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Alberta Beef

I'm from Calgary, Canada, heartland of "Alberta Beef". A question aimed mostly at American chowhounds: Have you tried Alberta Beef, do you prefer it over your local beef, is it even on the radar? Personally the best beef I have had is a toss up between Galloway breed Alberta and Prime grade Alberta Black Angus. My cousins in Kansas would have a different view. What are yours?

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  1. I never heard of it here in NY. I think I remember something vaguely about it back ten years ago when I lived in Seattle. I never tried it.

    11 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      Well Alberta Beef is Unique at least where I buy mine at Costco it is all natural fed in the pasture then finished on grain

      1. re: burge

        Sounds good to me. What is the name on the package? Where do they buy the beef from? Anyone can grain feed cattle treated regularly with antibiotics and hormones....If you share the name I will check with Costco and see if that is their regular brand and if its safe. Remember that about a week ago the media said that Alberta has the largest number of farmers who use antibiotics regularly and growth hormones and that this was causing the extended illnesses in our province as no Antibiotics could fight off even a simple Flu due to the huge amount of antibiotics in most Albertans!!! This is very serious! Doubly stupid was that Listeria outbreak a few years ago right from the Manufacturer flood and our stupid PM decided to Monitor the Producers!! I was so so upset over this pathetic attempt and utter stupid move to put pressure on our producers but NO monitoring of the Manufacturing Floor.....That Harper is truly a mean one and in the dark ages or as they say one bail short a load! We have to look after outselves. Just look up SLOW FOOD and talk to those responsible farmers and thats the place to purchase your beef, pork, chicken etc.

        1. re: TerryFle

          "no Antibiotics could fight off even a simple Flu due to the huge amount of antibiotics in most Albertans!!!"

          The flu (and the common cold) is caused by a virus, not bacteria. Antibiotics are used to fight bacteria and would have absolutely no effect on the flu (and colds).

          1. re: earthygoat

            Virtually all the beef sold in supermarkets came from feedlots. The cattle are initially put on paster land until they have grown to the size where they are transported to a feedlot to be 'accreted' (fattened up). Feedlots inoculate and add vitamins and special 'accretion' feed formulas. This IMO is where the myth of 'Alberta' raised beef being so 'special' is exposed. Sure the animals are 'pastured' for part of their lives but in the end they all end up being pumped full of God knows what and you are eating God knows what. If you can find a rancher who is raising some Black Angus for himself/friends/family. You won't find any beef on his/her table that came from a feedlot.
            The flavor difference is like driving a 1995 E320 compared to driving an Aveo.

            1. re: Puffin3

              By 'pumped full' do you mean routinely injected with hormones and antibiotics? That's highly unusual, and quite a stretch. .
              I understand that these can be added to feed along with vitamins, and that the major portion of the feed mix is barley and other local grains such as rye , wheat and oats, but NOT CORN, which makes Alberta beef superior to some others.

              I'm currently in Ontario, and I have grass fed beef from a local farmer in my freezer, but for special meals I buy AAA Alberta beef from Costco or the RCSS meat counter, always well marbled, flavorful, and much better cut than farmer beef.

              1. re: jayt90

                4/5's of antibiotics are in our meat!!!


                Please get informed!! THE US Products are the worst for too many antibiotics. Thats why we MUST buy Albertan and buy local and make sure the farmer separates out the antibiotic and hormone beef.....Amen

                1. re: jayt90

                  You can 'google' up what the animals are exposed to and what drugs they are given. Ever actually visited a feed-lot? I'm guessing not.
                  If there is a living hell for animals it's getting
                  'accreted' in a feed lot. I worked for the Canadian Fed. Gov. at the Agriculture Research Station in Lethbridge as a 'data processor'. We had about 1300 head of beef cattle on different pastures and in feed lots all over Alberta. My job was to travel to these locations to collect data. Average daily gain/ease of calving etc etc. There's not a lot about the conditions in feed lots I don't know.
                  I've seen dying cattle on their knees injected with drugs to keep them alive until they get to the processor where they are first in line for the 'juice'. Just get the back hoe and scoop the beast up in the bucket then onto the truck.
                  No one in my circle of relatives/friends would ever buy a piece of beef from any grocery store. Just saying.

