Angus tastier than Blues
Teagasc research has shown that the eating quality of Angus-cross steaks is better than steaks from Belgian Blue crossbreeds.
While researcher Aidan Moloney admitted that the differences were small, he concluded that the muscle from 20 month-old Angus-Friesian heifers was superior to that from similar aged Blue-Friesian heifers.
The research was undertaken after a reduction in the age that beef cattle are slaughtered at was recommended to be set at 20 months by the Food Harvest 2020 report.
However, heifers of late maturing continental breeds are believed to require a longer period than 20 months to achieve the levels of subcutaneous fat required for some market outlets.
Some 64 spring-born heifer crossbred calves were reared for 20 or 25 months. Cuts from a specified point in the carcass were then subjected to testing by a 10-member panel of trained taste testers, who rated the steaks, which were all cooked until they reached an internal temperature of 74C.
The Angus-cross steaks from the 20-month-old heifers had a higher fat score and scored higher for beef flavour and lower for metallic and livery flavours, and bitterness.
However, Dr Moloney concluded that the differences between the steaks from the different breeds were eliminated with the 25-month-old groups.