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About Beef[]


"Beef" is meat from full-grown cattle about 2 years old. A live steer weighs about 1,000 pounds and yields about 450 pounds of edible meat. There are at least 50 breeds of beef cattle, but fewer than 10 make up most cattle produced. Some major breeds are Angus, Hereford, Charolais, and Brahman.

"Baby beef" and "calf" are 2 interchangeable terms used to describe young cattle weighing about 700 pounds that have been raised mainly on milk and grass. The meat cuts from baby beef are smaller; the meat is light red and contains less fat than beef. The fat may have a yellow tint due to the vitamin A in grass.

"Veal" is meat from a calf which weighs about 150 pounds. Those that are mainly milk-fed usually are less than 3 months old. The difference between "veal" and "calf" is based on the color of their meat, which is determined almost entirely by diet. Veal is pale pink and contains more cholesterol than beef.


Beef is one of the most common meats consumed all around the world. Beef is a tasty meat obtained from cows and it is included in most European, American and Middle Eastern dishes. One of the most commonly eaten dishes, the hamburger, is generally made of Beef. Although it is one of the most common meat types served in North America and Europe, there are some religions which forbid the consumption of this type of meat such as Hinduism where cows are considered worthy of veneration. In Judaism the consumption of beef is allowed only if the bovine is butchered and prepared according to the religions rules and under the control of a rabbi. There are numerous methods for preparing beef meat; beef can be cut into steaks, short ribs, pot roasts or it can be ground and used for making hamburgers. Beside the meat there are many other parts of the bovine which are also very much cooked such as the tongue which is used for preparing sandwiches in Western cuisine, the stomach as well as the heart, the brain, the pancreas, the kidneys and the testicles.

History of Beef[]

The domestication of cattle for food dates to about 6500 B.C. in the Middle East. Cattle were not native to America, but brought to the New World on ships by European colonists. Americans weren't big eaters of fresh beef until about 1870, due to the enormous growth of the cattle industry in the West. The introduction of cattle cars and refrigerated cars on the railroad facilitated distribution of the beef.

How Cattle Are Raised[]


All cattle start out eating grass; three-fourths of them are "finished" (grown to maturity) in feedlots where they are fed specially formulated feed based on corn or other grains.

Use of Hormones and Antibiotics[]

Antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat disease in cattle. A "withdrawal" period is required from the time antibiotics are administered until it is legal to slaughter the animal. This is so residues can exit the animal's system. FSIS randomly samples cattle at slaughter and tests for residues. Data from this Monitoring Plan have shown a very low percentage of residue violations. Not all antibiotics are approved for use in all classes of cattle. However, if there is a demonstrated therapeutic need, a veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic that is approved in other classes for an animal in a non-approved class. In this case, no detectable residues of this drug may be present in the edible tissues of the animal at slaughter.

Hormones may be used to promote efficient growth. Estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone (three natural hormones), and zeranol and trenbolone acetate (two synthetic hormones) may be used as an implant on the animal's ear. The hormone is time released, and is effective for 90 to 120 days. In addition, melengesterol acetate, which can be used to suppress estrus, or improve weight gain and feed efficiency, is approved for use as a feed additive. Not all combinations of hormones are approved for use in all classes of cattle. Hormones are approved for specific classes of animals only, and cannot be used in non-approved classes.

Buying Beef[]

There are numerous farms around the world where cows are raised for the sale of beef, which is available in supermarkets around the world. When buying beef it is important to watch out for the availability term, but of course one can notice whether the meat is fresh after the color and the texture of the meat. Generally the tastiest and most available beef meat is the young bovine meat which has a red color and it is firm and fine textured. Make sure that beef is among the last items selected when shopping, so that it is without refrigeration for as short of time as possible. Beef can be found fresh, frozen, chilled or dried. Dry Aged Beef can be found in restaurants, groceries and gourmet steak companies and is generally tenderer and the taste is more concentrated. Grass-fed beef can be found in late spring or in early summer. in order to avoid buying infected beef one should buy meat that has been inspected by the department of agriculture. Whether the beef is dry-aged, vacuum-packed or frozen one has to be careful when choosing the meat. When shopping for beef for a particular recipe. it is best to know which cut of beef to use. Here are some basic cuts found in most markets and butcher shops

Marbling is white flecks of fat within the meat muscle. The greater amount of marbling in beef, the higher the grade because marbling makes beef more tender, flavorful, and juicy.

Beef is aged to develop additional tenderness and flavor. It is done commercially under controlled temperatures and humidity. Since aging can take anywhere from 10 days to 6 weeks, USDA does not recommend aging beef in a home refrigerator.

Basic beef cuts[]

American beef cuts

British beef cuts

Dutch beef cuts

There are four basic major (primal) cuts into which beef is separated: chuck, loin, rib, and round. It is recommended that packages of fresh beef purchased in the supermarket be labeled with the primal cut as well as the product, such as "chuck roast" or "round steak." This helps consumers know what type of heat is best for cooking the product. Generally, chuck and round are less tender and require moist heat such as braising; loin and rib can be cooked by dry heat methods such as broiling or grilling.

Unfortunately, names for various cuts can vary regionally in stores, causing confusion over the choice of cooking method. For example, a boneless top loin steak is variously called: strip steak, Kansas City Steak, N.Y. strip steak, hotel cut strip steak, ambassador steak, or club sirloin steak.