                  1. re: Puffin3

                    WOW! Thank you so much! This is the kind of first hand information that strengthens the fact that we MUST know WHERE our beef, pork, lamb, turkey and chickens are coming from. Its TIME to get to know farm families and HOW they produce and buy direct! I am going to put together a website to do exactly this! I will get back to you. Thanks, Terry

                    1. re: Puffin3

                      "I've seen dying cattle on their knees injected with drugs to keep them alive until they get to the processor where they are first in line for the 'juice'"

                      Your comment is OK in this board as long as you make no mention whatsoever of the Big Pharma Name that manufactures the drug.

                      BTW, stay away from any name beginning with "M" and ending with "O".

                  2. re: Puffin3

                    Puffin3 - were you responding to me? I am completely in agreement that we should educate ourselves and know where our meat comes from. But I also believe that we need to educate others with truthful information. I stand by what I said above, antibiotics can't be used to fight off viral infections, the flu is caused by a virus. People have a hard time taking others seriously when their information is not true.

                    1. re: earthygoat

                      Not really addressed to you specifically.
                      Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Stressed cattle are found to be more susceptible to infections in the gut. The first thing a feedlot animal is given is some form of antibiotic injection.
                      Look at it this way. Beef cattle have been selectively breed to 'range' and be basically docile enough for humans to deal with for thousands of years.
                      Watch any herd of cattle on pastureland. You will notice that each animal pretty much keeps it's distance from the others. There are many reasons for this I won't go into here.
                      When you take these animals and put them in a feed lot crowded with sometimes hundreds of other animals one thing that happens is their 'stress level' goes up and stays up until they are slaughtered. Stress causes many problems not the least of which is elevated hormone levels and inability to fight off many illnesses. Anyone can 'Google these illnesses. Every illness must be treated with antibiotics etc etc. Everything we put into the animal ends up on our plates. A healthy animal 'getting' their day in' on pastureland has good tasting meat. A stressed animal who's been pumping stress reducing hormones through it's system for weeks IMO has 'sour' meat.
                      Imagine three rats in a 3'X3' box. Then imagine 60 rats in the same box. Would you want to eat one of the three rats or one of the 60 rats? Just asking.

          2. I never heard of it in CA.
            Corn fed? grass fed? Mix?
            Retail places in CA?
            Any www links?

            1 Reply
            1. re: RicRios

              I am a little shocked that Alberta Beef doesn't carry more name recognition. Oh well, good things are always best near the source. I assumed Alberta Beef had the same familiarity as , say...Hudson Valley Foie Gras, or Niman Ranch Lamb, or Idaho Potatoes, or Montreal Smoked Meat. It carries a lot more weight in Japan, where we tend to export much of the prime grades. Local, organic, hormone free, and small production beef is available here, too, however, the Alberta Beef name is one program that carries with it a recognition of quality and consistency. Grass fed, so different than lots of American beef. More cows in Alberta than people. Check out these sites or google Alberta Beef.


            2. I had some very nice beef in Calgary, back when I still ate beef. Now I'm waiting for my brain to melt. Just kidding. But, seriously, these days I'm pretty careful about getting local meat from a source I can trust. BTW, I was amazed by Calgary's Texas-like vibe. I was not expecting that.

              1. Actually, I've never heard of Montreal smoked meat, but I have heard of Alberta beef.

                1 Reply
                1. Personally I have never heard of a steakhouse in the US, using Canadian beef(or specifically Alberta beef). Does Alberta beef have any presence in steakhouses in the US?

                  1. To BLM......god question, I shall have to get back to you on that, also welcome all other answers....hounds know best!! I do know that Alberta Beef is on better restaurant menus from Vancouver to Toronto to Halifax in this country.

