Beef Quality – What to Know Before Buying Beef
It can be difficult to differentiate between quality beef and inferior beef. Classifications differ between countries, so buying beef can get very tricky! For example, the US classifies beef according to the amount of marbling present in the meat. Europe grades their meat according to weight and animal category. In SA, beef suppliers mostlyrely on the age of the cow for classification.
But how exactly does it work? And what steps can you take to buy beef that’s right for you? Here, we’ll have a look at the best ways to determine beef quality and classification.
Before You Buy Beef, Understand How it’s Classified
Age, grade, and class usually mean the same thing in South African beef classification. Specifically, the age of the animal will be the main classification factor. There are other criteria that can affect the classification of beef, and the quality of beef to an extent. When buying beef, look out for the gender, amount of fat, and any damage on the carcass.
Age is a major determining factor when you buy beef. But, the animal’s feed can hugely affect the taste, texture, and tenderness of the product, as well. When looking at age, older animals will tend to have softer meat. Here, your personal preference will decide which grade of meat is right for you. Beef suppliers should also be able to tell you everything you want to know about their product, so be sure to ask.
The Quality of Beef You Want Will Depend on its Age
As mentioned, the animal’s age has a significant effect on the beef quality. The older the animal, the softer the meat. Conversely, the younger the animal, the more tender it will be. The amount of incisors on the cattle will determine its age, and thus the quality of beef. Incisors are the teeth that grow on the cattle’s lower jaw, which increase in quantity as they age. So, before buying beef, be sure to check its markings for the number of permanent incisors.
The South African Meat Industry Company (SAMIC) have specific grades marked on beef.
The product markings on products from reputable beef suppliers follow this:
Class A beef will have 0 permanent incisors, and are roller-marked as “AAA” in purple. This indicates meat from very young cattle. Buy beef of this type for a very tender, juicy taste.
Class AB beef will have 1-2 permanent incisors, and are roller-marked as “ABAB” in green. This indicates meat from young cattle. This beef quality type will have a fairly tender, juicy taste.
Class B beef will have 3-6 permanent incisors, and are roller-marked as “BBB” in brown. This indicates meat from middling age cattle. The quality of beef from this type will be soft.
Class C beef will have more than 6 permanent incisors, and are roller marked as “CCC” in red. This indicates meat from very mature cattle. Buying beef of this type will be very soft.
Tip Top Meat – Your Preferred Beef Suppliers
It can be difficult to see the markings in packaged beef. Additionally, most packaging will not state the class of meat you’re buying directly. This is why Tip Top Meat are your preferred beef suppliers.
Our staff will be able to tell you anything you need to know about the beef quality we provide. Be sure to ask us about our products before you buy beef. We provide the peace of mind to go with the high-quality products we offer.