We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
If you are a carnivore, like the rest of us Maggie's Farmers, you've seen the prices rise as corn goes in gas tanks rather than gassing us up, and you've seen new names on cuts of beef at the market. So, here's a handy interactive site where you can get descriptions of all the cuts of beef and cooking tips.
Bison. Tastes better, in my opinion, although it's slightly more expensive, and healthier too. Since moving to SD, it's just about the only red meat we cook up at the house. It cooks fast, so be careful. I grill filets mignon to 130°F then take them off. Fantastic. Haven't tried au poivre vert yet, but it would be great cooked up that way also.
We had to re-learn all this when we moved to Israel - they use the European method which follows muscle groups. The mass-production Chicago cuts just saw up the carcass - which can result in some inconsistent cuts.
Funny coincidence that you should link to that site. Earlier today I found it myself while I was searching for an explanation of Sterling Silver beef. I'm trying to figure out whether this is actually higher quality meat, as they claim, or just advertising hype. Does anyone know?
Good post Bruce. And the black angus caption is fine. That is how every one refers to them.
Fresh meat is an item I do not buy at Walmart. The meat is better and cheaper at the competition.
A mind boggling amount of grass has been torn up in my area in the last 10 years to grow crops and that means a lot of cows have had to go. You can't grow corn and graze cows on the same land at the same time. Drought on the southern plains isn't helping cow numbers either.
I believe this is the smallest the nation's cow herd has been in about 60 years. Small supply = high prices.
Cows to pasture? Haven't seen that (barring some very small scale farms, mostly dairy) in 20 years.
It's all fully industrialised. Cattle are bred and raised in barns which they never leave until it's time to go to the abatoir.
When the day comes, the truck backs up to the doors, ramp gets extended, doors open, and the cattle get their first 5 and last 5 second glimpse of the open sky at either end of the truck drive between the farm and the slaughterhouse.
Food is either grain, corn, grass, or by now mostly soy husks (imported from Asia where it's waste from their food production).
Cervica: the British breed is Aberdeen-Angus (of which Her Majesty Elizabeth the Queen Mother owned one of the finest herds). The American version is simply the Angus, or Black Angus since there is also a Red Angus strain.
If you all go vegitarian that just leaves more steak for me. I grill at least once and sometimes as many as 3 times a week. I used to use mostly sirloin but then started using primarily ribeyes. I have a new favorite now, though: Strip steaks. Which is listed on the interactive site as TOP LOIN STEAK (BONELESS).
I buy them at our local HEB supermarket for $3.97 on sale (usually get as many steaks as the store will sell me each day for the week they are on sale and have about 30 lbs worth in the freezer now). I put a little olive oil on each side of the steak and rub it with brisket rub. Then I wrap the steak in saran wrap and freeze it in a freezer bag.
Then I grill it as normal. The flavor seeps into every part of the meat and it is phenominal.
I realize I'm getting in on this too late, but I will give it a shot anyway.
Number 1, the actual cost of the grain makes up maybe 1 percent of most of the foods you eat, so the price the farmer gets, whether it's $2 or $7 is almost irrelevant. A box of corn flakes has a few pennies worth of grain, maybe a quarter. The real expense is in processing, transportation, advertising, etc. This doesn't keep the big food companies from using the price of grain as an excuse to raise their prices, but not once in my life have I seen the price of anything come down when grains are cheap.
Number 2, while some cattle are finished inside the vast majority are finished in open feed lots. Open to the skies, the heavens, the stars. And nobody, and I mean nobody raises calves inside. Grass pastures are the rule and the laws of economics dictate it. There might be a few dairy calves raised for veal that spend their short lives inside but if commercial beef cattle are lucky enough to get the chance to be born inside they are hustled outside within a day regardless of what month it is.
Number 3, your best tasting beef will be corn fed. The whole Angus thing is a marketing ploy. A small percentage of fed beef today is fed primarily corn because it is just too expensive compared to other feedstuffs which use more byproducts and forages. If you find a local meat market that gets their beef from a local feeder that does it the old way, pay a little extra. It is well worth it.
PS, the price of beef has skyrocketed because of transportation and processing costs, but mainly because our cow herd has been maintained by an aging population that is retiring and the younger generation doesn't want to deal with the heavy workload and the ridiculous regulations that seem to sprout and reproduce by the day.