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: formerlyfingers

                      I'm in Montreal, Alberta Beef is certainly also prevalent here. Here by far, the most popular cut is the rib steak(from what I hear, it's one of the few cities in North America where rib steak is king). A new cut I see in a couple of Montreal restaurants is the bone-in filet(is it available in Calgary?). I haven't seen Alberta Galloway beef here.

                      1. re: BLM

                        Just talked to my butcher here in Calgary. He knew of one resto in Montreal using bone-in filets and strips, a place called Le Cheval? He said though that they were using USDA Prime Beef, that is , American. Canadian (Alberta) abbatoirs generally are quite sticky about releasing bone-in product anymore...:( However, there is nothing stopping a restaurant which has its own butcher shop from cutting meats to their own specs, as is common in Manhattan and in Europe.
                        My meat guy was not surprised to hear that Montreal restos are serving bone-in filets; wish I could say the same about Calgary. The rib-steak is available here, and certainly appreciated by many people, although not as common as it could/should be. Alberta Galloway and the Alberta Kobe/Wagyu programs are both producing remarkable products.

                        1. re: formerlyfingers

                          The steakhouse you're talking about is Queue de Cheval(to my knowledge the first restaurant in Montreal to carry the bone-in filet, when they started having it around 2+ years ago). Shortly after that 40 Westt steakhouse & A L'Os in Montreal had it. More recently Moises steakhouse in Montreal is serving the bone-in filet. Yes, Queue de Cheval steakhouse is serving US Prime beef, but during the US beef ban in Canada a year or so ago, they were using Canada Prime beef from Ontario. BTW formerlyfingers, are there any current Calgary steakhouses serving Canada Prime beef(last I heard from around 3 years ago, none in Calgary was serving it)? If yes, which ones?

                          1. re: BLM

                            The steakhouses all seem to cater to the tourists, business travellers and those out on their "special night". Hence, none of them really are too serious about culinary ambition, IMHO. They all serve AAA beef, the standard cuts, hardly ever changing the formula. With the availability of Canada Prime, though, some of the smaller, better restaurants serve the Prime beef periodically. Sadly, though, it just hasn't caught on with the dining crowd in Calgary. My own restaurant of which I am the Executive Chef, serves Prime sirloin at lunch, and I play around with different pieces here and there, as I did while in my previous kitchen. The only other place I know has and does serve it is a Bistro called Divino, where they have had the rib steak on as a fixture for years, but recently took it off. Sad. Perhaps Carvers serves it, and maybe, MAYBE Vintage, or at least at one point they did. If you've ever had it, you will know how remarkable it is, esp. sirloin and striploins. I'm hungry in that sort of primal, I need meat kind of way now.......

                            1. re: formerlyfingers

                              When you say some of the small better restaurants in Calgary do serve Canada Prime occasionally, would they charge extra when they have it? The Prime sirloin at lunch that you serve, what size & how much you charge? I don't know any Montreal steakhouses currently serving Canada Prime beef, but they're about 7-8 establishments (steahouses & restaurants) here serving US Prime. They're a couple of Montreal restaurants serving Canadian Certified Angus Beef. Is the rib-eye steak common in Calgary restaurants(you can find it in Montreal, but not that common)? We see hanger steak served in some Montreal restaurants, but not in steakhouses. Is it true, that almost all the filets sold in restaurants/steakhouses are never aged? That the best best aged & marbled filets are reserved as part of porterhouses & the bone-in filets?

