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Angus Beef (It's only a marketing term)

This post is in response to a post on the Boston board from a Chowhound seeking an Angus beef source:

Not intending to pile on here, but I believe many consumers believe "angus" represents some kind of premium beef, but when it is touted, as in "certified angus beef" it is purely a marketing ploy. Angus are probably the most prolific beef cattle raised in the U.S. Angus in the U.S. is a breed of cow that is derived from Aberdeen Angus, which originated in Scotland. The other distinction of angus cattle is that they do not have horns.

When considering acquiring good beef, I believe it is more useful to focus on the USDA grade assigned, no matter what the breed of cow, and whether or not the cow was grass fed or corn fed. Most beef available for sale in the U.S. is corn fed. If you are willing to pay the money, then grass fed beef that is classified as Prime is what you would strive for. In terms of getting a good deal and good beef, you would probably want to investigate your local, independent butchers, they can tell you where their beef came from and whether it is grass fed or corn fed.

One other major factor in the taste of beef, is whether or not it has been aged. There are two aging processes, wet aging or dry aging. Supermarket beef is not aged. (High end steakhouses have their own aging facilities, which helps them control the quality of the process.)

I am sure other 'hounds with more knowledge than I might have something to add here.

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  1. Wayne, I would not presume to have more knowledge than you. Here in SoCal Whole Foods dry ages their choice beef but not their prime. Dry aging is a very expensive process as the butcher must trim off the outer layer of meat during the 21+ day aging process and this results in a loss of weight and hence a higher price. I was surprised that many high end steakhouses use wet aged beef; it pays to ask if the beef is dry aged if the website or the menu does not specify.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TomSwift

      Tom I have to disagree with you.........most dry aged beef prime or choice is carcass aged. Grew up on a ranch, work in the food industry been to many packing plants and seen it all............Certified Angus is a quality control thing but when it comes to cutting, for example New Yorks, they cut end to end and so some of the ip cuts are in fact vein steaks, in other words with the gristle running through it. I prefer Herford Beef it is better than Angus flavor wise, my opinion.

    2. The Angus folks will have you believe that Certifed Angus Beef is equvalent to USDA Prime, but I agree with ChinoWayne. Prime is a designation of quality based on, among other things, the level of marbling, or fine strains of fat in the meat. If CAB meat is equvalent to Prime, why not have it graded and labeled as such? It would command a higher price.
      Nothing better than a USDA Prime dry-aged steak. Available in only a few restaurants, such as Peter Luger, Keen's, or Bern's in Tampa. Also from purveyors like Lobel, Allen Bros. or Niman Ranch.
      As an aside, I showed steers as a youngster in school, and in 1966, had the Grand Champion at the West Florida Fat Cattle Show. He was an Angus. The reason I mention this is that, at the time of check in, the show's judge commented on my steer:
      "This is the only animal I've seen here which would grade Prime." And this was in 1966, before the USDA lowered all the standards.

      22 Replies
      1. re: steakman55

        At our local Fresh Market, the Certified Angus Beef is clearly marked USDA Choice.

        1. re: jimingso

          In Canada Certified Angus Beef is always graded AAA which is the equivalent of USDA Choice. Some USDA Prime or Canada Prime meat may come from Angus steers, but they are never labelled as such.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            Sorry but they do grade CAB prime,,,,,,,, my mistake. In other words it is CAB or CAB prime.

          2. re: jimingso

            Certified Angus Beef is a registered trademark and they DO NOT grade their beef, period.

            1. re: wineman3

              Not sure what you mean by that and the later post. Beef is graded by USDA. CAB claims to be the better part of the choice grade level (which has wide variations) or the prime level. They are choosing from among the beef that has been graded in that level. They have what they call 10 criteria for this selection. Sure it involves marketing hype, but there is some positive selection that goes into it. Call that "grading" or "choosing" or whatever you want.

              Also, please provide a reference for your assertion that most dry-aged beef is carcass aged. AFAIK most is aged on the bone in primal cuts (is this what you meant??)--seems to me it wouldn't make much economic sense to dry age the entire carcass since very little of it is going to bring a premium anyway--just the main steak cuts.

              1. re: wineman3

                Yes, CAB is graded. Every meat grade has ten levels. CAB is midCHoice or better. They have also created a CAB Prime which is USDA graded Prime and a CAB Natural which meets the grading criteria, source verified and hormone free.

                Here's a link to the USDA grading requirements for CAB:


                1. re: FEF

                  I thought that USDA grading was done by the USDA and based on the individual carcass. If a carcass meets the criteria, it's graded whatever it's graded. I don't see a trademark allowing passage through a USDA inspection based on a title- or am I wrong?
                  The only place I've ever seen USDA stamps in their purple glory was at the base commisaries I went to with my mom in the early '60s. I wish I could go there now, I have amazing memories that didn't make sense until lately. Now sometimes I have dreams that I go to the commissary and dread going through the checkout line because I have no valid base ID.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    You're right; the USDA does the grading. But each carcass gets a numerical score on which the Select / Choice / Prime designation is based.

                    CAB used to be top-third Choice only; now it's top-two-thirds. What used to be a meaningful (near-prime) label is now largely meaningless.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      Unless the USDA grading standards have also been relaxed. In which case the entire mess is not as meaningful as it used to be. I suspect that's the case.

                      Either way, CAB is a set of standards, just like USDA grading. You either think their standards are worth the premium or you don't. But, they are standards at the end of the day. Just like USDA grading, and then, of course, beyond that. But I think the argument is easily made that the program isn't meaningless, unless one wants to dismiss all aspects of it.

                      1. re: tommy

                        Maybe the standard for USDA Prime (Choice, Select, etc.) has slipped, but those standards still define broad categories. CAB used to signify Prime-minus / Choice-plus beef; it doesn't any more.

                        My local grocery chain stopped paying the premium for the branded stuff when they changed the quality standards. It's not that the standard is meaningless, it's just that its meaning is diluted when the store already focuses on Choice beef.

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          USDA did change its grade standards several years ago, but I am not aware there have been any changes in grade standards ("slippage") recently (note I am talking about grade standards only, not yield nor wholesomeness standards). What USDA standard has "slipped?"

                          CAB standards are private and have no impact on the USDA grading process that I am aware of. As you know, they take beef that has been graded by USDA and choose from it what part they want to call CAB. Their protocols may have changed recently, but that has no impact on USDA.

                          1. re: johnb

                            I don't have any idea whether the USDA grade standards have changed. I suspect they haven't, but was just responding to tommy's suspicion that they have.

                            You're totally correct that CAB standards have no impact on the USDA grading process. My point was that those standards were recently redefined to include mid-choice beef, rendering certification a "why bother" issue.

            2. re: steakman55

              Your post raised 2 questions in my mind

              1) Was the judge a "USDA" inspector?
              2) Even though a steer can be raised and fed to a "prime" weight or condition, beef grading is essentially done post mortem isn't it?

              I apologize in advance for my ignorance, but this post really piqued my curiosity.

              1. re: Brandon Nelson

                You might be surprised by how well beef judges and buyers for packers could estimate grade back in the 1960s. There were also contests where the steers were judged on the hoof and later on the hook. This kind of feedback really helped sharpen judging skills.

                1. re: Brandon Nelson

                  Good questions. I don't know that the judge was a USDA inspector; I suspect he was not, but he was head of animal husbandry at the University of Florida, so he would qualify as a beef expert.
                  Yes, I believe that the grading is done of a carcass, not a live animal on the hoof. I do think, however, that an educated eye can predict a grade with accuracy.
                  This just stuck in my mind since 1966. I didn't know at the time what it meant until I later started to enjoy USDA Prime beef. And it was even more impressive in my mind (yes, this was my steer of which I was proud) since grading standards were much higher then.

