BEEF | ONE OF THE RED MEATS

BEEF is the culinary name for meat that comes from cattle, bison, buffalo, yak, and antelopes. Although I have had bison and buffalo burgers, I think we’ll all agree that cattle is most common.

I thought beef was the favorite of all meats, but it is the 3rd most consumed meat behind pork and chicken. Not counting the countries, like India and Nepal, that regard cattle as sacred, it has become more popular to cut back on red meat or stop eating all meat out entirely.

People have been eating meat since prehistoric times. There are cave drawings of hunting expeditions. Somewhere around 8000 B.C. cows were actually bred specifically for human uses…..beef, milk, leather.

It’s hard to say when people first started cooking beef, but with the exception of steak tartare, most people eat their beef cooked.

I’m fortunate to have a property large enough for a few cows. We only have 5, but every 12-18 months, we stock our freezer with fresh beef. Not only does it taste better than beef from the grocery store, but I can eat a burger with some pink in it and not worry about food poisoning.

It amazes me that our government leaves it up to the consumer to cook our meat properly to avoid getting sick instead of making stricter standards on the people providing the beef to the markets….but that’s an issue that should be discussed in another article.

The video below discusses why organic beef is so much better for your health than most meat in your market.

CUTS OF BEEF

If you’ve ever wondered what part the the cow certain cuts of beef come from, see the chart below.

Steak is probably the favorite, but do you prefer a N.Y. strip, a ribeye, or filet mignon?  Then, will you grill, broil, or pan fry?

Roast beef was always a special Sunday meal when I was growing up.  My father liked it rare and, as kids, we would dip our dinner rolls in the blood that was on the serving plate.  My mother like it more well done and always took the end slice.

Maybe you like grilling barbecue beef ribs or a slow cooked beef brisket.  Or the American favorite….a burger.

Let’s talk about the other parts of the cow that are not consumed by the majority.

  • Liver
  • Tongue
  • Sweetbreads (pancreas, thymus)
  • Tripe (Stomach)
  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Kidney
  • Oxtail
  • Blood (blood sausage)
  • Intestines (used for sausage casings)
  • Bones (great for soup stock)

You probably won’t find any recipes on my website for most of these beef parts, but I do occasionally eat beef liver, I still make my mother’s recipe for oxtail soup, and I do make soup stock with the bones.  As for the other parts, I’ve just never tried them.  If any one has a great recipe to share, please let me know.

AGING BEEF

There are 2 processes for aging beef.  The beef we buy at the grocery stores are “wet aged” unless marked otherwise.  The other aging process is “dry aging.”  The reason beef is aged is because it causes the enzymes to break down the connective tissue of the beef and makes it more tender.

 

 

Wet Aging – The beef is aged in a refrigerated space for 2-3 days in plastic bags.  Aging in plastic means less loss of moisture.  Because of very little weight loss and less time for aging, the price can be kept lower.

Dry Aging – The exposed beef is hung in a refrigerated space for 14-28 days.  There is a considerable amount of moisture loss (about 1/3 of total weight).  This moisture loss increases the flavor of the beef.  Because of the weight loss and time needed for aging, the dry aging process makes the beef more expensive.  There are many restaurants that use this more flavorful beef.

BEEF | NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Although you’ll find studies that show red meat raises the chance of coronary heart disease, may cause cancer, and even diabetes, you’ll also find other studies to show otherwise.  Who do we believe?  One year you’ll hear reports that it’s bad for you and the next year reports say eat small amounts.  My belief is that we should eat a variety of foods in moderation.

My biggest concern is what they feed the animals that we consume.  Or what about hormone injections to make the cattle fatter?  How does that affect us?  I’m not a doctor, therefore, I’m not going to speculate.  Most of the population cannot raise their own cattle to assure a more pure meat product.  We have to just trust that we are not being poisoned.  Or, if you can afford it, buy organic.

There are some good nutrients in beef that we need, so I’ll list them below and you can make your own choice whether to eat beef or not.

Approximate daily recommendations for 4 oz. of beef:

  • 50% B12
  • 25% B6
  • 25% niacin
  • 25% riboflavin
  • 40% zinc
  • 40% selenium
  • 25% iron

B Vitamins – Help maintain your metabolism, immune system, blood glucose levels, and promotes healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin.

Zinc – Helps to maintain a healthy immune system.

Selenium – Helps with the function of the thyroid gland.

Iron – A mineral that carries oxygen throughout your body and keeps you from feeling tired or weak.

OK, now that I’ve bored  you with all the “nutritional value” talk, let me know your take on eating beef.  Although I do like beef and do think there are many health benefits to include it in your diet, I have to admit that I eat more chicken and fish than I do beef.

But a ribeye grilled to medium rare is hard to resist.

Eat healthy, be healthy!

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