                              1. re: BLM

                                The price actually isn't that prohibitive, especially on cuts like sirloin. There is a fairly good demand for the striploins, and they generally run about 3-4 dollars more per kg. than AAA. I serve a 6 oz. sirloin at lunch, which currently costs me 15.90/kg. I charge 22$ for the dish, but I change the menu quite often, and the price fluctuates very regularly. I am surprised by the fact that the restaurants in Montreal are using USDA Prime. I wonder what the thinking is, or if it's consumer demand driven? There are few restaurants who conscientiously age their beef past the 28 days the packers give it, but there are exceptions. Whole beef cuts actually do OK aging for a week or more "in the bag" or cryovac'd but past that, it should be dry aged for longer periods, if desired. I once served a 50 day dry aged ribeye of AAA, and it was truly unbelievable, more tender and deeply flavoured than you could fathom, but with low yield due to high loss. They would actually be black and totally dry outside, and would take no time to cook. They were on my menu for about 6 months, a couple years ago.People seemed to love them, some more than others. You would need a temperature and humidity controlled room to pull this off. Like anything else, a chef will take the necessary measures to reflect his own level of commitment and integrity, and unfortunately, the same goes the other way.

                                1. re: formerlyfingers

                                  Very few Montreal restaurants(including steakhouses) dry age their beef. I'm guessing USDA Prime being available in Montreal is partly consumer demand, as Canada Prime is almost totally unknown by the Montreal public(even USDA Prime only came to Montreal around 5 years ago). From what I gather USDA Prime is only available in Montreal, Toronto & Vancouver within Canada, although Edmonton is now getting USDA Prime, with the new Ruth's Chris steakhouse opening there.

                                  1. re: formerlyfingers

                                    BTW, why do you like the Alberta Galloway beef so much? You're not first person I've heard rate Galloway beef so highly. It just that it's not available here in Montreal so I can't try it, & plus Galloway beef is much leaner that Prime grade beef.

                                    1. re: BLM

                                      The Galloway breed is a rather sedate, docile animal, resulting in meat that is not overly muscled. I should have added the distinction that I really only appreciate the leaner cuts of the Galloway, like the sirloin and the tenderloin. I usually do not like tenderloin much, especially where rib cuts or striploins are offered, however the Galloway tenderloin remains the best I have had. Alberta Prime beef though wins across all other categories, hands down.

                                      1. re: BLM

                                        Sounds like its time to make the trek out West and see for yourself, huh?

                                    2. re: BLM

                                      Oh, by the way, ribeye is to Calgary what you say Rib steak is to Montreal; very common, and a personal fave of mine. I do love a rib steak cooked in cast iron with a nice crust though....

                                      1. re: formerlyfingers

                                        The last few years, I've changed to favour ribeyes over rib steak, as they tend to have more marbling. Although maybe rib steaks could have more flavour, as it has the bone. In the US, rib steaks are called ribeye with bone-in(I think that's what I've heard)?

                                      2. re: BLM

                                        you can buy it wholesale at costco its the best

                            2. Most Americans aren't familiar with Alberta Beef unless they've eaten in outside of the US during the past few years.

                              Canadian beef exports to the US were halted in 2003 because of Mad Cow Disease. It was isolated in beef from Canada in Washington State. In 2005, the US 9th Circuit issued a temporary restraining order continuing the ban on imports from Canada. The Court refused to make the ban permanent in the Spring, 2006 so Canadian beef should start to reappear in American markets. Needless to say, American beef producers wanted the ban extended.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MakingSense

                                Unfortunately, this is only part of the story. True, BSE, or mad cow disease was found in a cow in WS state, but Canada had already discovered at least two other cows with BSE on farms in Alberta and Manitoba. The lobby group for American beef farmers, R Calf, fought hard to keep Canadian beef exports out, but science has shown that because of the highly integrated nature of the two countries' programs, there is n't a significant risk posed from so called "Canadian beef". It is only because of extremely conscientious testing that these cows were discovered at all. Ironically, though it hurt many farms and producers here in Canada, the ban served to tighten up the operations, streamline some, and generally make for a better product, especially because during the ban, Canadian consumers were able to experience the Premium and Prime grades of beef, formerly almost exlusively reserved for export, thereby creating domestic demand for these products where it hadn't existed before. I am glad we are now keeping some of our best beef at home, keeping our cuisine regional more than in the past. We are seeing something good, from a taste and quality standpoint, arise from something that had the optics of something bad. My original question still stands, what do people outside of Alberta think of Alberta beef; how does it compare to your local stuff or others you have had from elsewhere: Europe, Argentina, etc.?

