All about that beef
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.