If you eat beef regularly, you are probably aware of the popularity of Angus beef. The name is used extensively in marketing as a way to signify quality. It is second only to Wagyu beef in terms of perceived quality, but is it really that much better than regular beef? What separates Angus beef from regular beef? We’ll consider these questions and more in another BBQ Showdown.
What are the differences between Angus beef and regular beef?
Angus beef is popular because of its marbling. Marbling refers to the distribution of fat within the muscles of the animal. With Angus beef, the fat is particularly well-distributed. The result is meat that is more tender, juicy, and flavorful when compared to regular beef.
Another difference between Angus beef and regular beef has to do with the healthiness of the meat. Regular beef cattle are usually treated with more antibiotics over their lifetimes up until slaughter when compared to Angus beef. On the other hand, the high fat content of Angus beef may make it less healthy when compared to lower grade cuts of leaner regular beef.
When comparing Angus beef to regular beef, note that not all beef that has an Angus label is necessarily from Angus cattle or will necessarily be of a higher quality than regular beef. To ensure that you are getting genuine high-quality Angus beef, look at the grade of beef and look for beef that has been given the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) designation. Angus beef has to undergo strict testing in order earn the CAB certification. The certification is applied to less than 8 percent of the beef that is tested. In addition, Angus beef is graded according to the USDA grading system. The grading system applies grades ranging from Standard up to Prime. Most CAB beef is either Prime or Choice, but some will be Standard grade or lower.
What are the sources of Angus beef and regular beef?
Angus beef comes from a specific breed of cattle called Black Angus. Angus cattle are bred to be shorter and thicker than other cattle breeds. The meat that they provide is thought to be of a higher quality and was once mainly associated with upscale steakhouses. Angus cattle are also hardier than regular beef cattle, which is why they are not usually treated with antibiotics to the same extent.
Regular beef comes from a variety of other beef cattle breeds.
Is one easier to grill than the other?
Beef with good marbling is basted internally by the melting fat when it is cooked on a grill. The basting keeps the meat moist while dripping melted fat onto the coals to produce an aromatic smoke. The smoke gives the steak even more flavor. That fat can also cause flare-ups that may char a steak or burger if you leave it unattended. Thus, fattier meat will require a more hands-on approach to grilling it when compared to a leaner steak. Aside from that minor difference, neither is more difficult to grill than the other.
Is one more expensive?
Angus beef generally goes for a higher price than regular beef of the same grade. The difference in price has to do with the high regard that consumers have for the Angus name.
When should you use Angus beef and when should you use regular beef?
Because Angus is more expensive than regular beef, it makes sense to use it for smaller gatherings in order to cut down on cost. Use leaner regular beef for larger groups or if you want to limit your fat intake.