Angus beef is more than just another piece of meat. It renders a tender, juicy, savory sensation that transcends the palate to new pleasure zones.
The name of the breed, Aberdeen-Angus cattle, or simply Angus cattle, is coined from the cattle's place of origin Aberdeenshire and Angus in the northeastern area of Scotland. When they were introduced to the United States in 1873, four Angus cattle settled in Victoria, Kansas. Today, Angus is the most popular beef breed in the United States with nearly 325,000 head registered in 2005.1
Compared to standard beef, most meat-enthusiasts favor Angus because of the consistent, softer texture that produces a richer, more flavorful meat. Because Angus cattle naturally produce more myostatin, a protein that inhibits the growth of muscles in cattle, the tissue contains greater marbling - the flecks of fat adding taste and tenderness that make the meat softer and easier to chew. For this reason, sources speculate that women, who typically have smaller teeth and weaker jaw muscles than men, prefer Angus cuts and may have influenced the Angus beef movement. And with its inherent tenderness, Angus beef may require less cooking time, or faster meal preparation, which is an attractive attribute for people employed outside of the home. 2
So, what's responsible for creating the superior marbling, texture and taste? Diet. Throughout life, Angus cattle naturally graze on grass, hay grain and salt licks containing minerals. And during the last few months of life, nutrition consists of corn, barley or other grain responsible for adding the final 250 to 400 pounds. Eating this much roughage requires a large, heavy-duty digestive mechanism called a stomach. Contrary to popular belief, the cow has only one stomach but contains four compartments, or ruminants: the rumen, the reticulum, the omasum, and the abomasum.
Angus beef provides the human body with ample amounts of nutrients: protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. According to Chris Kerth, an associate professor of animal sciences at Auburn University in Alabama, grass-fed beef may contain "anywhere from two to 10 times as much omega-3 fatty acids as regular beef" and are known to be important for the brain, for the heart and possibly for the mood.3 However, getting the most nutritional content from your beef selection depends on the bovine's diet, the meat preparation and mostly your individual taste. Most beef-eaters prefer the taste of grain-fed beef over grass-only fed beef that offers a "gamey" kick and yellowish marbeling. While some prefer a ground-chuck burger, others may prefer a filet mignon or a roast. When combining the available meat cuts with the various cooking options and temperatures, the choices are endless and can satisfy even the most distinguished taste bud.
Finally, what separates an Angus from the herd? The genotype, or bloodline, and phenotype, or appearance, must accurately identify an Angus. A hide that is at least 51 percent black at the roots is usually enough proof that the cattle is Angus. When in doubt, the breeder must present registration papers that document the animal's pedigree, a similar process to verifying the breed of a canine.
Concluding, Angus cattle provide the body with a nutrient-rich meal that offers the palate a rich, flavorful, mouth-watering, succulent experience.
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1 Angus Cattle. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_cattle)
2 Food Consumption, Prices, and Expenditures,1970-97.Economic Research Service/USDA.
3 Squires, Sally. What's the Beef? Washington Post 1 Aug 2006.