                  1. re: steakman55

                    Thanks both of you. Interesting stuff.

                  2. re: Brandon Nelson

                    It is done after killing. You are right. Only in livestock shows is it done before and after.

                  3. re: steakman55

                    They can tell the grade before the steer is killed?

                      1. re: phantomdoc

                        With Wagyu/Kobe beef cattle, fat content can be determined through DNA testing of the live animal. this information drives most breeding programs.

                        1. re: steakman55

                          I understand that grading live animals is a genuine skill. It is taught in FFA classes and students compete based on their skill at grading live animals.

                          I have not ever heard of a judge grading a live animal as prime. I was under the impression that that a prime grading required examination of marbling after slaughter. Is that not so?

                          I have attached a picture of the bone in rib roast I cooked for Christmas this year. While this is commonly marketed as "Prime Rib Roast", that marketing and common usage label does not indicate an actual prime grading. I would deem this roast as very good choice, but it does not have the marbling throughout the roast that would qualify it as prime. How could a judge know these facts on a live animal?

                        2. CAB is nothing more than beef that's certified to be from a predominantly Angus cow and meets the programs requirements of being steroid and anti-biotic free. Usually the cows are brangus AFAIK. While I agree the marketing can be hyped a bit I'll take CAB over run of the mill CAFO beef from origins unknown any day assuming they are of equal grade meat.
                          I agree there are many other factors at play. Dry aging, how well the meat was cut etc.
                          CAB dos offer both choice and prime grade steaks.
                          According to their web site less than 8% of angus beef qualifies for CAB and less than 1.5% of that for prime CAB.
                          There's plenty of marketing there. They wouldn't be one of the most dominant brands with out it but I don't think it's a ploy.
                          Consumers just need to know what they are buying.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: Fritter

                            In the US the requirement to meet the CAB standards is thus: Genotype 51% Angus, or Phenotype 51% Black. Notice the OR. If a carcass from an animal with 51% black fur that is maturity grade A, yield grade 2-4, and grades in the top 2/3 of choice, it is eligible for the CAB program. Period. All CAB have received hormones and antibiotics. Period. I hope you are in a country with different guidelines, because here, all CAB is CAFO beef, and most slightly better beef cattle would qualify for the marketing program. Trust me - I purchase millions of pounds of beef a year.

                            1. re: almansa

                              CAB beef is one of the biggest scams in american industrial food.

                              most CAB beef is of the 51% Black variety.

                              this is because the cattle are only 50% angus-- the other 50% is generally holstein. and cafo holstein, at that.

                              the whole dairy/beef industry scenario is evil enough that veganism looks pretty good, by the end of it. you see, holstein dairy cows need to give birth each year in order to lactate, duh. dairy farmers only artificially inseminate the top 10% or so milk producing cows with holstein sperm. so you get about 50% of those cows (5% total) producing viable female calves who will go on to be big milk boxes like their mothers. the male calves are either killed immediately (more milk for people) or see the industry: veal.

                              leaving the other 90% of the holstein dairy cows,& they just need to give birth to something in order to produce milk, male dairy calves being pretty much worthless. so, savvy cafo managers say: let's cross a bony black & white dairy cow breed with purebred black angus-- which virtually guarantees that any calves will be more than 50% black, therefore qualifying all calves, male or female, to be CAB "beef" cattle. feed 'em grain and hormones, butcher 'em young, as soon as they get to marketable weight, and marketing takes care of the rest: the american consumer believes s/he is getting a quality beef product, when in fact it's 1/2 holstein. voila!

                              1. re: soupkitten

                                They have to be 100% angus breed.

                                1. re: aziline

                                  No, they just have to be mostly black, minimal hump, no dairy influence to make the first CAB cut. After the hide comes off, if they meet the meat quality requirements, they're designated CAB. The CAB Natural line is from cattle source verified to be sired by a registered Angus bull. But regular CAB doesn't require proof of Angus blood.


                                  1. re: FEF

                                    My mistake on that. They do only have to be 50% Angus. But if the carcass has certain non-Angus charateristics (copied from site) "e.g.; dairy conformation, Brahman humps" then they are rejected. The likely hood of a half Angus and half Dairy not showing any Dairy traits is very unlikely.

                              2. re: almansa

                                Their web site does indicate they offer a steroid and hormone free product. I've never found any reason to question them any more than any other commercial beef because I think it's a better product than run of the mill CAFO beef. In no way does it compare to many of the higher end beef products (IMO) available but the price here seems to fall in line with that as well.
                                As far as genotype Vs phenotype again the consumer needs to understand what they are buying. That's true no matter what you buy including all other beef brands. CAB is still 51% Angus Vs cattle of 100% unknown breed to the consumer. Period. Their program guide lines exclude cattle that display select dairy or brahman traits. Are those guide lines not set at least in part by the USDA?
                                While what SK has posted sounds "evil" most cattle breeding programs include selection and cross breeding. That same process is occurring with many other brands of beef that cross breed with angus. brama, hereford etc.
                                It's not like cross breeding for profit is a recent development.



                                1. re: Fritter

                                  I have a friend who's a butcher at one of the premier butchers in TO. I asked him one time if Angus was worth the extra money. He laughed and said "No".

                                  If the butchers won't pay extra for it, why would you??


                                  1. re: Fritter

                                    Yes CAB has created a "Natural" line. It's from cattle that have never had antibiotics or homones.

                                    The CAB specs exclude cattle with dairy influence, so the holstein tale told above is just wrong....on many fronts.

                                    There are many beef programs around. But the USDA certified ones like CAB have been approved by the USDA. In fact, the first CAB product rolled out a day later than planned because at the last minute the Sec of Ag decided the whole thing was a fraud on the public. Mick Colvin, the "father" of CAB, flew to Washington, DC and had a face to face talk with him to explain that the consumer is actually getting more for their money with the specifications that have been set and he allowed the product to be sold. Guidelines have changed a little in the 30 years that CAB has been available.

                                    1. re: FEF

                                      "the consumer is actually getting more for their money"

                                      That is simply a blanket statement that is as often as not, untrue.


                                      1. re: Davwud

                                        But if you get it here at Costco it all comes from high river and you drive by they are all Black Angus

                              3. Love this thread. I've been saying for years that Angus beef is just a scam.

                                I'm sure a lot of these FF joints pushing Angus burgers are using choice and charging premium dollars.


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Davwud

                                  Angus is not a "grade" of meat. Angus of any brand is available in all of the same USDA grades as other beef including choice or prime.
                                  Quite obviously a lot of Butchers carry Angus products. If they didn't there wouldn't be much to talk about.
                                  CAB runs about a buck a pound more here but the butchers that carry it cut and handle the meat so much better than some of the other stores it's well worth the premium to me. If you buy meat based on grade or brand alone then your probably wasting money. You might want to take a look at the recent review I started on Costco Prime.
                                  Just because meat is graded higher it doesn't automatically mean it's worth the premium. The same goes for CAB or any other brand.
                                  Maybe we should consider Niman Ranch beef. They use cross-breed angus as well.


                                2. It's just a consumer product brand, that has been brilliantly marketed to great success. It's not a ploy, it's not a scam, it's just a brand marketing campaign. The proof of the success of the campaign is that there are people who believe it signifies premium or better tasting beef than non-branded beef, whether true or not. That's marketing - creating the perception of value and/or quality. No different than branding any other consumer product.

