If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, please do at @kimchimom), then you may have noticed that I was out in Wooster, Ohio at the Certified Angus Beef® culinary center with 19 other members of the Sunday Supper family in early November. As much as it was about eating, there was a lot of hands-on and up-close learnin’. Here are a few things that stuck with me after this whirlwind weekend.
1 – First and foremost, nothing can replace real life interaction. The majority of the Sunday Supper members have known each other virtually for several years now, but nothing beats meeting each other in real life. It’s hard to replace a hug, a conversation while walking through a market, or spontaneous late-night laughs in pajamas. These interactions really cement the online relationships we’ve forged through blogging and all that comes with it. And let’s not forget our friends at Certified Angus Beef®. There are real people behind the big name brand. It was truly great to hang out with such dedicated individuals. What I’m saying is, if you have the opportunity to network and learn, take advantage of it and get to know the people in your circles.
So let’s talk about beef. Here are a few things that I learned that you may or may not already know, but impressed me.
2 – Not all meat is graded, but by law all meat should be inspected.
How many have you have gone to the store and wondered about all these stamps, stickers, and signs with grades and inspections plastered all over your beef? A, B, C, D, and E? Select, Choice, and Prime? Eeney, meeney, miney, mo? Quality grading is determined by the maturity (physiological age) of the beef and the amount of marbling. These are scrutinized by using 10 science-based specifications. This quality grading predicts the palatability or the pleasing confluence of the traits taste, tenderness, and juiciness. Larger amount of marbling will acquire a higher grade, but also remember that buying a leaner cut of beef does not mean a lesser quality of beef. It just takes a little more care in cooking lean meat. Cooking with care!
So how does Certified Angus Beef brand beef score? They are always Grade A, Choice or Prime. Take a look at the chart below.
3 – The notion that searing your beef seals in the juices is a myth.
The reason we sear beef is to develop a nice flavorful crust. Flavor, flavor, flavor. The whole notion of “locking in juices” is a misconception. Proper cooking technique based on time and temperature will ensure the most flavorful steak.
4 – Most cattle are grass-fed
This may or may not concern you, but I found this tidbit of information interesting. The cattle raised for Certified Angus Beef® brand is grass-fed and grain-finished. Yes, cattle are grass-fed at the beginning. Some are grass-finished which means that the cattle has fed on grass for its entire life. If you’ve ever had a grass-fed steak, it’s much leaner and, in my opinion, a gamier flavor. Certainly not a bad thing, but more of a personal preference. The grain finish ensures optimal marbling in the beef and the marbling is what gives the beef that beefy flavor and juicy tenderness – the palatability. See no. 2.
5 – Not all fat are created equal.
We learned that subcutaneous fat is the fat under the skin. This is usually the white fat cap surrounding or capping the muscle. Trim or not to trim? This layer can be trimmed, but you can leave at least 1/4 inch of the fat cap to help develop a flavorful crust. The fat cap also allows the roast to self-baste while cooking, but this is not where the flavor comes from. The intramuscular fat is the marbling that you see throughout the muscle or meat. This is what gives the beef its palatability – flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. Intermuscular fat is simply the fat between the muscle or “seam fat” and this fat generally defines the cuts of the beef. This can be trimmed.
Thanks again to our friends at Certified Angus Beef®. It was truly a memorable and productive weekend. And in case you missed it, check out these scrumptious holiday roast recipes from my fellow super Sunday Supper bloggers with whom I shared this experience.
- Beef Pot Roast by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Beef Roast and Cabbage by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Boliche (Cuban Stuffed Roast) by Magnolia Days
- Boneless Rib Roast with Roasted Garlic and Herbs by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Sirloin Roast with Red Wine Onion Gravy by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Coffee Rubbed Roast Beef by Eat Picks
- Fennel and Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin by Casa de Crews
- Garlic and Herb Crusted Ribeye Roast with Red Wine Sauce by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Herb & Garlic Crusted Roast by The Melrose Family
- Garlic Roast Beef by Life Tastes Good
- Herbed Rotisserie Rib Roast with Portobello Mushroom Gravy by The Educators’ Spin On It
- Holiday Ribeye Roast by Family Foodie
- Miso Glazed Standing Rib Roast au Jus by kimchi MOM
- Mustard Crusted Roast Beef by Curious Cuisiniere
- Peppercorn Crusted Standing Rib Roast with Red Wine Au Jus by Food Done Light
- Petite Sirloin Roast Chasseur (Hunter’s Style) by Palatable Pastime
- Pomegranate Balsamic Glazed Prime Rib by I’m Not the Nanny
- Ribeye Roast with Harissa by Shockingly Delicious
- Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Fresh Herb Crust and Horseradish Cream by Midlife Road Trip
Disclosure statement: Certified Angus Beef® sponsored my trip to their culinary center in Ohio. All opinions are my own.