Researchers at the University of Missouri look at adding value to the chuck.
By: Jason Vance, University of Missouri
Removing value-added cuts of beef from the chuck increases profits for producers while offering consumers lower-cost, high-quality steaks. The meat that is left over is usually sold as ground chuck. Does removing those value cuts affect the quality of the ground beef?
Claire Ohman, a meat science graduate research assistant at the University of Missouri, looked at the overall color and odor stability of ground chuck when value cuts like the flat iron and Denver cut were removed.
"We processed 24 beef steers over five months, isolating the left and right chucks," Ohman says. Value cuts were removed from each animal's left chuck while the right chucks were processed in a traditional style.
The two blends of ground chuck were made into patties and then analyzed for color stability and odor.
"When consumers go to the retail case to purchase meat, the biggest factor in their decision is the color of the meat," says Carol Lorenzen, professor of meat science in MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "So this project looked at not only changes in overall color but also changes in the percent of discoloration over a seven-day storage period."
They found no differences in the color or odor profiles of ground chuck with and without the value cuts.
"This shows that we are maintaining quality ground chuck while improving consumer choice," Ohman says. "Consumers are able to purchase these new cuts at a lower price per pound than many of the steaks and roasts that have historically been on the market."
Funding for this research was provided by the beef checkoff program through the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.