All about that beef

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - News -

BELINDA Dock­rill says that when it comes to judg­ing the an­nual North­ern Co­op­er­a­tive Meat Com­pany Casino Beef Week Car­cass Judg­ing com­pe­ti­tion there are many things to as­sess.

The cat­tle co-or­di­na­tor and Casino Beef Week board mem­ber says these in­clud­ing the meat colour, fat colour, fat distribution (such as mar­bling), the size of the eye mus­cle, and even the pH level.

“There is a lot to con­sider, and com­pe­ti­tions such as this are be­com­ing re­ally pres­ti­gious,” Ms Dock­rill said.

Judges look at the colour of the meat, as aim­ing for rich, red meat with whitish fat, mar­bled through­out.

Mar­bling is very im­por­tant, as it im­pacts on the mois­ture and flavour of the meat.

Fac­tors such as stress or an ex­treme drop in tem­per­a­ture can af­fect pH lev­els, and if the pH lev­els are too high a car­cass will lose points.

“A higher pH level doesn’t ac­tu­ally af­fect the qual­ity of the meat; it just means it will spoil faster. The yield and dress­ing per­cent­age also comes into the com­pe­ti­tion,” Ms Dock­rill said.

A high yield means the butcher is go­ing to get more meat from it and value for money.

“You have to have a cer­tain amount of fat on the ribs and the rump, so if the an­i­mal has less than 3mm you don’t re­ceive points, be­cause that’s less than mar­ket spec­i­fi­ca­tion,” Ms Dock­rill said. “The steer that wins on the day, live, on the hoof, doesn’t al­ways win (the car­cass com­pe­ti­tion) be­cause once you rip their hide off, it’s any­body’s guess.”

The cat­tle are slaugh­tered and hung overnight be­fore they are judged. The win­ners will be an­nounced at the NCMC Beef In­dus­try Day on Tues­day, May 29.


WIN­NER: Hol­i­day Coast Meat’s Geoff Jones with his award-win­ning car­casses.

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