A meal is only as good as its ingredients – isn’t that what culinary experts say? This refrain is even true when the meal has only one ingredient – such as a steak. In fact, it’s especially true in the case of beef.
There are eight main cuts of beef:
- Short Plate
How beef is delivered to the diner can take many forms. Ground beef, of course, shows up in the form of hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs, tacos, sloppy joes, or Salisbury steak and in pasta sauces, chilis, soups, and casseroles. Ribs and roasts, are always popular when properly prepared. And, who can forget America’s favorite meat snack: beef jerky?
Steaks, though, are often viewed as the pinnacle of the beef mountain. According to Seven Sons Farms in Roanoke, IN, there are 10 cuts of steak that stand out above all others. The 10 best steaks are:
- New York Strip
- Prime Rib
- Filet Mignon
ONLY THE BEST
Where the meat comes from and the skill of the butcher doing the cutting will help determine the overall quality of a steak. But, there is only so much that the butcher has control over. One of the biggest factors in terms of the quality of a steak is what breed of cattle the meat is sourced from.
According to Countryside Magazine, the most common breeds of cattle farmed for consumption are:
- American Brahman
- Santa Gertrudis
- Murray Grey
- Scotch Highland
- Devon Cattle
- Red Poll
- Welsh Black
Of these breeds, there is a small handful that most U.S. consumers will run into at restaurants or in grocery stores.
According to Farm Flavor, there are several breeds of cattle that are the most popular among U.S. ranchers.
In the case of feeder cattle, the quality of the beef factors in the tenderness of the meat and the amount of intramuscular fat content – what is also known as marbling.
Marbling can range from 0.99% to 2.72% among the different breeds of cattle typically farmed for their meat. That wide range of marbling is a sign of how significant the fat content can be in the overall flavor of the meat.
- ANGUS is the most popular breed of cattle raised for the dining pleasure of Americans. This breed is well known for its excellent marbling. It is typically the highest quality beef that you can buy at the grocery store. Angus beef typically garners a Prime or Choice rating from the USDA. Originally hailing from Scotland, Angus cattle have been raised in the U.S. since the 1800s. Brazil is also a prime source of Angus beef these days. They come in both black and red varieties. Outside of the color of their hide, there is no genetic difference to the animals, their delectable meat tastes identical. Since 1978, the American Angus Association has stamped meat as “Certified Angus Beef” provided it meets 10 quality standards. Angus cattle are often crossbred to increase the quality of meat in other breeds.
- CHAROLAIS is a popular breed of cattle with origins in France. In fact, the breed can be traced as far back as 878 AD. The breed is recognized for its cream color and pink muzzle and have been raised for both their milk and their meat. Now, though, most Charolais cattle are raised for consumption thanks to the quality of their meat. The breed made its way to the U.S. via Mexico in 1934. The U.S. is one of 68 countries to raise Charolais cattle. Like the Angus, they are often used in crossbreeding to increase the marbling in other breeds of cattle.
- HEREFORD is a sturdy breed of animal. These cattle are a popular breed among ranchers in Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota. The breed originates in Herefordshire, England and was first imported to the U.S. in 1817 by way of Kentucky. Red and white in color, this recognizable breed is valued for its ability to survive in harsh environments. Their relatively docile demeanor also makes them an appealing breed to raise. The meat of Herefords has long been celebrated for its luscious flavor.
- SIMMENTAL have an excellent growth rate resulting in high beef yields. The red and white marked breed can be traced back in history to the Middle Ages in the region now recognized as Switzerland. Raised for both milk and meat, Simmental cattle have one of the best growth rates when proper feed guidelines are followed. Although they offer a good flavor, Simmental cattle are more often used as dairy cows. During the reign of the former Soviet Union, Simmental made up 25% of all cattle in the USSR. In Africa, this breed of cattle is crossbred with oxen to increase growth rate and meat yield.
- TEXAS LONGHORN, as the name suggests, are recognizable by their widespread horns. In fact, their horns can easily reach a span of up to 10 feet. They are descendants of cattle brought to the Americas by Spanish conquistadores. They were included in cattle brought from the Iberian Peninsula on Christopher Columbus’ second voyage. Although they can be found in many colors, 40% of the breed sport some shade of red in their coloration. They are popular among ranchers because they can survive on the open range without much pasture or vegetation. They neared extinction by 1927, but now beasts with an elite Texas Longhorn bloodline can sell for $40,000 at auction. They produce a characteristically lean meat.
NOT ON THE LIST
Ultimately the best beef raised in the U.S. is generally considered to be American Wagyu – descended from Japanese Wagyu cattle. However, they are in such limited number that they don’t make the list of the most raised cattle in the U.S.
Wagyu beef is viewed primarily as a delicacy due to its amazing level of marbling and the buttery richness of the fat. It can cost up to $300 per pound.
Just like how the best breeds of cattle translate to the best steaks, those breeds also translate to be best beef jerky.
The quality of beef used by makers of meat snacks will vary from company to company. BULK has achieved its position as America’s go-to source for Premium Beef Jerky and other healthy snacks by always using the best ingredients.
BULK never cuts corners with lower quality cuts of meat from inferior breeds. We stand behind our products with a replacement or refund promise – that’s quality you can trust.
For all your snack cravings, find the healthiest and best tasting options all here!