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A cut of beef.

Beef is muscle tissue obtained from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef is one of the principal meats used in European cuisine and cuisine of the Americas, and is important in Africa, East Asia, and Southeast Asia as well. In the Middle East, lamb is the usual meat preferred over beef. Beef is taboo to Hindus.

Beef can be cut into steaks, pot roasts, or short ribs, or ground into hamburger. Several Asian and European nationalities include the blood in their cuisine as well—it is used in some varieties of blood sausage. Other beef variety meats include the tongue, which is usually sliced for sandwiches in Western cooking; tripe from the stomach; various glands—particularly the pancreas and thyroid—referred to as sweetbreads; the heart, the brain, the liver, the kidneys; and the tender testicles of the bull commonly known as "calf fries", "prairie oysters", or "Rocky Mountain oysters."

The better cuts are usually obtained from steers, as heifers tend to be kept for breeding. Older animals are used for beef when they are past their reproductive prime. The meat from older cows and bulls is generally tougher, so it is frequently used for ground beef US/ mince UK. Cattle raised for beef may be allowed to roam free on grasslands, or may be confined at some stage in pens as part of a large feeding operation called a feedlot, where they are usually fed grain.

The United States, Brazil, the European Union, Japan and the People's Republic of China are the world's five largest producers of beef. Beef production is also important to the economies of Nicaragua, Argentina, Russia, Australia, Mexico, and Canada.


[edit] A History of Beef's Genetic Ancestry

Cattle have genetic ancestry dating back to Europe and the other Old World continents with the exception of bison (buffalo) hybrids. Cattle are not native to the American continents and come from such less obvious origins as Wagyu from Japan, Ankole-Watusi from Egypt, and longhorn Zebu from Pakistan and India. [1] Cattle were widely used for meat across the Old World except in religious or draft uses. Some breeds were specifically bred to increase meat yield or texture like the Angus or Wagyu.

[edit] USDA Beef grades

In the United States, the USDA operates a voluntary beef grading program. The meat processor pays for the presence of a highly trained USDA meat grader at the abattoir who grades the whole carcass prior to fabrication. The carcass grade is stamped on each primal cut (six stamps) and applied with roller stamp to each side as well. Traces of the USDA grading stamp are sometimes visible on boxed primal cuts.

The grades are based on two main criteria, the degree of marbling (intramuscular fat) in the beef rib eye and the age of the animal prior to slaughter. Some meat scientists object to the current scheme of USDA grading since it does not take tenderness into account. Most other countries' beef grading systems mirror the US model. Most beef offered for sale in supermarkets is graded choice or select. Prime beef is sold to hotels and upscale restaurants. Beef that would rate as Standard or leaner is almost never offered for grading.

Image:Beef inspection USDA.jpg
Inspected carcasses tagged by the USDA
  • Prime — most tender and highest in fat. Currently, only three percent of the steaks sold are USDA certified Prime.
  • Choice
  • Select — the leanest grade commonly sold
  • Standard
  • Commercial
  • Utility
  • Cutter
  • Canner

Traditionally, beef sold in steakhouses and supermarkets has been advertised by its USDA grading; however, many restaurants and retailers have recently begun advertising beef on the strength of brand names and the reputation of a specific breed of cattle, such as black angus <ref>[2]</ref> <ref></ref>.

[edit] Cuts of beef

Beef is first divided into primal cuts. These are basic sections from which steaks and other subdivisions are cut.When looking at a diagrams such as the ones below, note that the closer to the middle back, the more tender the meat is. Since the animal's legs and neck muscles do the most work, they are the toughest; the meat becomes progressively more tender as distance from "hoof and horn" increases. There are different systems of naming for cuts in America, Britan and France.

See the external links section below for links to more beef cut charts and diagrams.

[edit] American Primal cuts

The following is a list of the American primal cuts, ordered front to back, then top to bottom. The short loin and the sirloin are sometimes considered as one section.

