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Old 04-21-2011, 09:46 PM   #1
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Angus vs. "Regular" Beef

Midday on a quiet Thursday, I was at the supermarket picking up some things for Easter dinner. Business was slow in the store so, as I was passing the meat counter, I stopped to chat with the meat manager, who according to his name tag, has been in the business for 37 years.

I have been thinking for some time about Angus/Black Angus beef and how it compared to the 'regular' beef we all have been buying for decades (more or less). I wondered if it was all a marketing gimmick or if there was a real difference.

I posed the question to my friendly meat manager. He was a little hesitant to answer at first, as if he was giving away a trade secret.

I put it to him like this, "If there were two steaks - same cut, cooked the same and one was Angus and the other not, could you tell the difference between the two?". He said he could not.

He also said, in response to another question, that comparing two pieces of raw beef he would not be able to tell the difference. That the only way the could tell it was Angus was that it came in boxes labeled Angus.

He also said some people claimed to taste a difference but he felt he could constrict an impartial test that would disprove that.

All in all a revealing discussion.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:53 PM   #2
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Andy, my son Tony raises both Angus and Brangus beef. I notice no difference in the taste but the Angus he gives us is much more tender when cooked than reg bee. I feel the seasining we out on the meat says it all.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:41 AM   #3
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If my DH does the meat-shopping, well, I can predict like Nostradameus that he will show up with Angus meat packages....vs. sending me into the exact same store as he just shopped, &, my items are a complete 180% of what he just picked. *slaps head*...He shops names that are comfortable to him whilst I shop the bargains. Can honestly say that his picks are no better than mine. I say "angus-flangus-its-bull-hockey" to me!

FOR THE WIN(FTW)...-my shopping prices drop considerably vs. his list
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:58 AM   #4
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As I guess you're talking about American Black Angus vs. other American beef, agree that there appears to be very little difference in taste and don't know if blind tastings have been done, but suspect they would bear that out.
But, I believe there is a difference in taste with imported Scotch Black Angus which is grass fed, and usually hung before being exported. It's also a helluva lot more expensive!
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:33 AM   #5
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Never had angus that I liked. Below is a pic of the type of beef I like. Had angus at a steakhouse last night . When I was offered a variety of dipping sauces, I suspected the worst; and my suspicions were confirmed.
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:52 AM   #6
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I have tried angus beef. I didn't notice much, if any, difference between a similarly marbled steak from a little further down the meat counter. I did notice a big difference in price.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:09 AM   #7
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I suspect that most Angus beef comes from a marketing department and not from the farm or ranch.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:31 AM   #8
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If it's Certified Angus Beef(CAB), then it is CAB. The people behind the CAB are very good at marketing.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:45 AM   #9
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I'm distantly related to the Illinois family who brought the first sustainable Angus herd over from Scotland. My understanding (as hearsay only - not an authority!), differences between Angus and other American beef is the natural level of marbling, making it more tender on average, and giving it a richer flavor.

Conversion rate is the amount of feed (in pounds) needed to produce one pound of beef (whole live steer), and the Angus conversion rate is a percentage point or two different from most other cattle types. (I don't recall whether it's better or worse,) but finishing feed costs would be factored in.

They are also more hardy, making them less prone to infections and less need for expensive antibiotics. Unfortunately, lower medical costs/fewer hormones translate into higher demand and higher price instead of lower cost - go figure!
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
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...But, I believe there is a difference in taste with imported Scotch Black Angus which is grass fed, and usually hung before being exported. It's also a helluva lot more expensive!

I would agree that a grass fed, aged piece of beef would taste different from one that was neither. Certainly, feed and aging can make a significant difference. What if a "regular" steer was grass fed and 'hung' in a similar fashion? The two would probably be no different.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:55 AM   #11
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...Conversion rate is the amount of feed (in pounds) needed to produce one pound of beef (whole live steer), and the Angus conversion rate is a percentage point or two different from most other cattle types. (I don't recall whether it's better or worse,) but finishing feed costs would be factored in...

I recall reading that Angus cattle reached full maturity faster than other breeds.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:56 AM   #12
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I was always under the impression that is was only a marketing term.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:02 AM   #13
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I was always under the impression that is was only a marketing term.

While Angus is a different breed from the cattle we usually eat, the taste/quality side of the discussion is certainly marketing.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:33 AM   #14
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Just to clarify, Angus, or Black Angus, is a breed of cattle. Certified Angus is a trade mark, and is not, by itself, a quality mark. It is really no different than other marketing names. The Angus association has done a good job of marketing, resulting in higher prices, and I think they do some policing. Hanging in a packing house, there is little distinguishible difference, although a good tagger can pick them out. USDA grading is a quality designation.

I doubt is anyone could tell the difference in a steak after cooking. As many have said, the three most important factors in a quality steak is aging, marbling, and seasoning.

If you want the best steak possible, do what the best steak houses do. Buy whole strips or rib eyes. Pick the one with the largest eye and the most marbling, then store it in the frig for 6 or so weeks in its original Cryovac packaging.
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:41 PM   #15
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I have on occasion pulled off Angus logo stickers from meat packages and placed them on packages of select cuts of steaks. These select cuts tasted no better. :)))
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:18 PM   #16
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The timing couldn't have been better. I ran to the local grocery store to get some more butter (2 bricks for $1.99 ea) and what does the bulletin board hold...

Click image for larger version

Name:	Blank Angus.jpg
Views:	271
Size:	68.3 KB
ID:	10654

And as you can see, it's "hormonos" free

That's how we roll
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:20 PM   #17
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That must be Greek for hormones
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:27 PM   #18
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The way I read it; They had some black cows, the left them to fend for themselves in a pasture, they never had medical care... and we never said they didn't have hormones... we said hormonos...
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:16 PM   #19
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Best deer I ever et was cornfed.
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Best deer I ever et was cornfed.
Good point. Same here.
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