How many specifications, carcass specifications, do we have for Certified Angus Beef? We have 10
carcass specifications, started out with out with 8. We're at 10 and we have one live specification.
Let's see if this carcass qualifies for Certified Angus Beef. First the live specification. Before it's offered
up to be evaluated for the carcass specification we need to first identify whether or not it was black-
hided animal. Angus genetics will most likely produce a black-hided animal. It needs to be 51% or
greater solid black hide. There is an A stamped on the carcass, it's very vague to see here but there is
an A stamped on that carcass. That is the Angus determination right there. GLA is what it's called.
There's an A stamped to say that this was an Angus-type animal. We're good, we can evaluate this now
or Certified Angus Beef. Now, we got to look at some more specifications. We have the very first and
foremost specification, the one we are so proud of, the one that we make sure that everybody
remembers. If you don't remember anything else from this week, please, please remember this, modest
or higher marbling. Okay, ready?
Modest or higher marbling.
Very, very good. Let's evaluate that. USDA is our evaluators and it is the graders, not the inspectors, but
the graders. The inspector evaluates the carcass for wholesomeness. Is it safe to eat? Yes it is, they put
the inspection legend right there. That is called the inspection bug or inspection legend. They did that on
the harvest floor, once this animal was harvested they inspected it and said, "Yes, it's safe to eat." The
grader is a separate entity. That individual will tell you whether or not this carcass is going to be good
and is going to look of the quality of that particular carcass, the eating quality potential of that carcass.
The grader evaluated this. When they first looked at this ribeye. This is the twelfth and thirteenth rib
separation. This is what's done in all U.S. plants for grading. This is how we offer them up for grading.
This one little area will determine just how old or just how much quality is in this entire carcass. The
minimum amount of marbling for USDA Choice is small. Are we just Choice?
No, we're above Choice, right? We're within the Choice grade but the minimum amount of marbling is small. Look at this, this is the actual USDA card that USDA grader will use.
He will evaluate that and say, "Is there enough marbling in there to at least be called Choice?
No, we're above Choice, right? We're within the Choice grade but the minimum amount of marbling is
small. Look at this, this is the actual USDA card that USDA grader will use.
He will evaluate that and say, "Is there enough marbling in there to at least be called Choice?"
Is there more than just the Choice card? Yes.
Let's go to the next one. The next one is modest marbling. This is the minimum amount of marbling for
Certified Angus Beef. Are we there?
Is there a sufficient amount of marbling to be considered at least modest? Yes.
Is there more than that?
The next category ... We don't talk a lot about this but this is great. If we're starting to look at this card
this is great because this is one step below Prime. Let's look at that card, are we there? Pretty darn close. I would say that this is close to a moderate carcass but you always want to check and see just one more. Are we there at Prime yet? Oh, man, the minimal amount of marbling for Prime, slightly abundant. Okay? We're somewhere in between there, would you agree? Absolutely. It's a beautiful-looking ribeye.
We have sufficient marbling. Not many Cadillacs we could get to the marbling specification let alone the other 9. We have sufficient marbling. The second spec is not only do we need a lot of marbling, we're picky about just how fine that marbling is. We want medium to fine texturing in that marbling. What we like to call snowflake marbling and that's what we see. A lot of little tiny flecks of fat. Not just big chunks of fat that are going to render out when you cook it, nice tiny flecks of fat evenly dispersed throughout the ribeye. We see that. The third specification, the maturity specification. This animal came in possibly had a birth certificate but most likely did not. We need to evaluate just how old this particular carcass is, physiologically, by what the body is saying. Not chronologically by what the clock is saying.
We look at the color of the lean. This is a nice, bright cherry red color.
Older animals will have darker lean. This is definitely a younger animal by just looking at that lean itself, that's the meat. We also look at skeletal maturity. As you can see, these are called feather bones right here. If you squint, and use your imagination it looks like half of a feather. Feather bones. Can you see these little bits of white at the tips here? That is cartilage. It's not yet bone. As an animal gets older that will become bone. The
next specs that we have are actually sizing specs that were put into place in 2007, primarily for the food
service industry. We want a ribeye that's between 10 and 16 square inches. I'll give you an example of
that. Everybody see this? The green line on the inside is 10 square inches. The blue line is 16 square
We'll set that on the ribeye and see if we're between that. Do you see we're in between? It's very close
to 10 but it as least larger than 10. That's to keep the steak sizes consistent. You wouldn't want a 20 inch
ribeye in a box with an 8 inch ribeye. Here what I'm saying? Because of the thicknesses of steaks that
you would have to get based on the weights that we sell them by. You sell them by 10 ounce, 12 ounce
steaks. We still sell them weight, not by dimension. We don't want carcasses that are too heavy. This
carcass has a [see video @ 00:07:26] carcass weight which means it was weighted on the harvest floor at
756 pounds. Half of that weight you see here, 325 pounds of it approximately. Or 375 pounds, excuse
We also want to make sure that we have less than an inch of back fat at this measurement right here. At
that point right there. That's definitely less than an inch. We want sufficient back fat to make sure that
this carcass doesn't chill too fast after the harvesting process because that could possibly cause some
toughening, but, we also want to make sure that we don't have too much because that's stuff that
you're going to have to throw away. We don't want to be doing that; it's yield. All right? The last
specifications we look for beef type of characteristics. Is this a nice round ribeye?
There's a lot of dairy cattle out there that are being harvested. Although the bull calves, if they don't go
to veal they'll be fed out and go to beef production. That ribeye's got to be about half that size and
really long. A lot of Prime cattle, USDA Prime cattle are Holstein.
That's very different from Certified Angus Beef Prime isn't it? Certified Angus Beef Prime is going to have
a nice round ribeye that's going to look nice on the plate. It's a very good presentation.
Outside of that we want to make sure that we don't have neck bump, this is the neck bump right here,
that exceeds 2 inches in height based on where it shows up and where it terminates. Draw a line right
there and that's to keep those Brahman cattle, the ones you see in the rodeos from getting into our
program. The last 2 specifications, no blood splash in the ribeye. Looks like bruising, little splotches of
bruising in the ribeye. We don't want that. It's not unsafe, it just doesn't look good and if you're going to
paying for a premium product it needs to look like a premium product. Then finally, no dark cutting beef
which means if I cut this ribeye and it didn't bloom up to that bright cherry red; which just means when
cut this, this is a dark color. As oxygen comes in and binds to those molecules in the ribeye, it's going to
brighten up just like rust. It's the same exact reaction.
If it doesn't bloom up there's a possibility that this could have been a dark-cutting carcass meaning that
the pH in that ribeye is not sufficient enough to get that nice, bright cherry red. It's a stress-induced
quality defect. An animal that's either physically or mentally stressed immediately prior to harvest can
possibly have that condition. It doesn't look good, it doesn't taste good, and you can have tenderness
issues we don't want. That's our 10 specifications.