Preparing Beef[]

Due to the fact that beef is one of the most commonly eaten meats there are numerous modalities of preparing beef. Before cooking one should choose the beef according the following hints:

  • the meat has to be bright, clear color and a fresh look;
  • the meat used for grilling, pan-frying or roasting has to be aged in order to conserve its tenderness and flavor.
  • it is also very important to know how to cut beef meat in order to avoid shrinking and drying out during the cooking.

There are numerous preparation methods of the beef including braising, broiling, grilling, pan- boiling, roasting, stewing and stirring. Beef that has been frozen shouldn't be defrosted at room temperature because harmful bacteria may grow rapidly under such conditions. The best method for thawing beef or any other type of meat is to place it in the refrigerator where it will defrost slowly and safely. A temperature range of 33°F and 40°F is ideal. A large cut of beef may need 24 to 48 hours to defrost in the refrigerator. the meat should be placed on a plate or dish in order to catch any juices that may drip from the thawing meat and stored on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator.

Marinating Beef[]

Marinate beef in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Boil used marinade before brushing on cooked beef. Discard any uncooked leftover marinade.

Cooking Beef[]


One of the most important things before cooking beef is to bring it to the room temperature, preferable without using the microwave. One of the most popular methods of cooking beef is to grill it. the most common grilled dishes prepared with beef are hamburger patties, top loin steak and rib eye steak. The cooking time for beef varies from ten minutes for the grilled beef skirt to four and a half hours for the chuck roasted beef. Beef is known to be a red meat because the animal's muscles need so much oxygen as they work keeping the cow upright and moving it around. Due to the fact that beefs in most made of muscles the cooking method has to be chosen properly in order to maintain the meat qualities. Like other red colored meat types, beef is actually very easy to cook because it is comprised mainly of tissue, fat and bone. The cooking methods depend actually on the quantity of tissues, fats and bones. the parts of the beef which consist mainly of muscles are usually grilled or braised while those which consist more of bones and fats are used for stews, roasting or pan-boiling.

Microwaving Beef[]

Microwave Directions:

  • When microwaving unequal size pieces of beef, arrange in dish or on rack so thick parts are toward the outside of dish and thin parts are in the center; cook on medium-high or medium power.
  • Place a roast in an oven cooking bag or in a covered pot.
  • Refer to the manufacturer's directions that accompany the microwave oven for suggested cooking times.
  • Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness in several places to be sure temperatures listed above have been reached.

Storing Beef[]

In order to maintain the taste and freshness of the beef, one has to follow some rules. One of The Most Important Rules in Storing Beef is to Store it in Places With Temperatures Between 28-32 f Degrees. Beef generally absorbs odors that are way it should be protected preferable in a vacuum-package. When storing beef meat in form of a vacuum package one most not leave it in the refrigerator more than twenty one days if the package is unopened and not more than two or three days after the package has been opened. Frozen beef can be available for almost six months at a temperature of 0 degrees or even a lower temperature. Beef can also be kept in the refrigerator without vacuum or frozen it but not more than twenty four hours. Ground Beef lasts about two days if it is stored in the refrigerator and for about four months if frozen. Generally the type storage depends of the beef cuts, meaning that the larger the cut is the longer the period of storage is. When the meat is stored in its original wrapper, it has to be put in the coldest part of the refrigerator.


Beef generally consists of tissues, fats and bones. Beef is considered a great source of protein, Vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, miacin, Vitamin B6, riboflavin and iron. Due to The fact that beef is lower in calories compared to pork or lamb meat, beef is eaten by people who want to avoid cholesterol and fats. Some scientists think that beef to possess anti-cancer properties because of it contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) . CLA is thought to help normalize blood glucose levels, prevent Diabetes, contribute to heart health and stimulate the immune system. Beef is widely consumed in a variety of forms and it can be used in a diet due to its low concentration of calories and it generally plays an important role in every diet. Beef less marbling than other meats, meaning that most of the evident fat is contained on the outside edges. Trimming the excess fat is useful in reducing saturated fat and cholesterol, nevertheless doing this before the beef is cooked can make it tougher and less flavorful, particularly if the meat is broiled, roasted, or grilled. it is usually preferable to trim the fat after cooking because the fat layer protects the meat from drying out during the cooking process.

  • Nutrition Info List

Nutrition Labeling[]

Nutrition claims such as "lean" and "extra lean" are sometimes seen on beef products. Here are their definitions:

"Lean" - 100 grams of beef with less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

"Extra Lean" - 100 grams of beef with less than 5 grams of fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

Beef Recipes[]

The main methods for cooking beef include grilling, roasting, and sautéing, pan-frying, pan-boiling, broiling, stewing and braising. generally beef is always cooked in direct contact with a hot surface or near a heat source. There are generally two important methods of cooking beef and those are the dry heat method and the moist heat method. Normally, when beef is used for preparing stews the meat is combined with vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, onions and garlic. The hot liquid provided when the beef is stewed actually tenderizes the meat and combined with vegetables acts as a flavoring source. There are numerous recipes of beef dishes regarding different parts of the beef. The ribs, shoulders and other bony parts are generally used for preparing stews or they can be pan-fried, sautéed or braised, while the part which are richer in meat are used for grilling or for pan-frying dishes. Some of the most delicious beef recipes prepared all around the world include beef stew, beef stroganoff, beef with black beans, braised beef pot roast, fiesta steak, green sirloin with citrus salsa and roast beef with couscous. Beef is widely served with a variety of vegetables and fruits which generally flavors the dish.


Beef Related Recipes[]


  • Beef from Farm to Table - public domain government resource—original source of history and raising cattle sections, source of additional information