Is Black Angus beef the next white meat?
We were dining out on a low-moderate budget at a nice and fairly new 2+ star restaurant nearby. Friday nights they sponsor a Martini Madness promo; any drink with a gin or vodka base is $5. All premium labels included. I like that!
Back to the story...
After great soups, a sweet pepper bisque for my beloved, a three cheese onion for me; we studied the compact menu for good entrees. My wife ordered baked whitefish in a cream sauce, which was very tasty and a generous portion. The restaurant's Angusburger caught my eye because I love a well executed hamburger, and I've never tasted Angus beef. That's what I chose from the menu, and ordered it med rare with well-grilled onions. The kitchen missed slightly on the prep, the hamburger came to me more on the medium side than medium rare. Okay, not something to get over-wrought about so I set to wrestling with the well-portioned burger. After consuming just a bit less than half of my burger, I began to think that there wasn't even a slight hint that I was eating beef. No true flavor came from the beef itself; and I wasn't going to doctor it up with condiments and seasonings.
My question is thus: Is nouvelle beef going the way of pork, to become the next white meat?
I don't know about the "next white meat" angle, but advertising Angus, implying specialty beef as opposed to generic, has been around for a long time. Many steak houses, chain restaurants, and specific supermarkets have all advertised their beef as Angus.
Here in the Pacific northwest another grocery chain has started advertising their beef as coming from "store owned Hereford herds".
It's a marketing device to attract customers to something other than generic products.
This is about "branding," a marketing technique. There is a Certified Angus Beef Brand, that some producers participate in and their products can be marketed using the trademarked name. There are other producers who raise and sell Angus cattle which may or may not be just as good but they can't market their beef under the trademarked name. The "Angusburger" wasn't the "branded" beef. It might have been great. Obviously, you weren't impressed.
Pork is different these days because current consumer tastes have led producers to breed and raise leaner animals for market. There are some producers who do make "heritage" breeds available which are still bred and raised by the old methods. Not like the "other white meat."
One example of "branded pork" is Niman Ranch. It's not one ranch but a group of family-owned farms that sell their products to a single company. They all produce to that company's standards.
It's common among chicken producers as well for individual farmers to buy chicks and feed from a company, raise the chicks to market size, and then send them to the company factory for slaughter. They are marketed under the company "brand."
Ahhhh Angus beef strikes again.
I have no idea how this phenomenon has gone on so long. I have had AB and I have had regular beef and I have to say, I have very seldom found AB to be better and in fact, most of the time find it to be inferior. They sure don't mind charging more for it though.
I have a friend who's a butcher and he told me that it "Claims" to be more well marbled but in reality, a good piece of beef is a good piece of beef. No matter what colour the coat of the critter.
In other words, save your money and don't buy it. Maybe the marketing department will come up with better tasting meat.
It's also been suggested that chains hand the AB label on stuff because it's perceived to be better. So they can drop down a grade in the beef they use.