amounts of iron than chicken or fish. We have been eating beef since prehistoric times, and it is a good source of high-quality protein and nutrients, which is vital for a healthy diet. It plays an essential role in at least one of our daily meals. There are at least 50 breeds of beef cattle, but fewer than 10 make up most cattle produced. Some significant kinds are Angus, Hereford, Charolais, and Brahman.
- Cattle provide about 25 billion pounds of meat each year.
- Every day, 76 million Americans eat beef.
- Brazil is the world’s largest producer of beef.
- The value of the cattle and beef industry is $200 billion.
- Argentinians eat more beef than anyone else, about 140 pounds a year per person.
- Disneyland (CA) sells over 4 million hamburgers each year.
- More beef is consumed on Memorial Day than any other day, with the 4th of July and Labor Day usually tied for 2nd place.
- More than 97 % of beef cattle farms and ranches are classified as family farms.
Cattle: Large ruminant animals with horns and cloven hoofs, domesticated for meat or milk
Steer: Young neutered male cattle primarily raised for beef.
Pasture: Land covered with grass and other low plants suitable for grazing animals, especially cattle or sheep.
Grazing: Grassland suitable for pasturage.
Prime: Quality grade is given by the USDA to describe very high-quality beef regarding tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.
Choice: Second highest graded beef that has less fat marbling than Prime.
Select: Lowest grade of steak you will find at a supermarket or restaurant. It is tougher, less juicy and less flavorful.
Beef Buying Guide
When buying beef, make sure that the meat is free of bruises, blood clots, bloody tissue, and blood discoloration. Fresh meat must have a vibrant, rich, and eye-catching color. Consistency in color is usually the standard of quality since discolored spots can be a sign of poor handling. You must avoid dark or discolored cut surfaces and naturally exposed lean surfaces and fat. Also, check the meat if it has a foul smell — odor changes when bacteria break down the meat. The putridity of the smell will escalate with the level of spoilage.
Beef Production & Farming in Texas
Beef cattle production and farming include grazing on large amounts of land per cow and being fed high-calorie diets for a few months in large populations immediately before slaughter. If you want to raise cattle, you must maintain a low-stress environment for their herds, involving constant safety, health, comfort, nourishment, and humane handling. All cattle eat grass; three-fourths of them are finished or grown to maturity in feedlots where they are fed specially formulated feed based on corn or other grains.
Beef cattle production represents the biggest single segment of American agriculture, with more than 800,000 ranchers and cattle producers in the USA. Texas leads the nation in beef cattle production, topping the charts in the sheer number of cattle and calves, as well as the number of feedlots and cattle finished here. Its $10.5 billion annual economic impact makes the cattle industry Texas’ No. 1 source of agricultural income.
Raising cattle for food dates to 6500 B.C. in the Middle East. The cattle are not native to America, but they were brought to the New World on ships by European settlers. Americans weren’t a big fan of fresh beef until about 1870, due to the enormous growth of the cattlea production in the West.
Not long ago, cattle were being used for multiple purposes including meat, milk, and labor. Today beef cattle are raised primarily to provide people with meat, and hundreds of useful by-products. They were first brought to the western hemisphere by Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez took offspring of those same cattle to Mexico in 1519. In 1773, Juan Bautista de Anza brought 200 head of cattle to California to supply the early California missions.
Beef must be preserved in excellent condition through processing, storage, and transit. Packaging must be tightly wrapped and show no signs of tears or punctures. Be sure they do not contain unnecessary liquid, which can be an indication of temperature abuse or excessive storage. For vacuum-packed products, make sure the seal has not been broken and that the package is not leaking.
Beef is being graded depending on its size, fat deposits, and muscle mass. The USDA certifies the beef cuts as “prime,” “select” or “choice,” based on the marbling and tenderness. After being cut, the meat must be put into plastic bags and vacuum-sealed. After boxing, it is being sent out to stores and restaurants, at which point we get to eat it.
Beef is the third most widely-eaten meat in the world, accounting for about 25% of meat production worldwide. It is categorized as red meat, usually eaten as roasts, ribs, or steaks.
To keep meat safe from potentially harmful bacteria, refrigerate it at 40 °F or 4.4 °C or freeze it as soon as you get home. If it needs more than 30 minutes to get the products refrigerated, keep them cold in a portable cooler.
It is safe to freeze the Beef in its original packaging or repackage it. However, for long-term freezing, overwrap the porous store plastic with aluminium foil, freezer paper, or freezer-weight plastic wrap or bags to prevent “freezer burn,” which appears as greyish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air reaching the surface of the food.
Keeping the beef tender and juicy is of utmost importance – and it isn’t that difficult. With its several cuts and cooking styles, there are plenty of options for you to choose from depending on what you want, from hearty beef stew to the best-ever burger recipe. Primary meat cooking techniques include braising, stewing, pot roasting, barbecuing or smoking, pan-searing, grilling, broiling, pan-frying, roasting, and stir-frying.
Two main types of cooking Beef:
Dry heat – When you cook using dry heat, the surface of your Beef forms a delicious, flavorful crust. It loses its moisture but gives the Beef a more concentrated flavor. It can make your Beef pretty dry. So be careful not to overcook it!
Wet Heat or Moist Heat – This cooking method uses water, liquid or steam to transfer heat to food. By cooking with wet heat, your Beef loses less moisture. Even though it loses some moisture, the cooking juices make up for it. This lets you cook your beef longer, which can help out a tougher cut.
Beef is mainly composed of protein and varying amounts of fat.
The protein content of Beef is about 26–27%. Beef is one of the complete dietary sources of protein, and its amino acid profile is almost identical to that of your muscles.
Beef also contains different amounts of fat which are also called beef tallow. Apart from adding flavor, it also increases the calorie content of the Beef considerably. The number of fat in will depend on the level of trimming and the animal’s age, breed, gender, and feed.
Vitamins and Minerals
The following vitamins and minerals are abundant in Beef:
Vitamin B12: Essential nutrient that is important for blood formation and your brain and nervous system.
Zinc: Beef is very rich in zinc, a mineral that is important for body growth and maintenance.
Selenium: Essential trace element that serves a variety of functions in your body
Iron: Found in high amounts in Beef, meat iron is mostly in the heme form, which is absorbed very efficiently
Niacin: One of the B vitamins, niacin, has various important functions in your body. Vitamin B6: Important for blood formation and energy metabolism.
Phosphorus: Widely found in foods, phosphorus intake is generally high in the Western diet. It’s essential for body growth and maintenance.