How many times have you encountered the label of ‘Angus Beef’? If you are a regular steak eater, chances are your answer is like "way too many times." But are you aware of what it really is?
I identified it as that thick patty that gives a juicy thickness to the burger for a long time. It is buttery, the taste is evenly distributed, and leaves you feeling fulfilled. Compared to other burgers, an Angus beef burger is comparatively expensive, but the taste is worth it. It is perfect for treating yourself when you feel cheery or to munch with the kids on the weekend.
However, last year’s curiosity got the better of me, and I began to observe its presence in different places. If you like to go meat shopping, you must have seen the label among the stacks in the supermarket. All good steakhouses flash it on the menu, and the local butchers take pride in their stock of Angus beef. It got me thinking, where does it come from, and what is the reason behind its popularity, taste, and price?
If you have wondered about some related questions, read on because I have compiled a comprehensive guide to Angus beef based on my experience.
Where Does It Come From?
Hardly anyone that I know makes decisions about food solely based on its taste. Some of the factors that affect our food preferences include appearance, availability, nutritional value, ethical and religious approval, attitude, and knowledge about that food. Thus, learning about the origins of Angus Beef can help you with making informed decisions.
Contrary to the common misconceptions, Angus is not a specific cut of beef. Instead, it is a special breed that is known for its black hide. We can trace its origins back to nineteenth century Scotland where some farmers used to breed it for its signature color and quality meat. In contemporary times, farmers and breeders rear it globally, especially in America and Australia for beef. The cattle of this breed are impressively muscular and brilliantly productive.
What Makes It So Special?
‘Alright, it came from Scotland a long time ago. But why is it so popular today?’ you rightfully wonder.
Many factors add to its popular demand in the market, and different people prefer it for several reasons. However, here are the most common ones:
The velvet-like, black hide on a polled bovine gives it a gorgeous appearance. The breeders achieved this shiny coat of charcoal black after several experiments, and it is now known as the identity of real Angus. The meat itself is scarlet red, with streaks of white spread out like branches of a tree or creeks of water diverging from a river.
Among the different kinds of cattle used for beef, like Brahman, Guernsey, and Hereford, Angus is exceptionally flavourful. As I mentioned, it has a soft and buttery taste to it. The burgers are especially fiery after being fire-grilled. However, steaks and barbecue are also equally delicious. The authentic Angus beef maintains its tenderness and moistness in all forms.
Marbling refers to the white flecks and blemishes on the raw meat. The most enticing aspect of Angus beef is the rich marbling. Angus’s diet is a good determinant in its marbling, as it is balanced with grass, corn, and beans. It results in an evenly marbled beef, which is important because the white area denotes fat, and fat is the most flavourful part about meat. As it spreads on all dimensions, every bite has a savory taste and melts in the mouth.
Grades of Angus Beef
Producers and distributors use many complimentary labels and grades to indicate the meat's quality that you are likely to encounter. It is vital to know the items that you are buying.
This term itself only refers to the breed of cattle that the beef came from. It does not automatically mean that the quality, in terms of tenderness or flavour, is better than any other kind in the supermarket.
Certified Angus Beef®
Now, this is an actual indicator of premium quality meat. The Angus beef with this label undergoes several checks across many dimensions and thus has high reliability and consistency to offer you. The standards that it ranks on include marbling, which determines the flavour, size that should be consistently thick, and quality appearance that must be free of dark cuts and neck humps. Angus beef can only earn the “Certified” label if it meets the criteria created by these ten specifications. It ensures that the quality, taste, and appearance-all have a premium value.
It is among the two grades that companies assign to Angus beef. A “Choice” grade label guarantees an excellent quality beef. It serves as a sign that the meat has appreciable marbling and fat content. Choice graded Angus beef is medium-priced with a healthy appearance, second to the Prime only.
“Prime” is the best quality meat out there. It is sporadic, and only 2.9% of the total beef qualifies for it. Prime is an indicator of fabulously marbled meat with high-fat content. It is a brilliant source of Vitamin B that helps with cardiovascular health, Selenium that serves as an antioxidant, and Choline, which improves the brain’s cognitive functions. It effectively means that a Prime graded Certified Angus Beef® is the best one out there.
Angus beef has an iconic history, starting from farmers in Scotland to the most experienced butchers and breeders in Canada today. The Cattle has a remarkable and silky black coat and feeds on the grass alongside grains and beans that ensure a high nutritional value in its meat. Angus beef is well-known for its extensive marbling and a distinctive, buttery flavour that melts on your tongue.
A Certified Angus Beef ® with a Prime grade is among the savoriest dishes you will ever taste when it comes to grades. Though rare, the outlets available sell it in all the regular beef cuts, like ribeye and tenderloin. Whether you prefer it as steaks, barbecue, or burgers, Angus Beef leaves you yearning for more.