Culinology - December 2011 - (Page 16)

MEAT CUTS Larry Aylward Beef: The next generation Adding a twist to a traditional product CULINOLOGY I DECEMBER 2011 16 I raditional beef cuts, those that make up the bulk of the beef items on food service menus and in retail meat cases, have dominated beef consumption for decades. But in an effort to improve beef’s versatility, researchers have introduced newer cuts such as the flat iron, ranch steak and bavette. The cuts underscore how fabrication and the sciences of T flavor and aging are altering beef production and adding to the opportunities for product developers to create innovative items. The flat iron, also known as the top blade steak, was introduced more than a decade ago and has not only invigorated the beef industry with its quality and consistency, it has given the industry more reason to pursue similar cuts, said Kari Underly, author of The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional’s Guide to Butchering and Merchandising. Ms. Underly, who helped research the flat iron, said the cut has set the stage for similar cuts to evolve. “It opened people’s eyes to look at more single muscles that weren’t just the traditional steaks that most people are used to,” she said. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), an industry trade association, has led research to identify undervalued portions of the beef carcass like the flat iron. Researchers evaluated more than 5,600 muscles for flavor and tenderness in an effort to increase consumption. The NCBA has identified some of the more tender muscles, such as the flat iron, through muscle profiling. “We use that science to suggest innovative fabrication [techniques] to help us get at those muscles and create new cuts,” said Bridget Wasser, director of product enhancement for the NCBA. Ms. Underly said there’s more demand for distinct cuts that have more value, such as the flat iron, the ranch steak and the bavette, which she describes as a thick skirt steak. The latter features long muscle fibers, which allow it to work well with a marinade. Tender and juicy every time Consistency is crucial to quality, Ms. Wasser said, noting the NCBA’s aim is for consumers to experience a consistent eating experience when they consume beef. “Consistency is always a challenge, especially when you’re portioning,” Ms. Underly said.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Culinology - December 2011

Culinology - December, 2011
President's Letter
Convention Preview
Upcoming Events
Profile - Frankly speaking
Meat Cuts - Beef: The next generation
Product Development
Flavors - Culinary collision course
Q&A Interview - Harnessing inspiration
Petits fours
Ad Index

Culinology - December 2011