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Offline knabe

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meat market
« on: September 16, 2008, 12:02:04 PM »
thought i'd move the thread.

Without getting into a cooking and processing lecture, let me answer these one at a time.

Cooking meat by design eliminates moisture in the cooking process.  If a steak is too thick, the time it takes for the center of the cut to reach a desired degree of doneness, like medium, causes the outside to dry out, lose flavor and decrease tenderness.  Likewise a steak that's too thin, cooks too fast and tends to overcook the center.  It's not that it can't be done, but it takes a lot of practice and even the best chefs typically prefer steaks in the 3/4" to 1-1/4" range.  The other part of the equation is consistency - its far easier to prepare meals when all the cuts are basically the same.  That's the number one demand of both restaurants and consumers - more consistency in the product.

You are basically correct on the second part of your question - those things can be done.  However, have you ever seen a restaurant offer a 'half-steak".  This is all about their merchandising (not the cattleman's).  Meat marketers know what the average consumer wants.  have you ever gone to the grocery store and looked at the beef section.  How are rib-eyes packaged?  The most common way is in a two-pack that weighs somewhere between 1 lb and 1-1/2 lbs. with the weight difference caused by thickness.  The packages are all the same and they dictate rib-eye area - one that's too big won't fit in their packaging or must sell as a single.  Again it's consistency for the consumer and the marketer.  Stores have a finite amount of space to allocate to each product.  Every time it varies significantly it requires new packaging and greater shelf space - not what the marketer wants.  When you get home you can divide the package the way you like - and we do split steaks for our kids, but at the point of purchase it's likely to be a very consistent product that you are looking at.

Likewise have you ever been to a beef processing facility where steaks are cut and packaged?  Here the meat cutters must cut product into a specified portion size, WITHOUT weighing and measuring each individual cut.  The do this at a very fast speed and they are usually accurate to within .1 of a pound.  When they make mistakes  it's typically because of an extremely large or small rib-eye.  In many plants - carcasses are put aside that don't "fit the box" and processed differently and usually at a discount.  The meat packer wants the product to be consistent so that he can ship the same amount of product per box to his customers.  Again consistency or product.

As producers we may not like to hear that, but the truth is, comparred to pork and poultry, cattel producers are far more disconnected from the needs and demands of their consumers.  As a result we have lost market share to other meat products that are more closely attuned to the needs of the purchasing public.


I get all this.  on the other hand, pork is too lean right now, and there is insufficient non-premium better quality meat for sale in a format, ie thicker, which only requires removal of direct heat to finish, another for some reason difficult task, it seems people don't think meat cooks without direct heat and don't allow for that cook time in meal prep, which is one reason i started raising my own, and to my suprise, other people wanted it as well.  one of the most consistent interesting requests is for stew meat instead of hamburger.
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Offline knabe

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Re: meat market
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2008, 03:20:54 PM »
anyone ever see a ribeye steak or filet from a 12 year old cull holstein cow or jersey before, or for that matter a beef cow?  i've only seen them from the steers fed "like" beef cattle.
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Offline Will

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Re: meat market
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2008, 03:56:16 PM »
anyone ever see a ribeye steak or filet from a 12 year old cull holstein cow or jersey before, or for that matter a beef cow?  i've only seen them from the steers fed "like" beef cattle.
I once toured National steak and poultry.  It is a company that further processes meats for places like apple bee chilis and golden corral.  The way they make a profit is by buying steaks from older animals or taking lower value cuts and processing ( cutting, merinating and tenderizing those steaks) them.  They definately have a differant precook color than young corn fed beef.  But after they are recut and processed they are a very uniform product.  All of the waste gets made into fajita meat.
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