Animals raised according to the National Organic Protocol regulated by USDA– fed 100% organic feed (from grains, forage or fresh grass), on land that has beef certified without the usage of fertilizers of pesticides for the prior 3 years. They are not administered hormones or antibiotics.
Cattle that is raised on grasses at
a younger age, but moved to grain feedlots for a certain period, to gain weight and improve fat content-flavor. Usually, they will specify the duration of the grain finishing period (i.e. 120 days, etc.)
USDA ORGANIC GRASS FED
Animals raised according to the National Organic Protocol regulated by USDA. Fed only from organic certified land (without the usage of fertilizers of pesticides for the prior 3 years) and fed only on pastures. Never administered hormones or antibiotics. The cleanest beef with all the benefits of the grass-fed sustainable practices.
It is one of the best Scottish breeds for beef and the most popular in the US. It is a registered brand whose logo you’ve seen in menus and butcher corners.
The certified Angus beef program was established to make sure cattle labeled as Angus could trace at least half of their genetic material to true Angus sources. It is very popular in restaurants, supermarkets, and markets across the country.
Usually, it comes from corn-fed feedlot cattle unless specified differently.
Fed only grass from weaning to harvest. This Cattle, raised in open pastures, has to eat significant amounts of grasses to gain the same weight as the feedlot-grain fed cattle to reach the same weight. If you compare with grain fed cows, it takes a grass fed cow 20-24 months to gain the weight, while the same animal will gain in 12 months in a feedlot. This is a healthier beef option because it has lower fat, less cholesterol content, and more Omega-3s.
According to the USDA grading system, this is the most marbled- fatty beef. Usually, it comes from corn-fed feedlot cattle from different breeds (British breeds and some cross breeds). In many restaurants, they dry aged it to enhance flavor. Very flavorful but very high in fat and cholesterol.
Cattle which were raised on grass but moved to feedlots to gain weight rapidly through a mix of grains. They are usually confined and not free range. Grains help the cattle to gain weight faster than grasses improving marbling to be graded Prime or Choice.
Select beef has less marbling than Choice. Many cuts that are graded Select are used for food processing. Usually, it comes from corn-fed feedlot cattle from different breeds.
Meat is vacuum- seal-packed and refrigerated and stored for at least 30 days to improve tenderness and flavor.
Fresh beef hung to dry for several weeks under controlled temperature, air flow, and humidity to enhance flavor and tenderness. Dry aging caused the meat to lose some of its weight in liquid, thus concentrating its flavor.
Japanese cattle breed that is naturally genetically predisposed to intense marbling, which provides enhance flavor and tenderness. When this breed is raised in the Kobe prefecture of Japan under their specific practices, the beef can be called “Kobe Beef,” a brand name. When you see in menus “American Kobe” they mean Wagyu animals raised in America.
By Pablo Liberato www.gauchoranch.com Sources: Edible Magazine- “Fire Power,”
U.S Department of Agriculture (www.usda.gov),
Animal Welfare Approved (animalwelfareapproved.us)