About Beef

Domestic cattle dating to 6,500 B.C. have been found in Turkey and other sitesmin the Near East approach this age also.
Early cattle served a triple-purpose. They provided meat, milk and labor to
their owners. Eventually their draft purposes were largely replaced by horses and much later by machinery so they were selected more for single or in some cases dual purposes.


  • General Shopping Tips for Beef.
  • Select beef last when shopping to ensure that beef stays cold as long as possible until you get home
  • Choose beef with a bright cherry-red color, without any grayish or brown blotches. A darker purplish-red color is typical of vacuum-packaged beef. Once exposed to oxygen, beef will turn from a darker red to bright red.
  • Fresh ground beef does go through a number of color changes during its shelf life. These color changes are normal, and the ground beef remains perfectly wholesome and safe to eat if purchased by the “sell by” date on the package label.
  • A package of ground beef may appear bright red on the surface, where it is exposed to oxygen through the permeable plastic wrapping, while the interior, where oxygen is absent, remains purplish-red. With extended exposure to oxygen, beef’s cherry-red color will take on a brown color.
  • Choose packages that are cold, tightly wrapped and have no tears or punctures. Be sure the packages do not contain excessive liquid, an indication of temperature abuse or excessive storage. For vacuum-packaged beef, be sure that the seal has not been broken and that the package is not leaking.
  • Choose steaks, roasts and pot roasts that are firm to the touch, not soft.
  • Purchase before or on the “sell by” date printed on the package label.

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Approximate Beef Cooking Times °F
325° F (162.8 °C); 425 °F (218.3 °C )
Type of Beef Size Cooking Method Cooking Time Internal Temperature
Rib Roast, bone in 4 to 6 lbs. Roast 325 °F 23-25 min./lb. 145 °F  (62.8 °C) and allow to rest at least 3 minutes
Rib Roast, boneless rolled 4 to 6 lbs. Roast 325 °F Add 5-8 min./lb. to times above
Chuck Roast, Brisket 3 to 4 lbs. *Braise 325 °F *Braise 325 °F
Round or Rump Roast 2 1/2 to 4 lbs. Roast 325 °F 30-35 min./lb.
Tenderloin, whole 4 to 6 lbs. Roast 425 °F 45-60 min. total
Steaks 3/4″ thick Broil/Grill 4-5 min. per side
Stew or Shank Cross Cuts 1 to 1 1/2″ thick Cover with liquid; simmer 2 to 3 hours
Short Ribs 4″ long and 2″ thick *Braise 325 °F 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours
Hamburger patties, fresh 4 ounces Grill, broil or fry 3 to 5 minutes per side 160 °F (71.1 °C)

Most people know that cattle provide us with a healthy food — beef. But few people know what other important products cattle supply.

Beef by-products enable us to use 99 percent of every beef animal, according
to the National Cattle Women’s Association. The primary raw commodities
by volume are hides, fat and bone, blood and meat meal.

The use of beef by-products as animal feeds is the most significant single

application (other than hides) on a volume basis. Since fats and proteins are the primary products of rendering, high energy and high protein animal feeds compose a large segment of the by-product market.

It’s estimated that by-products contribute approximately 10 percent to the
value of livestock. That means, 10 percent of the money a rancher receives when selling cattle is based on the value of edible and inedible by-products.

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Cooked, un-aged beef has been described as lacking in typical beef flavor.

Beef flavor is fully developed after about 11 days of aging. The aged
beef flavor increases with increasing aging time.

Aging also increases tenderness. It has been shown that during the aging
process certain changes take place in portions of the structure of collagen and muscle fibers

It is thought that enzymatic-caused changes in the structure of muscle
fibers are largely responsible for the increase in tenderness. It is
known that tenderness decreases immediately after slaughter while rigor
mortis takes place  then tenderness increases gradually.
Tenderness continues to increase up to 11 days, after which there is no
increase in tenderness.