                              2. North Carolina Chowhound recently transplanted from Toronto, so I've eaten a fair amouunt of Alberta beef over the years.

                                IMO, it's no better than the Certified Angus I can pick up in just about any supermarket locally. I wouldn't go out of my way to find it, and wouldn't pay a premium for it if it were available locally.

                                1. At the Prime grade level, all the Montreal steakhouses/restaurants prefer USDA Prime over Canada Prime. Depite that fact, that Canada Prime is problably significantly cheaper than USDA Prime. During the US beef ban, USDA Prime Montreal steakhouses/restaurants switched to Canada Prime(or in some cases AAA). When the US beef ban was over, they all switched back to US beef(to my knowledge). In Queue de Cheval steakhouse case, it took them a month or two, before deciding to switch back to USDA Prime, but they were using corn-fed Ontario Canada Prime beef. I haven't eaten enough Canada Prime beef(ate it once when I got hold of Canada Prime beef, to take home), to compare with USDA Prime.

                                  I've tried some very good AAA Alberta beef, & no so good AAA Alberta beef. I've tried Canadian Certified Angus beef several times, & was not impressed(I think it's now called Angus Pride beef). Tried US Certified Angus Beef several times, & been very impressed. Liked very much Canada Sterling Silver AAA Alberta beef.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: BLM

                                    I would have to admit that much of the AAA program beef isn't all that impressive, and tends to be inconsistent. That said, I have had some very good AA beef before too. The American beef program seems to have consistency nailed down, which is likely why restaurants choose to use it. I have no complaints about any of the Canada Prime grade beef I have had, but I am intrigued about USDA prime beef. I may have to come to Montreal to try it. Is there some weird irony in all that?

                                    1. re: formerlyfingers

                                      Couldn't you in Calgary as you work as a executive chef in a restaurant, get hold of USDA Prime beef? From what I gather the restaurants/steakhouses in Toronto & Vancouver, also prefer USDA Prime over Canada Prime(if not all of them, a vast majority of them).

                                      1. re: BLM

                                        I'm sure I could. It would certainly be a bold move to put American Beef on my menu, considering where I am. However, I would not be opposed to it. When I first started to use Bison meat 5 or 6 years ago, there was a company who was leading the way as far as raising the animals, proper animal husbandry - feed, no hormones etc. and they were considered the benchmark as far as quality goes. However, like so many other industries ( mac vs. PC comes to mind) other, often smaller companies take the idea and simply improve on it. There are now suppliers and producers who provide me with better, more consistent, and often even less pricey bison products, right under the nose of the so called experts. They have made the original idea something completely different and vastly better. Of course, the most obvious benefactor of this type of process is the customer at the level of the individual restaurant. By one or two chefs, then a few more starting to use better beef, outside of the "Holy Circle" of "Alberta Beef", the effect should be of our local program improving to keep viable, or at least that's the theory, right? I will make a call today and see about getting some US product in to try it out and let you know of my findings.

                                      2. re: formerlyfingers

                                        You nailed it. I've heard some of Montreal restaurants that are using US beef, say that Canadian beef is inconsistent.

                                    2. I've had Alberta Beef, I've had USDA Prime, I've had Canadian Prime (not Alberta), I've had some dry-aged, grass-fed, local, small herd, naturally raised stuff from Cumbrae's in Toronto, and some not dry-aged local naturally raised stuff sourced through Rowe valley. In fact I've had them close to side by side (within a weekend over the summer with some friends to share the cost). The best was the local naturally raised and dry-aged from Cumbrae's. After that, there wasn't too much distinction. The USDA prime was towards the lower end of the scale though (maybe due to failing to meet a high expectation?).