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: janniecooks

                                    It's not a consumer product brand, it's a type of cattle. A breed. That's it. Anyone who says it's "better" than any other breed, is misinformed.

                                    1. re: Phurstluv

                                      Angus, Black Angus, Aberdeen Angus or whatever may be breeds of cattle, but Certified Angus Beef® is most definitely a brand.

                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                        Okay, I get that. But the brand is based on the breed, right? Are you saying any one of those Angus breeds is better than the other, as in the grade of beef they produce? That 's what I'm saying, it's a breed, not a better "brand" as in grade, of beef.

                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                          It seems to me we are getting into the extremely fine points of what constitutes a "brand" here. CAB is a registered trademark controlled by the Angus Assoc. or whatever it's called. But what they are saying is that it is a certification program, and that any beef so labeled can be counted on to meet certain criteria. I don't think this indicates they would claim their beef is "better" than another hunk of beef that meets those same criteria. As such it may be different from other branded products, such as Perdue chicken, where the Perdue company claims their chicken is better than that of the next guy. Of course, either way, it's true that it's all hype.

                                          There is one way in which I think CAB actually is of value to the meat shopper. To be choice CAB, it must be from the higher levels of the USDA choice range. That does give the shopper information that he wouldn't get otherwise, which does suggest there is at least some element that is more than just hype.

                                          1. re: johnb

                                            Good point, and I think I agree.

                                            1. re: johnb

                                              My opinion taste blind any day of the week the 1886 brand of choice beef at Costco to CAB and 90% of the time the Costco will win.....I have done it 26 times with a 90.17% success rate.

                                        2. re: Phurstluv

                                          But the marketers have transformed and co-opted the name for cattle breed into a brand name for a consumer product (beef). And I don't disagree that anyone who says it's "better" than any other breed is misinformed. My point was merely that angus beef has been transformed into a consumer brand with brilliant marketing. Name any other branded beef sold in grocery stores.

                                          1. re: janniecooks

                                            "Name any other branded beef sold in grocery stores"

                                            Sterling Silver
                                            Niman Ranch
                                            Coleman Natural
                                            Dakota Farms
                                            Premium Angus
                                            Certified Wagyu
                                            Valley Pride Angus

                                            Just to name a few not that I dissagree with your point about CAB being a good marketing program. However it is also a good product as are several of the others listed. The real benefit (IMO) is that most of these brands set higher standards than the USDA.

                                            1. re: Fritter

                                              I never said it was a "good" marketing program, I said it was successful because it was brilliant marketing.

                                              You got me on a few. I'm not familiar with Sterling Silver, Coleman Natural, Dakota Farms or Valley Pride Angus, but a google search indicates they are producer brand names not cattle breeds like angus is. Piedmontese is a breed, but not a brand name. Certified angus beef is indeed a brand marketing program created to stimulate demand for angus beef. It is a successful marketing program (not the same as "good" which I never said). And none of the "certified" brands can become certified without the approval and cooperation of the USDA.

                                              1. re: janniecooks

                                                CAB is successful. I equate that with "good". If the majority did not agree it would not be successful. However the use of the word "good" Vs "sucessfull" was inadvertant on my part and in essence I was agreeing with you.
                                                It shouldn't be a surprise to any one that all brands (not just certified brands) in the US operate under USDA guidelines. However not all brands exceed those guidelines as some of the certified brands do. IMO that's a good thang.
                                                As far as brands go every brand I have listed in this thread is registered with the USDA. That includes Piedmontese which is a well recognized brand name owned by the NAPA in the very same way CAB is owned by the AAA.

                                                I believe you said;
                                                "Name *ANY* other branded beef sold in grocery stores".
                                                You did not specify you wanted those brands to be to be breeds as well.
                                                How about Certified Hereford?
                                                Dakota Farms Black Angus?
                                                Premium Black Angus?
                                                Valley Pride Angus?
                                                Certified Stock Angus?

                                                The point simply being that CAB is not alone in this type of marketing.

                                              2. re: Fritter

                                                I have been reading this thread for awhile now.

                                                Name any FF resturaunt that is touting any of the "branded beef" that you have mentioned.

                                                CAB is a brilliant marketing (most good marketing campaigns, come from the merits of their products).

                                                1. re: Poppie

                                                  Just off the top of my head, Chipotle uses Niman Ranch, Burgerville uses Coleman Natural, and Jody Maroni's sells "Kobe" hot dogs. I'm sure there are others.

                                              3. re: janniecooks

                                                I just don't see it as a big deal one way or the other. Many if not most non-processed or minimally processed foods we buy in the grocery are branded. What about milk and butter--it's nearly always under a brand name. Is Land o Lakes really better? Perdue or Tyson or many other "brands" of chicken. Lettuce. Carrots. Strawberries. Canned vegetables. The list is endless. Branding is as old as the hills. Is it hype? Call it what you want.

                                                1. re: janniecooks

                                                  Sterling Silver, Certified Hereford Beef, Creekstone Farms.....

                                                  But I cheated:


                                            2. Cool thread, thanks to chinowayne and almansa.

                                              1. Certain breeds are known for their marbling ability. It is my understanting that Angus is a breed which rarely produces anything other than USDA Choice graded beef, no matter how it is fed. It would therefore be considered a premium beef, in that almost all of it is in the top 2 grades (although, as I said, almost all of it is in the lower of the top 2 grades).

                                                1. I tried one of McDonald's new "Angus" burgers recently. Oh well, back to the drawing board!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: jimingso

                                                    Maybe, you got a hold of one of the 51% Angus and 49% Moo) cows.

                                                  2. One of the local chains here sells what they call Angus Pride. While I've had better steaks, I've never had one of these that was bad. My question would be what does the top 20% mean. Check out this link, and let me know what you think. Oh, and has anyone else had this? It's really pretty damn good for a supermarket.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Bobfrmia

                                                      It's a brand name. Probably a decent steak with a premium attached to it.

                                                      We have a local chain advertising "Certified Angus" beef. "Even AAA isn't good enough for us." It's pretty misleading.


                                                    2. I may be misunderstanding the posts here, but my understanding of CAB is that from the association's guidelines for "qualifying" beef as CAB, they have to meet specific measurable requirements - in other words, while CAB can be viewed as a "brand name," the name refers to something in addition to a moniker.

                                                      I believe the beef has to go through 8 additional requirements beyond USDA guidelines for "passing." Marbling has to be of a particular kind, aging has to be of a certain duration, cattle must be killed before a certain age, etc.

                                                      I saw a chart of CAB, and while choice grade beef consisted of a large range of marbling, CAB consisted of a combination of choice and prime and had a more limited range of marbling resulting in a more tender and higher quality product more consistently.

                                                      Whereas a USDA choice graded beef might be tough in 1 out of 15 cases, CAB was measured to be tough in 1 out of 50 cases.

                                                      While I agree with the ideas expressed regarind the difference between dry and wet aging of beef and the different grading of beef, I would think that at some point the consumer would note no difference between CAB and USDA choice grade beef and choose the less expensive beef.

                                                      The fact that only 8 percent of all angus beef meet the requirements according to the angus beef association's guidelines to become labeled as CAB I don't think is some arbitrary "marketing" illusion of quality. It would seem that a distinction is being made based on strict measurable guidelines of the different kind of beef quality.

                                                      (I am just as happy eating a good tuna fish or high quality turkey salad sandwich.)

