Basic Information On Beef
Copyright 1994 Knight-Ridder/Tribune Information Services
By Patty LaNoue Stearns
Aged beef, stored three to six weeks at 34 to 38 degrees in low humidity, undergoes an
enzyme change that intensifies its flavor, deepens its color and softens the connective
tissue. The longer meat is aged, the more quickly it cooks. Vacuum-packing meat via a
method with a vapor- and moisture-proof film enables aging to take place between the
slaughterhouse and the dinner table.
Marbling, the flecks of fat distributed throughout the lean part of the meat, gives beef
its flavor and juiciness. Grades, in order of marbling, are prime, choice and select, with
select the leanest and the toughest.
The lean part of the meat should be cherry-red, unless it has been cured or cured and
smoked. Beef, vacuum-packaged cuts included, is a dark, purplish-red color when first
At the market, choose steaks and roasts with a fat covering of &1/8 inch or less, or
trim the extra fat to &1/8 inch. Tenderize lean cuts by cooking slowly with moist heat,
cooking in liquid or marinating.
To prepare beef without adding fat, try roasting, broiling, pan-broiling, grilling or