What is Certified Angus Beef?

Shear Forces and Taste Tests

The OSU study examined 150 steer carcasses from a significant Midwest packing facility, which were divided equally between USDA Select, Choice and Certified Angus Beef carcasses. A total of six subprimals (loin, sirloin, clod, knuckle, inside round, and flat round) were taken from each and aged for 14 days before being cut into inch-thick steaks, vacuum-packed, and kept at -20oF.

Steaks were thawed, cooked to medium-rare (158°F), cooled, and sampled for half-inch Warner-Bratzler shear (WBS) tenderness testing. Meanwhile, a sensory panel rated the juiciness, tenderness, amount of connective tissue, and flavor intensity of half-inch cubes of up to 16 identically cooked steaks per day. Least-square statistical analysis provided comparisons.

WBS values were lowest (most desired) for Certified Angus Beef steaks, highest for Select steaks, and intermediate for Choice steaks when averaged across all six subprimals. Compared to Certified Angus Beef or Choice steaks, the shear force of the Select steaks was more variable. Strip loin steaks were the most tender, but also the most inconsistently tender, when categorized by subprimal. Out of all the subprimals, top butt steaks had the highest shear force value. Clod steaks were more tender than round steaks, but the round’s knuckle steaks had the most stable shear force.

Unsurprisingly, the sensory panel preferred strip loin steaks to all other subprimals for tenderness. The tenderest steaks were those that were Certified Angus Beef, followed by Choice and Select steaks. Certified Angus Beef and Choice steaks scored higher in the qualities of juicyness, beef fat flavor, and beef flavor intensity than Select steaks. Differences in connective tissue were only detected by subprimal. The panel determined that the round flat, inside round, top butt, knuckle, clod, and strip loin had the most connective tissue.

The inside round and top sirloin butt steaks were the driest, while the strip loin steaks had the highest juiciness scores.

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The Certified Angus Beef difference

The OSU data show that only 2% of the Certified Angus Beef steaks were classified as slightly tough or tough (98% tender), while 10% of commodity Choice and 25% of Select steaks fell into this category

Compared to commodity Choice, Certified Angus Beef steaks had 20% more favorable shear force ratings for top butts and 8% more favorable ratings for strip loins Even two of the end-meat products, inside round and round flats were 8% and 6% more tender for the Certified Angus Beef subprimal cuts

The Certified Angus Beef steaks were also 6% to 18% more consistently tender, the least variable in shear force for all six subprimals

Little correlation was found by OSU researchers who looked at the connection between the tenderness of the strip loins and the tenderness of other muscles. However, the scientists pointed out that the Certified Angus Beef steaks’ uniform shear force might be partly to blame for the low predictability.

They came to the conclusion that marbling has a greater impact on middle meats’ tenderness than it does on end meats. The industry needs to investigate alternatives to the current quality grading system in predicting tenderness and palatability if it hopes to increase consumer satisfaction and demand for end-meat steaks.

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FOUNDING CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF® – American Angus Association History

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