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: FelafelBoy

                                                        First of all.... IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GRADE OR PREDICT A GRADE OF BEEF ON THE HOOF....
                                                        Second: When you here Angus i want you to think >>> 100% Columbian ... we all thought thas was the best coffee in the world until we founf Kona, Blue Mountain, Kenya AA, Etc.
                                                        Third ... Angus is a breed of cattle referred to as the English Breeds whic hwere shorter, more compact, slower growing and better eating than either the African breeds (brahma) and the Swiss breeds (Dairy) .. So it takes longer to grow and longer to develop marbling..
                                                        Fourth ... Prime is a grade not a standard.. By USDA law it represents the top 1/2 of 1% of beef slaugthered in the USA. So in bad "corn" years it can be a pretty lean brand and in good (aka cheap corn) years it can be great.
                                                        Fifth ... CAB starting labeling Canadian Beef as Angus and Brangus as Angus .. All with the the intent of making the pennies per pound that it needs to survive... Is it really a great brand if you can get it at a national drive thru..
                                                        Sixth .. Dry aging is for professionals only and should not be attempted by anyone at home as it has some tremendous ramifications if you do not control the temerature, moisture and microbe content.

                                                        1. re: Lemoyne

                                                          In general I agree with you, but I know plenty of friends who dry age at home with excellent results.

                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                            I have dry aged at home with good results. I have also had so-so results (ie it didn't do much one way or the other), but never anything that was even remotely "tremendously ramificated" , whatever that might be. I'd be interested to hear from Lemoyne what he sees as the potential "tremendous ramifications."

                                                          2. re: Lemoyne

                                                            "First of all.... IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GRADE OR PREDICT A GRADE OF BEEF ON THE HOOF...."

                                                            This is a true statement, regardless of brand. However, you can easily choose the ones that will not (FF bound).

                                                            "Second: When you here Angus i want you to think >>> 100% Columbian ... we all thought thas was the best coffee in the world until we founf Kona, Blue Mountain, Kenya AA, Etc."

                                                            If my memory serves, Blue Mountain and 100% Columbian arrived around the same time It's kinda like Long's Drugs and Walgreens. Marketing ruled the day.

                                                            As an aside, it is clearly known (now) that the best coffee comes from Seatle, WA (what were you thinking?).

                                                            "Third ... Angus is a breed of cattle referred to as the English Breeds whic hwere shorter, more compact, slower growing and better eating than either the African breeds (brahma) and the Swiss breeds (Dairy) .. So it takes longer to grow and longer to develop marbling.. "

                                                            I really do not know how to respond to this (I would be guessing), but If I were it would be to compare the cattle of the world (that I have seen). I my experience, the cattle of the world are not nearly as pampered as the home grown types. When I see a skinny cow in the US, I think disease, when I see a skinny cow in Central America, I see dinner for 40. I have been to Europe, but I have never seen their cows (they must have known that I was coming). And the Swiss are known for their Chocolate, not steaks.

                                                            "Fourth ... Prime is a grade not a standard.. By USDA law it represents the top 1/2 of 1% of beef slaugthered in the USA. So in bad "corn" years it can be a pretty lean brand and in good (aka cheap corn) years it can be great."

                                                            Let me do the math for you: 1/2 of 1% (1% of 100% = .01, so 1/2 of 1% of 100% = .005).

                                                            Now you are free to guess how many pounds of beef are consumed each year in the US.

                                                            Now take your guess, and multiply it by ".005", and you get the number of pounds per year that are prime choice (according to the USDA).

                                                            Now for the scary choice of the equation:

                                                            Take your guess, multiply it by .995 times your previous guess, and you receive the number of pounds per year that are sub-prime (USDA), yet still get consumed. If you think that you can get this at your local steakhouse, you would be wrong. The 1/2 of 1% of prime, is consumed (elsewhere, fine dining...).

                                                            "Fifth ... CAB starting labeling Canadian Beef as Angus and Brangus as Angus .. All with the the intent of making the pennies per pound that it needs to survive... Is it really a great brand if you can get it at a national drive thru.."

                                                            FF only.

                                                            "Sixth .. Dry aging is for professionals only and should not be attempted by anyone at home as it has some tremendous ramifications if you do not control the temerature, moisture and microbe content."

                                                            I agree completely.

                                                            1. re: Poppie

                                                              Intersting duscussion. Seems it is both a standard and a marketing program based on that standard. What does FF stand for?


                                                              1. re: Poppie

                                                                >>"If you think that you can get this at your local steakhouse, you would be wrong. The 1/2 of 1% of prime, is consumed (elsewhere, fine dining...)."<<

                                                                So how do you explain all that meat stamped "USDA Prime" in the kitchen of my local steakhouse? For that matter, how do you explain the primals with prominent "USDA Prime" stamps at Costco?

                                                                >>"Dry aging is for professionals only and should not be attempted by anyone at home."<<

                                                                Nonsense. I wouldn't want to try a 45-day dry age in my fridge, but I've successfully gone a couple of weeks with great results.

                                                              2. re: Lemoyne

                                                                "Dry aging is for professionals only"???
                                                                If you have a clean and properly working fridge you can dry age...

                                                              3. re: FelafelBoy

                                                                Well who developed those charts??????? CAB ? They also only grade carcasses not boxes. In fact if anything the quality has gone down in the past few years and the guidelines are not really that strict. By Herford beef for the best taste in my opinion.

                                                              4. Here is the definition from the government of the province of Alberta...Canada's largest beef producing province.

                                                                Certified Canadian Angus/Canadian Angus Beef program

                                                                Canadian Angus Beef has been available in a limited number of restaurants since 1993, and the market is expanding as consumers become aware of the quality of the product. Support for this program has been directed to the Certified Canadian Angus program and a new certification process. Cargill at High River is the exclusive processor. The objective in sponsoring the program is to increase demand for Angus and Angus-cross animals by providing consumers a consistent, quality meat product that is identified as being from black and red angus. To qualify for Certified Canadian Angus, the meat must be identified by Cargill, in accordance with a participant license, as coming from an Angus or Angus-cross animal through phenotypic inspection or with the breed association's Angus, lime green tag. All carcasses must be inspected and graded by a federal meat inspector. They must also have a marbling score of Canada Prime (AAAA) or AAA. Qualifying meat is aged a minimum of 14 to 21 days before retail and must be identified by the federal inspector with a distinct meat stamp.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: thejorge

                                                                  Canidian beef I am just not into it has a strange flavor to it. Don't know why but have done it blind with other steaks several times and I can pick it out everytime.

                                                                2. At the store today I noticed that Ball Park has come out with Angus Beef Franks. I didn't notice the price, but I'm sure they're more expensive than their standard hotdogs. I didn't feel compelled to try them.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: gmm

                                                                    I was part of a focus group last year. The group was part of research for Ball Park prior to their introducing the Angus Frank. Members of the group were all fans of Boars Head, Hebrew National, and Sabrett, defined by the manufacturer as "premium" hot dogs. Ball Park was deliberately trying to create a product to compete with them. We were shown different packaging and different advertising strategies all attempting to create a premium image. This group's bottom line was that it still had the Ball Park name on it and Ball Park simply does not signify quality

                                                                    A few weeks ago the Spouse grabbed a package of the Ball Park Angus dogs to bring to a pot luck. The appeal was their sale price. One bite and I told him never to buy those things again. You can dress a bag lady in a ball gown but she still ain't no debutante.

                                                                    Bottom line - it's all about the marketing.