[edit] Upper Half

[edit] Lower Half

  • Brisket — often associated with barbeque beef brisket.
  • Shank — used primarily for stews and soups, but is not usually served another way, due to it being the toughest of the cuts.
  • Plate
  • Flank

[edit] British Primal cuts

  • Neck & Clod
  • Chuck & Blade
  • Rib
  • Sirloin
  • Rump
  • Silverside
  • Topside
  • Thick Rib
  • Thin Rib
  • Brisket
  • Shin
  • Flank
  • Thick Flank
  • Leg

[edit] Special beef designations

Image:Flag of Spain.svg Spain;Carne de Ávila, Carne de Cantabria, Carne de la Sierra de Guadarrama, Carne de Morucha de Salamanca, Carne de Vacuno del País o Euskal Okela
Image:Flag of France.svg France; Taureau de Camargue, Boeuf charolais du Bourbonnais, Boeuf de Chalosse, Boeuf du Maine
Image:Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal;Carnalentejana ,Carne rouquesa, Carne Barrosã, Carne Cachena da Peneda, Carne da Charneca, Carne de Bovino Cruzado dos Lameiros do Barroso,Carne dos Açores, Carne Marinhoa, Carne Maronesa, Carne Mertolenga, Carne Mirandesa
Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom; Orkney Beef, Scotch Beef, Welsh Beef

[edit] Cooking Beef

The method of cooking beef is largely determined by the cut of beef to be cooked. For example, tender (and generally more expensive) cuts of meat benefit from fast, high-heat cooking while tough cuts benefit from a slower and longer cooking method.<ref name="cooking">Beef Cooking Outline</ref>

[edit] Dry Heat Cooking Methods

Tender cuts of beef from the loin and rib are best cooked via dry cooking methods, such as grilling, broiling, roasting, and sautéing.<ref name="cooking">[]</ref>

  • Grilling: Grilling is characterized by cooking the beef over a high heat source; generally in excess of 650ºF. This leads to searing of the surface of the beef, which creates a flavorful crust.
  • Broiling: Broiling is similar to grilling, except where grilling is usually performed outdoors with the heat source under the beef, broiling is usually performed in an oven with the heat source above the beef. <ref name="broil">Broiling Beef</ref>
  • Roasting: Roasting is a particularly British way of cooking meat which produces the iconic British dish - Roast beef. British roasting is very similar to American broiling, although the heating is from hot air and the meat is cooked all around. Little if any liquid is added. The liquid produced during cooking is decanted from the fat and usually made into a gravy to serve with the sliced beef.

[edit] Moist Heat Cooking Methods

Tougher cuts of beef from the round, brisket, flank, plate, shank, and chuck are best cooked by moist heat cooking methods, such as braising, pot-roasting, and stewing. (Some of the tougher cuts may be prepared by dry heat methods given they are tenderized first with a marinade).<ref name="cooking">[]</ref>

  • Stewing: Stewing involves immersing the entire cut of beef in a liquid. <ref name="stew">Stewing Beef</ref>
  • Braising: Braising involves cooking meats, covered, with small amounts of liquids (usually seasoned or flavored). Unlike stewing, meat cooked via braising is not fully immersed in liquid.

[edit] Cooking temperature

Main article: Temperature (meat)

Beef is cooked (roughly) on the following scale, based on the internal temperature of the meat<ref name="doneness">Hormel Foods- Beef Doneness</ref>:

Cooked Traditional Temp. (USA) Description
Blue 115ºF - 125ºF Blood-red meat, soft, very juicy
Rare 125ºF - 130ºF Red center, gray surface, soft, juicy
Medium rare 130ºF - 140ºF Pink center, gray-brown surface
Medium 140ºF - 150ºF Slightly pink center, becomes gray-brown towards surface
Medium well 150ºF - 160ºF Mostly gray center, firm texture.
Well done 160+ ºF Gray-brown throughout.

[edit] "Mad cow disease"

Intensive farming of beef resulted in the world's first recognised outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or, colloquially, "mad cow disease") in the United Kingdom in 1986. Eating beef from cattle with BSE is thought to have caused the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD) in about 131 cases (2003 June data) in the United Kingdom and some few in France. BSE is an illness that cattle can get by feeding them infected animals (especially their brains and spines).

The perception of beef as potentially lethal caused significant damage to the UK beef industry. The attempts to wipe out BSE in the UK by a kill-and-burn campaign, although ultimately successful, did further damage from which the beef industry is only recently recovering. Since then, a number of other countries have had outbreaks of BSE. Due to a BSE scare in 2004, the American border was briefly closed to live Canadian cows, but was reopened in early 2005. Japan along with many other countries stopped importing United States beef and beef products, but since July 27, 2006 Japan has reopened itself to imports.

[edit] References


[edit] See also

[edit] External links

fr:Bœuf id:Daging sapi ko:쇠고기 nl:Rundvlees ja:牛肉 ug:كايىماق pl:Wołowina qu:Waka aycha simple:Beef sv:Nötkött ta:மாட்டிறைச்சி zh:牛肉 ru:Говядина


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