AAA Beef 101
Agriculture represents Alberta’s 2nd leading industry, the majority of which is based on cattle operations. The balance is comprised of grain, poultry, pork and other forms of farming.
Cattle prefer and thrive on climates native to Canada and particularly Alberta. They stress easily under higher heat temperatures found in our competing countries due to their large body mass. Our vast, natural and plentiful grasslands with ample water supply assist with raising superior renowned Alberta Beef.
What makes our beef special? A major reason is the way we finish our beef with grain. Western Canadian beef is famous for its flavour, texture and quality, and grain is certainly part of the equation. Research has shown that consumers prefer tender, juicy beef with the firm, white fat cover of grain fed cattle. Finishing is vital to the marbling, flavour and texture of the end product. Barley finishing has proven to yield a larger amount of “marble”, the fine white fat particles viewed in the meat that dissipates when cooked providing superior flavour and tenderness to the end product.
The score or grade of beef is a result of marbling in the cut. Certified Angus Beef represents the highest quality of beef exceeding standards for USDA Prime, Choice and Select grade beef. Only 1 in 4 Angus-Influenced cattle earn the Certified Angus Beef brand.
Sawmill beef is aged 28 days. Aging is a costly process but this time breaks down enzymes in the meat, ensuring top quality product. In an effort to reduce costs, some operations will serve beef with 7 to 21 days age which results in a cheaper but less palatable meat.