                                                                  2. Why don't all you food gurus just start back at the beginning? anyone could find a local producer that they can trust to raise the kind of beef, (or pork,chicken,turkey etc.) that would satisfy the most discriminating 'hound. that stuff is out there, from one end of the country to the other. go find the real thing (it's not under your desk).mbffx

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: mbffx

                                                                      Hey we are just working the foodie angle of the hounders out here. Chill..... it's our desk and our time.

                                                                    2. Hey,
                                                                      I'm not very knowledgeable on this subject, especially since I'm just coming off a ten-year vegetarian stint, but I grew up on a moderately-small family beef cattle farm. I'm in my early 40s. When I was a kid we always had Simmental and Hereford cows, which , for the most part, were red with white faces (with a few black ones in the mix). I grew up, went away to school, moved away, etc., but my mom and brother are still on the farm. Sometime in the last 10-15 years they transitioned over to Angus, and now those familiar fields are dotted with black cows (which still looks a bit wrong to me - like rearranging the furniture!). When I brought it up, my mom just kind of shrugged and said everyone was always talking about Angus now and paying more for it even though there was no difference that she had ever detected.

                                                                      1. Hi CW,
                                                                        Ok here is some fact. We process Cattle. We process Angus Cattle. How do we know they are truly Angus? Producers that have Angus Cattle (defined as having at least 50% genetics) get ear tags for their Angus Cattle from the Canadian Angus Association. To get the lime-green ear tags with an 'A' on the back, the Cattle have to been sired by a Registered Angus Bull or Registered Angus Cow or both.

                                                                        Yes, there are some companies that call their beef certified, but if you call the Beef Grading Agency and ASK them what their protocol is, you will find out the truth. For example, there is a well known outfit that has their own grade (like we do), that is 'certified' but their protocol says '51% black hide'.

                                                                        Well there are lots of Simmental Cattle that will have 51% black hide.

                                                                        Our protocol says '85%' black hide or Lime-Green Ear Tags with A'. And so far all we are producing is beef that is from Cattle with the Lime-Green Ear Tags with the 'A'. The 'A' stands for Angus. You can check and see.

                                                                        There is also the problem that many producers don't get the 'A' tag for whatever reason, but slowly they are changing their ways.

                                                                        Now you must not assume that everyone is a thief. They are not. You must also understand that just because a Cattle is an Angus doesn't guarantee its the finest meat. It's very consistent but the producer has to know what to feed that fine animal.

                                                                        If you are looking for ultra marbling, go get some Kobe (Wagyu) beef. We are thinking of trying to kill some but right now, no.

                                                                        Hope this helps you out.

                                                                        1. Personally I've always thought it was just a ploy to get two bucks more a pound out the same steak.I stopped buying any meat at the super market chains ten years ago as I found the local butcher shop to have a more consistent product not to mention someone you can actually look in the eye and talk to while spending fourteen bucks a pound on a ribeye .Certified Angus Beef (CAB) is a specification-based, branded-beef program which was founded in 1978 by Angus cattle producers to increase demand for their breed of cattle, by promoting the impression that Angus cattle have consistent, high-quality beef with superior taste. The brand is owned by the American Angus Association and its 35,000 rancher members. The terms Angus Beef or Black Angus Beef are loosely and commonly misused and/or confused with CAB; this is especially common in the foodservice industry. The brand or name Certified Angus Beef cannot be legally used by an establishment that is not licensed to do so.
                                                                          Today, the brand sells over 1.7 million pounds of product daily through foodservice and grocery stores. It is the largest, most successful brand of beef in the world and a symbol of excellence to consumers at more than 13,500 restaurants and retailers in 66 countries.
                                                                          www.angus.org Check them out.

                                                                          1. Certified Angus Beef well have you heard of Waygu well at least its in that class here in Alberta and the marbling is amazing like on that 9 points scale the stuff I buy from Costco is at a 6 it had better marbling than the prime Strips. I wouldn't say its a marketing ploy however got my whole strip at Costco for 11.00 a kilo I also managed to find a prime rib waygu there No BS they both are to die for and the both melt in your mouth like butter. At the flames game one of the guys I told him about it and as I told him when you see it you buy it.

                                                                            1. I think I saw that Luger is partial to the Black Angus cow (and one other). I guess they are buying into the marketing.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                I'm not sure what you are suggesting.

                                                                              2. All the various "Angus" claims have USDA programs to back them up. Certified Angus Beef is the first such program established over 40 years ago. At that time most cattle were not black. Since the CAB program produced better beef and brought a premium many cattlemen started using Angus bulls and other breeds started turning black. Along with the black hide the tenderness and marbling genetics of the Angus were added to other breeds improving them.

                                                                                The CAB designation is made by the USDA grader after the quality grade of choice is achieved. If the carcass is from a young animal with an "A" stamped carcass (meaning a black hide was removed or Angus genetics were verified through the breed program) the grader will then evaluate for CAB. The marbling amount must be in the upper 2/3 of Choice and be fine flecks rather than coarse deposits of fat. This will be more tender and flavorful than your average Choice beef. Choice beef is described as having a small, modest or moderate amount of marbling. Over half of Choice carcasses fall in the small category and are not good enough for CAB.

                                                                                Any hamburger described as "Angus" will come from the trimmings of a carcass that had the "A" stamp. Since only young animals can be evaluated for the CAB program that stamp is only used when groups of young animals are being processed. As a result Angus hamburger will not be from older animals. Most hamburger comes from older cows, with tough meat, who don't have much marbling. Back fat is added to this dry meat to bring the lean percent down. Unlike marbling, back fat does not melt during cooking and add flavor and tenderness to the meat.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: DianaB628

                                                                                  Please explain something. You say that CAB must come from the upper two thirds of Choice. But then you say that over half of choice cannot be CAB. That means that between a third and a half of CAB cannot be CAB. Sounds like the typical "I read it on the internet so it must be true" information. In other words, the "facts" don't stand up to scrutiny.

                                                                                  I have never had a piece of Angus that tastes better than regular Choice, hence I rarely buy it. Only if it's essentially the same price as Choice, and the particular piece looks better than the others, though looks and packages can be deceiving.

                                                                                  Do you remember a few years ago when many supermarkets were marketing Select grade to sound like it was better than Choice? (Even though it is a grade below.) The CAB marketing sounds quite similar.

                                                                                  1. re: cantkick

                                                                                    All choice isn't the same. There is grading within choice and to make it simple say there are 3 being choice 1, ch 2, ch 3. Anything 2 and up would be upper 2/3s choice.

                                                                                    If you have 100 head you might only get 40 that grade 2+ one day. Another day you might get 80.

                                                                                    2/3s has nothing to do with the total being produced.

                                                                                  2. re: DianaB628

                                                                                    That's just pure poppycock. Have you ever bought 80/20 chuck at the supermarket that didn't yield a pan full of grease? Where do you think that comes from, marbling? And CAB beef is not 15-20% fat, so fat has to be added. What you've written here is just utter nonsense.

                                                                                    Also, they're not grinding up CAB steaks to make chopped meat. They're grinding the lesser
                                                                                    cuts and trimmings from CAB carcasses. CAB ground beef is a complete gimmick.

                                                                                    You don't need a label or brand to pick out the top 2/3rds of choice. Just use your eyes. You don't need some official to tell you if a steak has marbling or not.

                                                                                    1. re: DanialT

                                                                                      I have found that Branded products like CAB, Excel Sterling Silver & National Beef's US Premium Beef are much more consistent in grading high choice. Having said that, a brand is not a guarantee and there is no substitute for using your own eyes to judge "fat color, lean color, texture & marbling."

