I am 51. Anyone in my age range notice a difference in the texture of beef?

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Joined Dec 19, 2014
It seems to me that the texture of beef gotten from the supermarket and/or butcher (NY Strip, Ribeye, Porterhouse, etc) nowadays is not the same as it used to be when I was growing up (70s, 80s) in NYC. I currently live in CT. It doesn't seem as tender as it used to be.

Has anyone else noticed the same thing? It could just be my imagination, but....
 

phatch

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They've changed the rating scales a number of times in your life. The big one was to reduce the fat level of beef we eat to fight heart disease. So breeding changed too to reflect the new market demands. Those both reduced tenderness.

Less and less beef gets graded by the USDA anymore. This led to a lot of house graded beef using select or even standard and commercial grade beef entering the market.

Also consider the Angus labeling that is mostly just marketing hype.

So one can certainly support an argument that todays common beef is less tender than it used to. But good beef can still be had for a premium.

Personally, my taste in beef is better served in roasts than steaks so tenderness in the cut is less of a concern.
 
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Thank you Chef Ross.

It's funny (or not actually) then that this ends up being just like here in France where the industry pushes those supposedly superior breeds (Charolaise, Limousine etc...) which were actually engineered for yield and not taste or texture.

I have a butcher that gets great beef here and I don't really care what breed it is (I never ask). On the other hand, I've developed a personal relationship and he knows what and how I like to cook. For example most tri-tip here is huge and tough and requires long slow cooking, but once in a while he gets a cow that is smaller and more tender and on those lucky days he'll offer to find me a nice cut for fast oven roasting or barbecue grilling, reminiscent of how tri-tip is cooked in California (even though it doesn't taste the same nor is is the same shape or size).

My point is there may be more differences between two cows of the same breed (depending on how the animal was raised and treated and how big and old it was) than between different breeds.

It certainly isn't all about labels, like the marketing depts would have us believe.
 
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Joined May 5, 2010
I am fortunate to have locally bred beef available in our local stores. We have many farms around the area that raise and process beef, lamb, goats, and hogs. They are all grass fed, with little variance in their diet. The meat tastes like I remember it as a kid. It's nicely marbled and the best part is I know the farmers by name and reputation. It would be great if that were that case everywhere.
 
167
24
Joined Dec 19, 2014
They've changed the rating scales a number of times in your life. The big one was to reduce the fat level of beef we eat to fight heart disease. So breeding changed too to reflect the new market demands. Those both reduced tenderness.

Less and less beef gets graded by the USDA anymore. This led to a lot of house graded beef using select or even standard and commercial grade beef entering the market.

Also consider the Angus labeling that is mostly just marketing hype.

So one can certainly support an argument that todays common beef is less tender than it used to. But good beef can still be had for a premium.

Personally, my taste in beef is better served in roasts than steaks so tenderness in the cut is less of a concern.
Thanks - that explains a lot.
 
167
24
Joined Dec 19, 2014
I am fortunate to have locally bred beef available in our local stores. We have many farms around the area that raise and process beef, lamb, goats, and hogs. They are all grass fed, with little variance in their diet. The meat tastes like I remember it as a kid. It's nicely marbled and the best part is I know the farmers by name and reputation. It would be great if that were that case everywhere.
I have a farm or two in my gen vicinity. I should get in touch with them to see what they have, and/or where they sell to. I hadn't thought of that before. Thanks for chiming in!
 

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