There are a plethora of breeds of cattle out there. For all intents and purposes, if you were to see the full list, it would be quite overwhelming. For this reason, we are going to focus on the four most prominently utilized cattle breeds for meat yielding. Each of these breeds’ meat yield and grade of beef can depend greatly on their diet; the type of feed used in raising each breed can significantly influence the tenderness and flavor of the meat itself. Join us as we cover the different breeds along with the different feeding methods.
We will start with the breed of cattle that most everyone has heard of, Black Angus. Black Angus is the most common beef producing breed of cattle in the U.S. Due to an aggressive marketing campaign, and an overall great tenderness and flavor, Black Angus beef is the number one source of beef in the U.S. and even many online meat purchasers as well.
Now we move on to the Piedmontese. This particular breed of cattle are known specifically for their “double muscling”. They yield much more muscle than any other cattle breed and, therefore, produce cuts of beef with practically no marbling of fat. While this may be a healthier choice, due to the lack of nearly any marbling, the USDA usually assigns beef from this cattle breed as Select at best. For this very reason, the Piedmontese will often be cross bred with the fattier Angus cattle breed.
Next, the Herefordshire. Hereford cattle are well known for their hardiness and adaptability, being able to survive in a multitude of climates and temperature ranges. They typically cost less than an Angus, especially Black Angus, but are more efficient at converting their feed (usually pasture) into Prime grade beef. Often you will find Hereford cattle cross bred with other breeds, in particular Angus, due to their pasture to Prime ratio yield.
Lastly, and perhaps the most interesting of the four cattle breeds we will cover, is the Wagyu cattle breed. This breed, due to cultural misinterpretations along with lore of its own, is a rumor factory. This is inherent in the fact that Wagyu simply translates from Japanese into “Japanes cattle”; it’s not really a breed but has been labeled as such. It’s more of a type of cattle which is the result of four breeds being cross bred beginning in the early 20th century. Wagyu cattle do produce the most sought after beef yields on the market. The coveted breeds of beef are undoubtedly the Matsusaka, Kobe and Omi. Kobe beef is the most well-known of these breeds and it produces excellent beef yields, however, it’s not the king of Japanese beef. That title would go to the Matsusaka. The heifers are treated like royalty prior to their trip to the slaughterhouse. They are spoiled with extremely expensive feed in to being given regular massages (yes you read that correctly, they get massages regularly).
Of the different breeds, Wagyu beef is graded on a completely different scale than any other beef, A1-A5, with A5 being the highest grade. Their genetics alone allow for optimal beef quality, but include their feed and raising prior to slaughter, and you have a marbled cut of beef where the fat will actually begin to melt at a mere 77° F! So, obviously, the beef cattle’s diet and environment along with their specific breed do in fact make a huge difference in both tastiness and tenderness of the cut of meat.
Cattle fed with grain, usually corn, but barley and wheat are used also, ultimately produce higher meat yields of a better quality. Nearly all beef producing cattle are raised ingesting grass for nearly 90% of their lifetime. It is only in the 3-4 months prior to slaughter when the cattle are switched to a diet consisting of corn, alfalfa, wheat, and barley. The reason for the switch in diet is purely to fatten the cattle, which ultimately produces better marbling, thus producing tenderer, better tasting meat. While it has been reported that grain fed cattle are to be avoided, which is merely misinformation, grain fed cattle are not bad for you and subsequently the notion that grass fed cattle are somehow better for you is also untrue. If you’re looking for a delicious, savory and tender steak, you’re looking for grain fed beef producing cattle.
At The Market, we are thoroughly trained and educated on the different types of beef and how to select the best type of beef possible. With so many variations in meat and misrepresentations, it sometimes can be confusing for customers. We seek to make it as easy as possible and leave our customers with the confidence in knowing that they are only getting the absolute best beef. If you have any questions about our beef selection process, or how to find the best cut of meat in all of Saudi Arabia, call us today at +966.13.845.6798 and we will be more than happy to answer all your questions. We look forward to hearing from you soon!