                                                                                      "If" the CAB ground beef only comes from "CAB" carcass trimmings and lesser cuts, it may be a case of what it isn't rather than what it is. A lot of questionable coarse ground imported stuff being blended these days as well as low / ungraded US cattle and then there is the whole P/S issue. I am going on the assumption none of the latter is in CAB G/B but I have not one shred of evidence to support that assumption and truthfully I have not really looked into it.

                                                                                      I love a great med rare burger and only get my G/B from a friend who is an old school butcher (Hanging beef trimmings) or I grind my own.

                                                                                  3. "Cows" are never commercially used as 'beef' in Western butcher shops. The exception is 'veal calves' which are usually dairy cattle bulls. When a 'bovine' is born if it's a male (bull) it is castrated immediately and then it's referred to as a 'steer'. It's these 'steers' that end up hanging in butcher shops eventually to be butchered into the cuts of meat people buy in grocery stores. If it's a female it's a 'cow' which the rancher hopes one day will have more little 'bovines' hopefully the ,majority will be bull calves. 'Cows' often end up as pet food when their life is over. So in the first post of this thread let's substitute 'bovine' for 'cow.

                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                      Puffin3 adult female bovines, which are called cows, are not used in butcher shops but they are in commercial processing for grocery and restaurant. When a female bovine is born it is a heifer. After it has had a calf it is called a cow. Some heifers are fed out to be beef and some are kept back as breeding replacements. Typically the top 20% will be held for breeding. When cows are to be sent to slaughter they are first put on a high corn diet for 60 to 120 days. This will hopefully add to their marbling and turn their fat from yellow to white. If the carcass can be sold as a 'white fat" carcass the meat will be used for human consumption. Much of it goes into hamburger. Some of it goes to the lower end restaurant markets. Some of the chains that use enzymes to tenderize the meat will use the cheaper meat from white fat cows.

                                                                                      1. re: DianaB628

                                                                                        here is a pic of the tenderloin I got at Costco just before Christmas it is exactly like this photo somehow a mistake but awesome tasting

                                                                                        1. re: burge

                                                                                          I'd be shocked if this was tenderloin. Although, the question really is: how much?

                                                                                            1. re: beef man

                                                                                              Yeah, Kobe. Not sure that's what Costco is moving.

                                                                                              1. re: tommy

                                                                                                Tommy that was exactly how that Tenderloing looked exact. To a picture I have a rib at home that has that same marbling amazing

                                                                                                1. re: burge

                                                                                                  I'd like to see a picture you took. The picture you posted was the first result of a google search for "kobe tenderloin." As I said before, I doubt that what Costo is selling. If so, how much did it cost you?

                                                                                                  Can you provide a picture of this rib steak as well?

                                                                                                  1. re: tommy

                                                                                                    there it is Tommy posted it before

                                                                                          1. re: burge

                                                                                            Was it marked tenderloin or tender? There are 2 cuts from the chuck that also have tender in their name. I've noticed in stores cuts will appear to be a tenderloin at first glance but they are actually from the chuck. Tenderloins aren't known for marbling but their tenderness.

                                                                                            1. re: burge

                                                                                              That picture is Kobe beef tenderloin not prime. Prime wouldn't have that sort of marbling.

                                                                                              I mean, the title of this picture is "711491_kobebeeftenderloin-1"

                                                                                              There's also this: http://www.allenbrothers.com/allen-br... It's flipped, but it's the same picture.

                                                                                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                HFS! that price is out of c o n t r o l!


                                                                                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                    That is the real picture of Alberta Beef Tenderloin frigging amazing

                                                                                            2. I have no idea whether it is a marketing ploy or not, but Oscar Meyer Select Angus Beef Hot Dogs to me taste better than the other O.M. dogs (and many other brands as well). Perhaps it is because (they say) they contain no artificial additives. (just natural additives?)

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                                interesating thread. On our ranch we raise grass fed Red Angus. I think CAB is simply a brilliant marketing strategy. A few years ago I was looking at a package of beef burgers in Montana, Walmart as I recall, & the package was labelled as Angus burgers. When I checked for ingredients as I usually do, I noticed the fine print on the bottom of the package that stated something to the effect "Prepared with beef from cattle with Angus like characteristics". My wife & had a good chuckle ovber that one..

                                                                                              2. Reverting to the original post, there is no species of cow in history that relied on a sole diet of corn. Few, and none of the Angus cattle in the U.S. ever ate corn throughout their existence until the 20th century. Most evolved on riparian grasses, and buffalo roamed the prairie grasses that have now been subsidized and irrigated for the less efficient corn (still a grass). I eat buffalo (which are naturally raised because they won't tolerate a false diet), or naturally raised, non-corn-grass fedbeef. Praise the independent farm.

                                                                                                1. I have looked at hundreds of whole primal strips and ribs from the choice grade over the years. The non branded products, often call house brand I have looked at were National Beef, IBP, Excel & Sysco and some others that i can't remember the name of. Each of these packers sells Angus as well an non breed specific. I have yet to be able to tell the difference in flavor between the Angus and non breed specific when all other factors such as marbling & age were equal. Each of the above packers have branded products, both Angus & Non Angus which are marketed in one way or another as the top/best of the choice. My experience is that overall, these branded products such as Excel's "Sterling Silver" and National Beef's "Certified Premium Beef" rate higher in terms of marbling, size of eye and fat trim than their non branded counterparts. These branded products also command about a 10% premium price as well which would average about $10.00 more for a whole strip loin depending of the AVG $ per Lb and weight. For that kind of extra profit, I would "GUESS" that beyond the initial carcass grading, there is a system in place that pulls the best of the primal cuts off the line for their branded products. I could be wrong but they seem higher overall quality to me when looking at the whole primal cuts on the racks. .

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                    Well I know for fact that here in Alberta especially if you buy at Costco and literally the difference is substantial. and it goes beyone extra profit in my opnion. Better than prime is well i have some rib steak which is so marbled and tender that it looks like wagyu. Anything close is the speciallty meat shops that you would be paying 50.00 a kg and the taste well it unlike no other a Top sirloin is tender

                                                                                                  2. I think the entire point of your thing is that CAB is not a grade and after 99 posts of meat masturbation nothing has changed.. Angus or Certified Angus has nothing to do with the quality of meat.. It is simply a designated brand name.. It can be prime, choice, or chicken feed. Just like the term Hereford .. The only one that gets to grade it is the USDA.. point over and done.. did that take 99 posts to figure out.

                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: jamesvb

                                                                                                      There is such a variation within the grades that the grade "Choice" in and of itself is pretty much meaningless other than to say it is better than select but not as good as prime. Truth is the bottom choice is not much better eating that the top select and the bottom prime is often not much better eating that the top choice. The biggest difference between top choice (A Maturity ,Moderate marbling) and bottom prime (A Maturity, Slightly abundant marbling) is the PRICE per Lb and the thickness of the fat cap (Waste). It is for this reason most high quality restaurants and steak houses serve top choice beef.... either wet aged or dry aged or in some cases a combination of both aging methods. SOME Extremely prestigious steak houses serve the top grade prime (abundant marbling) which is absolutely delicious when aged and prepared properly. It is also outrageously expensive and the menu prices reflect that.

                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                        And that is what you get at Costco here in Calgary

                                                                                                        1. re: burge

                                                                                                          We had top choice (Excel Sterling Silver) at our local Sams Club in the Mid Atlantic region for years but they switched to National Beef's "Regular" Black Canyon Angus which is bottom choice supermarket crap.

