Beef is America’s favorite protein and is also a very nutrient dense food. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef has about 150 calories on average and is an excellent source of 10 essential nutrients like zinc, iron and B vitamins. Most importantly, a single serving of beef provides nearly 50 percent of the Daily Value for protein. Surprisingly, there are more than 29 cuts of lean beef with a total fat content that falls between a skinless chicken breast and skinless chicken thigh when comparing cooked 3-oz. servings. Visit beefnutrition.org to learn more.
Also, new research connects lean beef and heart health. Lean beef as part of a heart-healthy diet has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by as much as 10 percent – comparable to any other recommended heart-healthy diet. That’s because half of the fatty acids in beef are monounsaturated – the same heart-healthy type of fat found in olive oil. Finally, one-third of the saturated fat in beef comes in the form of stearic acid, the same fat recognized as beneficial in chocolate for its neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels.
What is Beef Aging?
Aging, or conditioning, of beef is a natural process that helps add flavor and tenderness to the meat. If beef is allowed to age, the natural enzymes in it will break down muscle fibers increasing the tenderness and palatability of the beef. There are two methods used to age beef: dry-aging and wet-aging.
The aging of meat in airtight, vacuum-sealed bags
Aged up to 21 days on average
Refrigerated conditions of 32 – 34 degrees F.
Most common method for aging beef
Produces enhanced tenderness and traditional beef flavor
The process of placing an entire carcass or wholesale cuts, uncovered, in a refrigerated room
Aged up to 28 days or longer depending on the purveyor
Aged uncovered in refrigerated conditions of 32 – 34 degrees F under strictly controlled humidity and air flow
Less common method of aging due to complexity and increased costs resulting from yield loss
Produces a distinctive brown-roasted beef or “nutty” flavor
How Do You Like Your Beef
Grilling is one of the most popular ways to enjoy beef. Whether cooking over gas or charcoal, nothing matches the mouth-watering flavor of beef fresh from the grill.
Bring beef to room temperature before grilling. Be creative and experiment with the many beef seasoning recipes available or keep it simple with Kosher salt, pepper and garlic. Cook over medium heat. Cooking over too hot a flame can char the outside of beef cuts while the interior remains underdone.
The degree of doneness can be confirmed using an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally from the side but not touching bone or fat. You can also check for doneness using your finger. Rare meat moves easily when pressed with your finger, while a well-done steak is stiff. Medium-rare is right in the middle.
After cooking allow beef to stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. While standing, the temperature will rise about 5 degrees to the desired doneness.