                                      Given that experience, I chose some lovely rib-steaks (bone on, 3-4cm thick -- from Cumbrae's) for my birthday on Monday and grilled them over charcoal with some sel gris and ate twice as much as I usually do. Best steaks I've ever had. Nice bottle of of Zenato Amarone 2001 too.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Atahualpa

                                        I have to agree about Cumbrae's (A high end Toronto shop sourcing specially raised local meats from Ontario and a few from P.Q.). The best steak I had last year was their shoulder steak (you have to ask for it.) It was thick cut near the rib, but much cheaper, just about $10 per steak, and had loads of flavour but still tender, just what I wanted.

                                        Local sourcing, proper aging, and good meatcutting are the key points for this shop.

                                      2. Calgary poster here. I have seen Alberta beef for sale in California grocery stores (sorry, can't remember which). This was over a decade ago though.

                                        1. Unfortunately here in Canada, ordering food by mail order is not really prevalent. I wish I could order by mail the very very best Canada Prime beef available(lets say dry-aged at least 7-8 weeks), direct from a distributor and/or from a top butcher shop. Who gets the best Alberta beef in Canada(I'm guessing in the US, the top NYC steakhouses & a NYC butcher shop like Lobels, would get first shot at the very very best USDA Prime beef)? Would it stay in Alberta, or maybe the top Toronto steakshouses would get them(as they're more willing to pay top dollar)?

                                          1. Having lived in Calgary my entire life and now living in Bermuda where all beef is imported from the US I really miss good beef

                                            1. Alberta Beef is the best and the Certified Angus Beef is to die for

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: burge

                                                It is easy to be Angus: 50% black/red heritage, from one parent is enough. The breed is no longer Aberdeen Angus quality.

                                              2. http://www.telusplanet.net/public/cbg... this is what we are eating here in Canada and Cargill is where Costco certified angus beef comes from right here in high river Alberta

                                                1. AT Costco south in Calgary

                                                  1. I just tried Sterling Silver burger at the Baton Rouge restaurant. This is supposed to be a top cut....Honestly, if you go to Silver Sage in the Calgary Farmers Market where you KNOW they separate out the antibiotic and hormone beef and you KNOW they do NOT feed their cattle with GMO filled grains you will truly find a much tastier beef. I think its time to protect our own and only buy Albertan if you truly wish to know WHERE you food is coming from and the quality. Try the Sterling Silver USA Brand yourself then try Silver Sage right here in Calgary. Taste the difference! ITs real!

                                                    1. I'm not the target for your question, but I'll answer it anyway. :P

                                                      I'm a Canadian, spent most of my life in Alberta. I've been in Asia (mostly) for the last decade.

                                                      Alberta beef is the best beef I've ever had. Nothing I've had in Asia (Sri Lanka, Singapore, Dubai) or even New Zealand was as good.

                                                      But then, I might be biased. :)

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: LMAshton

                                                        i don't think you are arguably Alberta beef is the best in the world

                                                      2. If I remember wasn't it XL Foods in the middle of that tainted meat situation where they had labelled some of their beef with the US name Sterling Silver and they had to come clean and let investigators know that it wasn't Sterling Silver BUT XL Beef. I just wonder if we ever know what we are eating UNLESS we purchase DIRECTLY FROM ALBERTA FARMERS. Why not go out to the Simpson farm or Hoven Farm or any Alberta Farm and see how careful they separate out the Anitbiotic and Hormone cattle while in the US it is now known that they put antibiotics and growth hormones in ALL THEIR CATTLE!!! I would say its time to ONLY EAT ALBERTA BEEF if you want to live a little longer!!

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: TerryFle

                                                          Costco's meat is mostly from Carghill.

                                                          1. re: burge

                                                            AND CARGILL are the ones who INVENTED the name Sterling Silver for their USA Beef products. To me, when I see Sterling Silver I just feel sick knowing all the GMO's and chemicals that come across the border with that commercial name. In Alberta we use Angus Beef to show case a name that says quality...Really has nothing to do with quality..its JUST A NAME. But less scary than the USA products.