                                                                                                          1. re: burge

                                                                                                            Our local Restaurant Depot / Jetro has a non USDA graded house brand called "Superior Angus Beef" which comes from the Nebraska Beef LTD packing house. Whole primal Cuts are not as consistently good as Excel Sterling Silver, but if you sort through 20 or so you can find a high choice 0x1 strip that is very good, its just hit or miss.

                                                                                                            1. re: burge

                                                                                                              If you buy a whole top choice strip or rib at Costco that has a nice tight cryovac, you can wet age it in the cryovac for 28 to 45 days on back of the bottom shelf of the fridge & even follow that with a week or two dry age out of the cryovac. (Spare fridge best for the dry age) Then cut into nice thick steaks, triple wrap the steaks you don't eat and freeze.

                                                                                                          2. re: jamesvb

                                                                                                            "It can be prime, choice, or chicken feed."

                                                                                                            Actually, CAB has to be Prime or Choice. So this is incorrect.

                                                                                                            And of course there are other specifications tied to the CAB brand that people tend to not know about or understand.

                                                                                                            1. re: tommy

                                                                                                              Your right Tommy, Angus is a breed of cattle and the quality runs the full spectrum from top prime all the way down to to bottom utility. Certified Angus Beef "CAB" is a brand which must be middle choice or higher. For this reason, CAB consistently eats better than the typical supermarket bottom choice. Having said that, I have yet to come across ANYONE who can tell the difference between CAB and Non Breed Specific beef all things being equal (Moderate marbling & A maturity).

                                                                                                              Its really a mute issue though, because if you can see the individual steak or view the ends of a whole primal in the cryovac, then you can grade the steak yourself and pick out nice well marbled, fine textured light cherry colored steak. Sometimes you can find a cheaper Supermarket house brand steak that grades better than the more expensive branded products. Learn what to look for & look them over!!!!!!

                                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                http://mypage.direct.ca/e/emrich/angu... here is a post Tom and still CAB is better or just as good as this but I am not paying anything more for whatever beef I buy

                                                                                                                1. re: burge

                                                                                                                  There are those that would argue that Angus Cattle as a pure breed or cross breed tend to produce higher overall quality meat. I never worked in a packing house so I can't say. One question i do have is IF they are better, is the overall quality improvement statistically relevant or does it just make for good advertising? If they are statistically far superior to other breeds, why do ranchers bother with the other breeds?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                    The buyers at Peter Luger prefer Angus to other breeds.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                        I don't know that McDonalds prefers black angus cattle. Can you point to a reference?

                                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                            I trust that Peter Luger knows what they are talking about. At the very least, it's an indication that there is a difference in breeds. They don't use their preference as advertising, so that notion is right out.

                                                                                                                2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                  "Having said that, I have yet to come across ANYONE who can tell the difference between CAB and Non Breed Specific beef all things being equal (Moderate marbling & A maturity)."

                                                                                                                  You know a lot of people who have done multiple blind taste tests?

                                                                                                                  I don't know many people who are buying whole primals. Even if I did, I wouldn't look at the end cut. I'd want to see something more in the middle, whether it's the rib or the short loin, because that's from where the steaks to my preference come.

                                                                                                                  I don't like cryovaced beef in general. I prefer hung beef.

                                                                                                                  1. re: tommy

                                                                                                                    While hardly a scientific study, I have cooked many CAB & non CAB steaks of the same quality side by side over the years and nobody has ever been able to tell the difference. I do believe there have been "official" studies done over the years but the results usually depend on who finances the study.

                                                                                                                    I agree on the Hanging beef but it is becoming harder and harder to get. Even most small butcher shops have boxed beef. As for whole cryovac primals, the size of the eye is readily determined by looking at the shape of the whole primal. Same for the fat cap. As for marbling and color of the lean, what you see on the first cut end is very consistent throughout the primal.

                                                                                                                    The nice thing about the whole primal cuts is the ability to age them to your liking and cut them to your desired thickness. I age mine in the downstairs frig for at least 28 days. Sometimes just wet age in the cryovac, sometime dry age on a rack, sometimes a combination of both.

                                                                                                                    I get about (13) 1 3/8 thick steaks out of the average size 0x1 strip loin. What we don't eat the 1st night I vacuum seal and freeze. A slow thaw in the frig and they come out as good as the day they were cut. The whole primals save me a lot of money and the custom aging makes them as good or better that most restaurant steaks at a fraction of the cost.

                                                                                                                    Don't be intimidated, whole (Boneless) primals are very easy to work with. Experimenting with the aging to your own liking is fun and a good sharp knife is all you need to cut them. I would recommend a spare frig for dry aging.

                                                                                                                3. re: tommy

                                                                                                                  CAB does select. Though I don't know any packers that bother with it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: aziline

                                                                                                                    From their website, the criteria include:

                                                                                                                    "Modest or higher marbling
                                                                                                                    Medium or fine marbling texture"

                                                                                                                    This marbling is consistent with Choice or above. I'd be curious if there's a reference to Select beef in the CAB program.

                                                                                                                    1. re: tommy

                                                                                                                      My mistake. I'm confusing it with house angus select programs.

                                                                                                                4. re: jamesvb

                                                                                                                  CAB is determined by the USDA grader and includes the actual grade. It must be at least upper 2/3 of Choice and have other "Angus" qualities. The CAB program is over 40 years old. While it is hard to tell the difference between CAB and non-CAB high Choice meat today, it hasn't always been that way. It is hard to find cattle that don't have Angus influence today. 40 years ago, if it wasn't Angus you had a poor chance of finding a favorable eating experience. Today, if the grade is equal the steak is likely to be as good as CAB. It is just a little extra insurance for your eating pleasure. The steaks that grade high enough but aren't as good, don't make the CAB program.

                                                                                                                5. I just bought a whole CAB tenderloin and remember I am buying beef with no price difference CAB is better that in clused excel Together we build vallue excell and Angus Pride as you have seen i nthe picture and that is how marbled that tenderloin was in some cases it is better than prime. Its Also Alberta Beef

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: burge

                                                                                                                    I live in the states (Mid Atlantic) and some of the most consistently delicious tender steaks I have ever eaten were Excel Beef's branded product "Sterling Silver". Its been a while but I believe they were non breed specific but I could be wrong.

                                                                                                                  2. I just read an article a couple of days ago from that Kobe beef is a marketing ploy here in the US also. Very interesting, almost like the pink slim that the government says can be called all beef.


                                                                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: AllieM

                                                                                                                      Yeah, the slime is nasty. The only thing I do with supermarket ground beef that they get in a tube from the packing houses is make things like Taco's. For med rare hamburgers, I only use fresh ground from a source I trust.

                                                                                                                      I read the same article about Kobe. Been so pleased with the top choice I age myself I never ate enough of it to really form an opinion.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                        Here is a typical Costco Calgary steak

                                                                                                                        1. re: burge

                                                                                                                          That looks great. Is that Rib steak breed specific & is it a branded product from one of the major packing houses. The reason I ask is that in the Philadelphia Area, all Costco stores sell a private label called "Kirkland" which Costco claims is top choice or higher. Most of the reviews I have read about Costco's Kirkland have been very good. I have never seen the CAB brand in our Costco.

                                                                                                                          How do you cook it....charcoal, gas or cast ?

