Meat University

Some Things You Need to Know

Grass Fed - This means the cow was allowed to forage and graze on native grasses for most of its life. However, a grass fed cow can still be fed alfalfa and/or grain substitutes. How much grass a grass fed cow has eaten in its life depends on the farm, which is why it’s important to know your farm and your meat producer. Texas Craft Steaks sources only the highest quality grass fed beef from farms with impeccable integrity. 

Grass Finished - A “grass finished” cow consumed only native grasses for its entire life. You can interpret “grass finished” as 100% grass fed. A grass finished cow takes more time to get to a finishing weight, therefor the cow lives longer, is older at harvest, and has a more extensive flavor profile.

Grain Finished - For most cows, the last several weeks of its life is supplemented with grain. Grain finished cows do not have to be raised quite as long, and this saves the rancher money. How much grain finishing takes place depends on the farm.

Hormone Free - This generally means there are no added hormones, since all cows have natural hormones. What you need to look for is that there are “no added hormones.”  Over 90% of commercial meat has added hormones, which means you’re eating beef from a cow that was on steroids. Now it’s up to your body to process steroids that were meant for a 2,000 pound cow. All Texas Craft Steaks are classified as “never evers”, meaning never having been given added hormones. All meat from Texas Craft Steaks is all natural, no added hormones, and no antibiotics.

Wagyu - Wagyu beef simply means beef from Japan. There are 4 different breeds of Wagyu cow – two are for dairy and two are for meat. Within the 2 beef breeds of Wagyu, there are still multiple grades of meat. Simply saying “Wagyu” isn’t any more specific then saying “American beef". Most Wagyu beef is of the Kuroge variety, which is a blended product of varying quality. Here at TCS, we only sell the 100% pure bred Akaushi strand of Wagyu beef, which is by far the highest quality Wagyu beef available.

Akaushi -Akaushi is a very specific Japanese breed, known to be the highest quality of Wagyu meats. Akaushi is the indisputable crown jewel of Japanese meat. It has a higher concentration of monosaturated fat relative to saturated fat. This leads to lower cholesterol, weight loss, and the prevention of coronary heart disease. Akaushi is also a source of oleic acid, the compound found in olive oil that the USDA touts as good for the heart. All this simply produces a finer flavor profile.

Kobe - Kobe is simply a region (and a city) in Japan – like “West Texas” is a region in Texas, or in the USA. Kobe beef can be great meat, and it can be mediocre meat. The word “Kobe” is often used to insinuate quality, but it’s no more specific than saying “beef from the USA.” This is because the word “Kobe” is not a regulated term in the USA. In Japan, the word “Kobe” is regulated, and meat must follow a specific set of guidelines to be labeled as Kobe. Here in the USA, there is no enforcement of those guidelines. Here, meat is often labeled as Kobe, or Kobe Style, when it is not in any way certified Japanese Kobe beef. Kobe is not a breed, or a specific meat type, its’ a location. Unfortunately, this is one of the most misused, and abused words in meat marketing.

USDA Select, Choice & Prime - These are the words that represent the meat grading system from the United States Department of Agriculture. In order of quality from least to greatest, it is Select, Choice, then Prime. Many of the Texas Craft Meat selections that are Choice, actually taste as good as other farms’ prime meat because of the genetics of our cows, and the all natural, grass fed approach of raising them, without added hormones or antibiotics.


Where the Meat Comes From

Chuck - This is where some of the slow cooking wonderfulness comes from - cuts like the Blade, Chuck Eye, & Country-Style Ribs. However, many Chuck cuts are still great for grilling, like the Top Blade, Ranch Steak, Shoulder Steak. Chuck simply has a little bit of everything.

Rib - Welcome to Taste Town, population you. This is where you get the Ribeye Filet, Ribeye Cap, & Ribeye Steak. All of these are little fattier than most other cuts, but sometime you have to give a little, to get a little. While you can slow cook (roast) much of this primal cut, the Ribeye Steak will always be better on the grill.

Short Loin - This is where you get your T-Bone, Porterhouse, Tenderloins, and Strip Steaks. You’ll often see this cut on the menu under names such as the Ambassador Steak, Boneless Club Steak, Hotel Style Steak, Kansas City Steak, New York Strip, & Top Loin. These leaner cuts of meat are typically best grilled or fried, and work well with high heat.

Sirlion - This is also a leaner section of beef, and home to the world famous Filet Mignon, one of the most coveted pieces of meat. Also in the Sirloin are the Bavettes, Tri-Tips, & Strip Steaks. This section is best for grilling or high heat skillets.

Round - Coming from the very back of the bus is the Top, Bottom, and Eye Round, which are all good at high heats. The Bottom, Rump and Eye Roast are best for slow cooking or oven roasted.

Brisket - Here at the BBQ joint’s “go to” section you have the Flat and Point Briskets, both of which desire to be slow cooked. While Brisket Flat is the leaner of the two, you need to bring your A-Game when preparing these cuts - the line between juicy delicious and dry chewy tends to be quite thin.

Fore Shank - Obtained from the front legs of the cow, the Fore Shank is well exercised which makes the meat tough and lean, with low fat content. Given the makeup of this cut, it needs to be cooked slowly in liquid to produce a tender result.

Short Plate - Coming from the forequarter of the belly is the Short Plate. It’s popular cuts include the Skirt Steak (often used for Fajitas), and the hangar steak. This meat is often grilled, cured, and smoked.

Flank - Generally a long and flat cut, the Flank can also be used for Skirt Steaks, and makes for good for stir-fry.