Beef is produced from the meat of the cow. Specifically, it comes from the full grown cattle of 2 years old. As the prime red meat, beef recipes vary around the world, but it is mostly enjoyed as a steak and as an ingredient in pork sausages.
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “the best beef is obtained from early maturing, special beef breeds. High-quality beef has firm, velvety, fine-grained lean, bright red in colour and well-marbled. The fat is smooth, creamy white, and well distributed.” A high premium and regard is given to some cow breeds, such as the famous Angus beef, which has always been a regular in many fine dining restaurants all over the world.
As a grilled steak, beef can be cooked according to the diner’s preference—from rare (pink inside) to medium rare to well-done. Each has its own delicious characteristics, enhanced by the heat of the grill and the infusion of a spice rub, marinade or sauce. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come out with guidelines in handling and cooking each kind of meat. It recommends cooking beef at an internal temperature of 145°F with a rest time of three minutes especially when grilling or roasting.
The marble of fat (“marbling”) helps make the beef “more tender, flavorful and juicy,” according to the USDA. “The greater amount of marbling in beef, the higher the grade” given to the beef. As with pork, beef is also classified according to the prime cuts. The major cuts come from the chuck, loin, rib and round. Each cut has its recommended way of being cooked since various parts produce either tough or tender meats.
Tougher cuts like the chuck and round do well in slow cooking (via crock pot or slow cooker). Slow cooking uses moist heat, just like braising and stewing, with a cooking liquid helping tenderize the beef. Find beef recipes for this cut in the beef stew category. Meanwhile, more tender meat cuts like the loin and rib, according to the USDA, benefits from a dry heat method of cooking like roasting, broiling or grilling as a steak or barbecue.
Specialized beef recipes include corned beef, which cures the brisket, rump or round with salt; beef jerky, which involves salting and drying the beef strips; and ground beef, which can be made into moist meatballs and hearty hamburger patties. The beef bone and marrow may be boiled into a soup or roasted and served as a specialized beef dish.
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