Feature Food: meat tenderness

Yesterday we explored more benefits to grass-fed beef and we’ve looked at meat processing, but how about tenderness? Aren’t we all seeking that juicy melt-in your mouth, mind-blowingly flavorful steak? Who wants tough piece of meat that they’re chewing on for days? There of course are several factors going into tenderness. Of course there are obviously cuts of meat that lend themselves to being more tender. Tenderloin and ribeye are going to be more tender than round steak. However, there are many key factors that go into the tenderness, and two pieces of tenderloin may not have the same tenderness. It is a complex mixture of protein intake, calcium, stress before and at the time of killing, age of the animal and the actual aging process. Much emphasis is placed on marbling (fat distribution throughout rather than just a layer of fat encompassing the steak) to determine tenderness, although growing arguments say that stress plays a bigger component. Even the best cuts of meat can become tougher if the animal is placed under more stress. So rather than the feedlot animal raised in tiny stalls and then sent to the slaughter-house, an animal that is killed quiet and humanely provides superior meat. As a hunter this is what I seek to do, it’s why I practice with my bow and gun, so that I can make a clean kill on the animal, which is providing better meat, and is better for the animal (there is nothing worse than having an animal suffering). I would think that the same could be said for grass-fed, raised naturally grazing on grass, would have less stressful lives (and if slaughter is as least stressful as possible). Think of the somewhat legendary wagyu (kobe)beef. Revered for their unbelievably marbled and tender meat; with stories of farmers massaging the cattle (it’s no wonder its the most expensive steak in the world, although this breed lends towards having a more marbled cut). Other things having an effect on tenderness are the age of the animal and marinating. Younger animals=more tender.  Marinating in salt and ginger also appear to aid to the tenderness of the meat. Bottomline of today is that stress plays a role on tenderness and if you want that immensely tender piece of meat you’re going to have to pay more! For more on our fat-burner weight loss programs check out our website at bodychange.net.

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