                                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                            Well Tom it is called Alberta Beef here it is all certified in the label but time to time you get CAB or as mentioned when I bought the whole tenerloin they had angus pride excel , CAB and justlain packaging on it it says canada and together we build value I use my rotesserrie for the steak. Anyways its Alberta Beef and you only get the good stuff here. Remeber as well I do not have to pay more for anything of the brands mentioned however a sirloin tip cab is tender

                                                                                                                            1. re: burge

                                                                                                                              Our Shoprite Supermarket has generic low choice and CAB. The CAB usually looks better that the generic low choice as it should because its high choice. The Excel Sterling Silver I used to get at Sam's club was top choice, non breed specific and just as good as CAB. Our local Restaurant Depot used to also carry Excel Sterling Silver and occasionally it had the Canadian "A" rating system. I guess being a commercial supplier to restaurants & not retail they did not have to use the USDA grading. Very, Very Good Stuff. Wish they still carried it.

                                                                                                                              Have you ever tried either wet or dry aging whole primals?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                USDA inspection is mandatory for beef to be shipped across state lines while USDA grading is strictly voluntary.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                  Well for gradinI believe that it has to do with where the beef comes from Costco in other parts of Canada has usda choice stamp on it if it s from the US Yes Sterling Silver beef can be bought here at Sobeys but you see the cost is what brings it out of reach for most Ie the Tenderloin cryovac I bought was 22.99 a kg 31.99 a kg cut now when at Sobeys or Safeway coop etc at the specialty meat case they want 55 or 60 dollars a kg II I have treid dry aging and well Costco mean here is cheap compared to the Grocery store. Mind you good meat is good meat however the qualifications that go with CAB make it a step above the rest in my opinion. http://www.sterlingsilvermeats.com/Pr... its from carghill meats and yes its good

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                    And Tom if you look At CAB its the top 8%so you know it is good while sterling silver is the top 12% On the Canadian Beef grading it means you get the better meat no questions asked when you buy these brands but like I said earlier there is no cost difference for me I buy CAB no questions asked AAA is strict grading here and to have the best of the best is good and I asked the butcher at Costco how is prime here chosen when it is offered He basically said when we trim the meat some has alot more marbling that others. I know with a cab sirloin tip is tender but remember my CAB is from Alberta Beef the best in the World Arguably and when you eat it it is like you are biting into an apple its that juicy

                                                                                                                                    1. re: burge

                                                                                                                                      You guys are real lucky Burge. In the US, CAB stands for Certified Angus Beef (USDA Schedule # g-1) and it is in the top 14% (modest marbling or better). From what I have read, in Canada, CAB stands for Canadian Angus Beef and if its in the top 8% it is closer to (Moderate Marbling or better). If thats the case, your CAB is considerably better.

                                                                                                                                      Also, at the retail level in the US, CAB commands about a 20% premium price.

                                                                                                                                      Unfortunately, most of our "high" prime follows the money to New York City or Japan. From what I have read, it is also making its way to certain Middle East Countries as well (Oil Money).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                        Or Stays in oil town we want the best

                                                                                                                                        1. re: burge

                                                                                                                                          Your cold air is not staying in Oil town......Its going to be dropping down our way this weekend. Just took out a few strip steaks that were dry aged on the bone for 28 days. Doing them over oak lump charcoal in the Big Green Egg Sunday along with a few cold water lobster tails.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: burge

                                                                                                                                        ALBERTA BEEF: I had an uncle who spent several years in the 1960's at Fort McMurray as the project manager for J.Howard Pew CEO of Sunoco developing the oil sands. He said that place was one of the coldest most inhospitable places on earth. Fences to keep the bears out, propane torches to melt the ice in the door jams of the metal mobile homes every morning to get the door open, (No BOOZE, something with the locals and the law), and a pilots license and a small plane to get to the nearest civilization. How do they raise cattle in a place like that?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                          Southern Alberta has a fair amount of good rangeland and farmland. Most of this land is over 500 miles south of Fort McMurray.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                            we have some cold weather here but you are talking the North not southerna Alberta Our Beef is the best

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                              also Tom our Beef is no hormones its pure beef

                                                                                                                                              1. re: burge

                                                                                                                                                Growing up all our beef was "hanging" high choice / low prime. Then there was a slow switch to boxed beef. Then to reduce cholesterol and increase profits for ranchers they leaned out our beef. CAB was one of the 1st branded products to go against this lean movement and once again bring good beef to the consumer.

                                                                                                                                                Now the movement is grass finished beef which is spectacular when everything is perfect but 75% of the time it is not and its chewy & liver tasting.

                                                                                                                                                Do yourself a favor and keep the do gooders away from your meat.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: burge

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah Burge, we are the master of hormones in the US. In an effort to increase the amount of valuable white meat in our chickens they have been so pumped full of them the birds chest is so big the bird looks hideous and most people wouldn't think it was a chicken.

                                                                                                                                                  Young girls are becoming young ladies at an alarmingly early age which many people blame on the female hormone enhanced food products.

                                                                                                                                                  With the popularity of Buffalo Wings here the price per LB for wings actually passed the white meat. I am waiting to see chickens with 4 or more wings. Make no mistake about it, if the demand continues to increase it will happen.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                    It is illegal to use growth hormones in chicken in the US. The chickens are bred to have huge breasts naturally.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: burge

                                                                                                                                                    I love Alberta beef, but hormones are definitely used to promote growth. Besides, no meat is ever "hormone free", because hormones are also naturally occurring in animals, as well as plants.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: earthygoat

                                                                                                                                                      http://www.royalbeef.ca/?page_id=81 http://www.cdnangus.ca/commercial/Ang... http://www.albertabeef.ca/
                                                                                                                                                      I really like earthy have access to the best beef in the world. Sorry Tom but we have the real thing here and it is super strict

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: burge

                                                                                                                                                        My point being that unless you know your exact source for angus or any other beef in Alberta, farmers/ranchers are legally allowed to use hormones to promote growth. Of course, there will be farmers who don't and will advertise as such, and it's great to seek them out. However, one just can't assume there are no additional hormones added just because it is Alberta beef.

                                                                                                                                  2. Enough said the picture speaks for itself from Costco South Calgary bought a whole tederloing same marbling

                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                        thats a ribeye this is a tenderloin

                                                                                                                                      2. re: burge

                                                                                                                                        Thats some good eats at your place this weekend. Approximately what would that cost p/lb in us dollars up there.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                          well Tom 38.99 kg I think that is what it was for prime and to four that is tenderloin I shoed you not a ribeye

                                                                                                                                          1. re: burge

                                                                                                                                            This was a whole 0x1 strip loin with a 28 day wet age. ( Restaurant Depots House brand "Superior Angus Beef" ) It is not USDA graded but they advertise it as top choice or higher. It is not as good as the beef I get from a butcher friend but he was down with surgery. The price was about $6.50 p/Lb or about $14.00 p/Kg.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                              At Costco strips go for 11.99 a kg during the off season and 17.99 a kg during bbq season looks nice Prime is 21.99 -23.99 a kg remember though Calgary is an expensive market at the specialty shops steak goes for 40 a kg

                                                                                                                                      3. Grew up in S. Alberta. We had our own grass fed beef 'finished' with grain. When the weather was cold enough to hang a carcass it would hang for at least three weeks. Hide on. Even then quarters were then 'air dried' hide off until they were used. That could be a couple of months. Same with any game we shot. We had black Angus mostly. Once in a while we'd slaughter any two month old jersey or angus bull calfs in the spring and age them in a meat locker. That was tasty beef. Sort of like young caribou. Dry aging IMO gives a better result with any cut of beef/game.