                                                            1. re: TerryFle

                                                              If you check facts, you may note that Cargill Sterling Silver is North American sourced, so there is a Canadian branch of Sterling Silver beef and pork. I have seen the Sterling Silver logo on a variety of beef and pork trays at Sobey';s, all of them with a Canada processing plant logo as well.

                                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                                Thanks Jay; Yes XL Foods had Sterling Silver on some of their products. I think the Canadian Branch still distributes US products...But Cargill did CREATE the Sterling Silver name and concept. I was always aware that Sterling Silver was ONLY a US marketing concept through Cargil. Would love to know otherwise....

                                                            2. re: burge

                                                              They're about the most recall prone producer. Wouldn't touch any of their meat products. https://www.google.com/search?q=cargi...

                                                          2. I bought a steak that we cooked ourselves while camping out in Dinosaur Provincial Park. I don't know much about it except that I believe the packaging said it was from One Tree Farm.

                                                            It was very good, maybe more 'clean' tasting in the way that organically raised meat has a less 'rich' flavor and the fat seems less 'fatty,' more palatable, if that makes sense.

                                                            Overall I can't say it tasted better than other good steaks, but that was a very limited sample.

                                                            I do want to give a big shout out for Taber corn, which was phenomenal. Only bought four ears but wished I had more. It had a very fresh, grassy taste and we didn't have to cook it for long. I was impressed.

                                                            1. I grew up on a hay farm west of Cochrane in the fifties. Up in the Wildcat Hills. Three sections of 'Prairie Wool'. We had Black Angus but mostly we preferred deer/elk/moose and especially antelope. We could shoot antelope from our front porch.
                                                              Frankly now it's whether the animals has been raised in a feed lot of 'ranged'. You'll rarely get 'range beef' unless you know someone who has a ranch. IMO 'range beef' is the same as wild game compared to feed lot cattle.
                                                              Not to everyone's taste though. Range cattle typically are hung much longer then feed lot cattle. The extra hanging time makes for better meat but the moisture loss costs extra.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                All meat here at Costco is aged 21 days its the best of Alberta and compared to Coop its a steal of a deal. like just now they had strips from Angus Pride not CAB but still its the better meat and that stuff at coop is 35- 40 a kg while at costco it was 13.99 a kg whole 17.99 a kg cut

                                                                1. re: burge

                                                                  Hey give me the name on the package. I shop at Costco too but I am careful to get my meat and poultry from the Farmers Market or directly from the Farm. Very little at Sunterra is Organic as well...they sell you their own pork and beef but I am pretty sure that organic cuts are very limited....More smoke and mirrors. GFS or Gordon Foods does have some organic selections, and so does SYSCO but I find their prices still rather high compared to talking directly to the farmer. I have noticed that $34 and $38 a kg for organic chicken and conventional beef for $17.99 is super high...but great for organic.....Not too sure what you are referring to... But I will check with Costco again...the last time I asked they just told me they buy from SYSCO and GFS....You have to check the label on the package....then do your research...Do you think they will tell you if its inferior? You never know...

                                                                  1. re: TerryFle

                                                                    When I buy from major marketers including Costco, Sobeys, Metro and Loblaw, in Ontario, the processing plant is on the label , as Canada #XXXX. Look it up to see who butchered your meat. It's a public record, and easy to find.

                                                                    1. re: jayt90

                                                                      Good one Jay but pretty funny. Many producers RELABEL and put Costco or Sobeys on them. Does that mean that they dont have hormones or antibiotics?? NO! But when you buy Albertan you know exactly what farm you are buying from and their exact procedures related to chemicals, antibiotics and hormones...this is serious life threatening stuff and not to play with...Time to find out WHERE each cut you buy comes from..What farm and what are their farming methods....Otherwise enjoy your Russian Roulette style of eating and challenge to your life...Amen

