Tenderness Is In The Breed, Not The Marbling
Lean, Flavorful, Yet Still Tender. But How?
One of the first things we hear when giving our spiel at food shows and samplings regarding what makes Certified Piedmontese The Healthier Beef Option is, “Ok, but does it taste good and is it tender?”, (hands over adorable little fork with a decent sized piece of CP new york strip steak). “Oh my gosh! Is this a tenderloin filet? It melts in your mouth!” Nope, just a Certified Piedmontese New York Strip Steak. Lightly salted and peppered with a little bit of canola oil to give some crisp grill marks, and you have one of the best pieces of meat you’ve ever tasted. But how can this be?
Traditional Method of Determining Tenderness
Many consumers are accustomed to selecting their beef based on the traditional USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) grading scale which ranks cuts based on the amount of marbling in the steak. Those cuts are ranked from the leas amount of marbling (intramuscular fat) to the most: Standard, Select, Low to High Choice, or Prime. On traditional beef, the marbling is what determines the tenderness of the steak. With that in mind, the consumer looking for a tender steak will have their eye set on a cut with more marbling.
Certified Piedmontese beef relies mainly on the genetics of the breed for its tenderness. The Piedmontese breed has an inactive myostatin gene, which causes the animal to develop extra muscle mass, but very little fat. As a result, you will get a steak that remains tender and juicy without all the extra fat or stringy fibers. The genetic disposition of developing extra muscle mass AND yielding a tender piece of meat is unique only to the Piedmontese breed. There may be some other 'bodybuilding' looking breeds out there, but none of them have been directly linked to being both extremely lean and tender at the same time.
Aside from trying it yourself (“Stop talking. I want it now!” ), how else can we back this up? There are scientific methods for measuring tenderness and quality. The WBSF (Warner-Bratzler Shear Force) test, invented by a USDA research scientist, measures tenderness based on the amount of force required to move a steel blade through ½ - inch cut of meat.
Through recent shear force testing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Certified Piedmontese beef proved to be more tender than like-cuts from conventional cattle, with tenderness similar to, if not more tender than, Prime on most cuts. See comparison chart below.
In then end...
Due to these unique traits of the Piedmontese breed, the consumer can expect a cut of beef that will yield more meat per ounce than fat, connective tissue, or cartilage when compared to traditional beef. In the end, you get a healthy, lean, tender, and delicious steak without having to sacrifice nutrition, flavor or tenderness. Sounds like a win in our book.