June 06, 2016

New JAS interpretive summary

grazing calves

By Jamie Hawley, ASAS Communications Intern

June 6, 2016 – Beef carcasses that exhibit dark cutting are known to have differences in tenderness and flavor, in addition to lean color that is undesirable to consumers. However, data addressing varying degrees of dark cutting on tenderness and specific flavor notes is lacking.

Adria Grayson and colleagues at Texas A&M University, along with collaborators at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., observed that differences in beef juiciness, tenderness, and flavor were dependent on dark cutting severity. Their results are published in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Animal Science.

During carcass grading at a large U.S. commercial beef harvesting facility, 160 dark cutting and 160 matching normal carcasses were selected. Dark cutting carcasses were classified as shady, mild, moderate, or severe.

As dark cutting severity increased, juiciness increased. However, the authors stated that juiciness differences would most likely not impact beef palatability as much as tenderness and flavor.

Dark cutting carcasses classified as shady and mild were most likely to be tough. Segregating these carcasses would allow beef harvesting facilities the ability to apply other techniques, such as extended aging, freezing, or blade tenderization, to resolve problems with tenderness.

Differences in undesirable flavor notes found across dark cutting classes were mostly in moderate and severe dark cutting. However, these are unlikely to reach retail outlets.

Read more about this research in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Animal Science.