                                                              2. IMO there remains sort of a 'myth' surrounding 'Alberta' beef. First virtually 100% of 'Alberta' beef cattle is raised in feed-lots' just like the feed-lots all other NA. They all get virtually the same diet of partially digested silage. Their digestive system never evolved to work with partially digested feed. Hence the chronic diarrhea in feed lots.
                                                                Years ago when feed lots were not endemic in the industry all the beef cattle were 'ranged' throughout their entire lives until a couple of weeks when they were sometimes 'finished' with more expensive feeds to get the yellow 'marbling' people like/ed.
                                                                These 'ranged' cattle, on the eastern side of the Rocky mountains eat what we used to cut: 'Prairie-wool'. It has never been turned over by man. It was/is just the natural grass which grows after the glaciers receded. The soil is only a couple of inches thick then glacial till. The grass only grows about a foot high. What makes it special is it's mineral composition. Very special/unique. The range cattle who eat this grass have a special sweet flavor, like the other animals which grazed there. Like antelope/deer/bison/elk. The only way to ever get to taste that quality of beef/game is to know some rancher who still 'ranges' their cattle on 'prairie-wool. Anyone living around Calgary, if they wanted to bad enough could find ranchers who might sell them a 'half' or whatever.
                                                                The photo is of us kids helping with the 'prairie-wool' hay harvest circa about 1957 west of Cochrane Alberta.

                                                                10 Replies
                                                                1. re: Puffin3

                                                                  Well, certainly there are lots of feedlots. But I live in southern Alberta, and when I drive out into the country, I see hundreds of cattle wandering around in the hills. Looks like they’re eating grass to me.

                                                                  1. re: VitalForce

                                                                    Yes, but are those beef cattle or dairy?

                                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                                      You will not see dairy cattle roaming the hills. Dairy cows, unfortunately, are confined to barns and, if lucky, have access to the outdoors. They are milked at least twice daily, therefore won't be wandering the hills miles from the milking parlour.

                                                                      1. re: earthygoat

                                                                        Ummm... Ten years ago I worked on a dairy farm making artisanal cheese and baking rustic wood fired brick oven bread and the cattle were grass fed and at times during the day up to two miles away. They actually came back to the milking parlor twice a day to get milked because they had the habit and felt uncomfortable if they weren't milked exactly on time.

                                                                        Now this may not be the case in your area, but...

                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                          The dairy I buy is from pastured cows.

                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                            There are definitely pastured dairy cows and dairies out there. However, just as with other farmed animals (chickens, pork etc), the greater percentage of the population is not pastured. I'm in Ontario, Canada, and most dairy cows are not pastured, some have access to the outdoors, but they spend most of their time near or in barns. The numbers are even higher in the US. I highly doubt that the hundreds of cattle wandering around the hills are dairy cows. Smaller numbers from family farms, or in your case an artisanal cheese dairy, is more likely the case. But those farms are few and far between. And yes, dairy animals get into routines and enjoy being milked. Just ask my dairy goats :)

                                                                            Vital Force - what colour are these cows? 95% of dairy cows in North America are holsteins, mainly black and white. We could guess what breed those cows are by their colour.

                                                                            1. re: earthygoat

                                                                              These would be primarily beef cattle. This is very much ranch country, and so very different from the farm norms in Ontario or New England. The dairy industry is quite small here, although the beef industry is huge. Puffin3 modified the earlier statement suggesting that these animals are raised on feedlots to their being instead finished on feedlots. Prior to that, they are happy-go-lucky cows that are going off hiking in the hills.

                                                                            2. re: JMF

                                                                              Here's some more info on the Canadian dairy industry. It's run by marketing boards and based on a quota system. It makes it difficult for farmers wanting to do anything slightly different from the regulations. There is no marketing board for goat and sheep milk, which is resulting in much greater diversification in those markets.

                                                                      2. re: Puffin3

                                                                        i am with puffin3 re; the myth - i shop often in vancouver bc - the last good thing re: beef was woodward's douglas lake ranch - real ranching - not current west canada style whether it be AB or BC

                                                                        it is a marketing board that signed off on all the slogans and images - i don't believe that it is what is portrayed, not in this day and age of cheapest, mostest, quickest, just=in-time

                                                                        poor cows.