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Kitchen Notes: USDA Beef Quality Grades
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PSMO



Joined: 08 Nov 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:04 am    Post subject: Beef grades Reply with quote

Dilbert

You are exactly correct what I should have said was Holsteins as well as other breeds are graded by the inspector and not the dairy industry, just pointing out that the breed is just as important in the final grading process.
Try Holstein Prime vs Hereford Prime etc .side by side and you'll soon understand the difference in eating quality>>BIG difference !!
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1007
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>big difference

wish I could speak to that - but being 'off the farm' my source for beef is either the supermarket or our local butcher.

in the supermarket we've got "organic" labels and "Certified Angus Beef" labels but the rest is mystery breed beef - I'll ask the butcher (we have a real "meat cutting department" at the supermarket) and my butcher if they can specifically ID the breed.

our local butcher deals exclusively with a local slaughterhouse - he would certainly have some idea - or could easily inquire - about what breed the slaughterhouse always/sometimes processes. he's third generation of the business - he knows his stuff - does a mean dry age for my Christmas prime rib. when 'it's got to be good' he's my goto source.

I do a (long involved...) beef dish where I always use "top round" - but I have noted the results aka 'quality' aka taste is not especially consistent - could be differ breeds, there is no obvious clue from the packaging / labeling.
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PSMO



Joined: 08 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very seldom if a all will you find the breed of animal advertised, unless they are touting CAB "certified angus beef" and a few others that slip my mind.
Stick with native choice or prime, no exotic breeds and you should be go to go to enjoy a good steak. Most of the upscale Steak Houses use the high end of the beef spectrum, thats why you pay the preminum prices.

If you have a discerning palette as I do, you'll be hard pressed to find, at the least a decent steak in the moderatlely priced steak houses, eatable yes ,melt in your mouth with flavor and texture abound no. Good luck and good eating.
By the way what is the special recipe you prepare with the round steak ?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1007
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>a decent steak....
oh,,, indeed. more like "an exercise in chewing stamina" is more apt a description to some of that stuff.

>>the dish....
ahhh... it's one of those internal to the family "comfort foods" things, passed down through my mother-in-law. she called it hash, that's what we call it - but it's not quite the exact definition of "hash"

get yerself a roast, salt/pepper, in a heavy pot, brown heavily. most of the browning / crusting goes away in subsequent steps, so more browned / seared is more better, eventually, flavor wise..... I use 4-5 minutes on a 'side' - x 4 - allowing for rotation, + end(s)

after the browning bit, remove roast, in same pan caramelize a batch of half-globe sliced onion. leeks work as well,,,, when onions are done.... I like onions, I use 2-3 mediums for the average 3 lb. roast.

put the browned roast back in the heavy pan, add liquid to "almost" cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer - covered - for four +/- hours.

as for the liquid, I've used 100% water, 80-20 water/wine, 50-50 water beer. take yer pick. for wine, a super dry type not recommended; that dry/tart flavor concentration goes 'off taste' - go with a medium to sweet white.

remove from heat, allow to cool, refrigerate overnight.

next day, low heat reheat to a simmer - covered - add diced fresh garlic to taste - simmer 3-4 hours. recheck for salt&pepper.

if you've done it right, at this point you've got "pulled beef" - the meat fiber/bundles are falling apart. remove meat, ladle out pot juice & thicken for a light gravy.

extra flavor tip: use the pot juice to reconstitute dried mushrooms; remove mushroom 'bodies' prior to service - I'm sure there must be a culinary use for reconstituted stems/caps, I've just not found it yet. love the flavor, not so big on the left-over chunkies.....

with a really sharp knife, cut across the grain & serve meat+limp onion strands smothered in the gravy, over mashed potatoes.

heh, that was her story, and I'm sticking to it (g)

steamed/braised brussel sprouts is a good side - nice conflict of tart & sweet.
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PSMO



Joined: 08 Nov 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost sounds like Sauerbraten, thanks for the recipe
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:36 am    Post subject: Better Late than Never Reply with quote Delete this post

In defense of the article prompted by the commenters....
"Organic", "Certified Angus", "KobeLoveYouVeryMuchBigTime", and others are great for improving your purchase perception. If you go to Japan try the Kobe but beware that your cash for a sushi-sized piece could have purchased both an excellent steak and good hooker back here in the States. If you buy Kobe here it will likely not be the same, much like the crappy beef they get from the US/Argentina/Brazil in the EU; any food product is going to be available at a higher quality locally. I digress. As an engineer from a beef raising family I felt the need to throw my hat in the ring here.
USDA grading is a great way to tell how your steaks will turn out, especially before you find a good butcher/can spot the golden cuts in a pile of big box packaging. A half-competent grill or oven operator should be able to make any Prime steak that has at least minimal aging (such as a 12hr cold kosher salt application or two days on a cooling rack in the fridge) a testament to the privilege of first-world living.
If this is not enough to satisfy your sick food fetish, however, there is a further option which the CfE folks in Austin can take advantage of with the ease of falling off a log. However, you damn Yankees may need to work/pay more for access. I am of course referencing direct sales of responsibly raised beef. While I have grown up with the good fortune of ready access to young beefs slaughtered having never seen a feed lot/antibiotics/ground corn "feed"/shit-reeking pens/pretty much any stress, most areas of the country are now served by a new generation of farmers and ranchers that offer the same access to those born without the marbled spoon in their mouth. I urge anyone that views cooking a quality steak as a privilege to investigate their local options. While they are not always the best available, they are almost certainly better than the grocery store pack.
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