One study showed that maximum tenderness and progress of tenderization
during aging varies among muscles and is associated with the color of
the carcass lean.  Aging dark-cutting beef beyond seven days did little to increase tenderness. However, in carcasses where lean was lighter in color, tenderness continued to improve during up to 16 days of aging.

The tenderness effects of aging are more evident in carcasses from older
animals than in the usually more tender lean from younger animals’

Aging also decreases the shelf life of fresh meat products. Ground beef made
from trimmings from aged beef carcasses usually has a shorter shelf life in the retail case and in your refrigerator, primarily because of increased microbial growth that occurs on certain parts of the carcass during the aging process.

Some research has demonstrated that as fresh meat ages, the activity of the
various enzymes decreases and protective action against oxidation declines, thus increasing susceptibility to oxidation. This suggests that oxidation of fresh raw meat becomes increasingly important the more meat is aged.

During the aging process, one can also expect a loss of weight of the product.
Because the lean is approximately 70 percent water, it’s easy to see why there is a weight loss. The weight loss is caused by dehydration of the lean and fat.

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The weight loss occasionally occurs at tremendous proportions depending on relative humidity, amount of air flow and temperature of the aging cooler. During chilling of the hot carcass immediately after slaughter, the carcass will lose 2 to 3 percent of
its weight because of moisture loss. Aging the carcass beyond this time will result in additional tissue shrinkage of 1 to 1.5 percent for each seven days. Carcasses with a thin external fat cover will lose more moisture than carcasses with a heavy fat cover. One study observed an 18 percent trim and shrink loss from loins aged 14 days in a 36 degrees
F cooler.

The beef carcass or side should be aged in sanitary surroundings. Also, the
aging area should be free of products such as kerosene, gasoline, paint, onions, and fish, since the carcass will absorb these undesirable odors.

Because meat is a perishable product, it can spoil at temperatures of 40 to 60 degrees F. Therefore, maintain the temperature at 30 to 35 degrees F while the beef carcass is being aged.

Sawdust should not be used on floors because it will contribute to air

Carcasses and wholesale cuts should be properly spaced to allow complete circulation of air around the product.

Freezing the carcass should be avoided.

Recently interest has increased in short-time (12 hours) aging at 60 to 66
degrees F to speed up the aging process. The carcass is then placed in
a 32 to 34 degrees F cooler to chill and complete the aging process.
This procedure benefits cow beef more than steer or heifer beef, because cow beef is usually less tender.

Apparently, carcasses with a thin fat covering would benefit more than fatter carcasses. However, the effect of this short-time, high-temperature aging on bacterial growth on and in the carcass is not understood fully.

Also remember that fat protects the meat from dehydration. Therefore, if you
are aging a beef carcass with very little fat, you can expect a higher weight loss during the aging process than would occur normally with a fatter carcass.

Maintaining the aging cooler at 85 percent relative humidity will keep weight losses down during prolonged aging. Carcasses with little external fat are more likely to pickup undesirable cooler odors and should thus be aged no more than five days.

Because of the drying process that takes place during aging, molds often grow
on the carcass. If this occurs, merely trim off the mold (and accompanying fat or lean) at the time of processing and discard it. Do not use this trimmed-off portion in ground beef.

Dry aging is much more expensive and takes longer than wet aging.
Meat which is dry aged is hung in a very clean, temperature and humidity
controlled cooler for a period of two to four weeks. During this time,
enzymes within the meat break down the muscle and connective tissue
making it tender.

Moisture is lost from the outer parts of the carcass causing an inedible crust to form which must be trimmed off and discarded. The carefully controlled environment, the time involved, and the loss of outer portions of the carcass make dry aging a costly process.

Wet aging occurs when meat and its own juices are vacuum packed in plastic and boxed for distribution. Because the plastic packaging does not allow loss of moisture, the meat may absorb more moisture which results in an increase in juiciness and tenderness.

Both methods of aging work well and can create a better product.  The
difference is that dry aging gives a more distinctive flavor while wet aging is
much less costly and allows for a quicker entry to the market and therefore a much longer shelf-life.

Due to the carefully controlled conditions required to safely age meat,
Aging meat at home is not recommended.

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