Oct 2, 2014
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U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

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The "Water-burg" Debate...Continued...

Oct 27, 2009
Editor's Note:  We continue to receive feedback regarding the amount of water found in ground beef...

   I am a beef producer on a very small scale.  I raise freezer beef and graze heifers for a dairy operation that is very close to us.  I think the answer to the question " Why does store-bought ground beef have more water when fried than farm-raised beef?" would lie in the amount of hang time the beef has before processing.  It also has alot to do with the flavor.  Several years ago I went to a program put on by Purdue University at Stony Pike Livestock Auction in Logansport, IN.  A local producer asked how long the beef hung at the Farmland Co-op beef processing plant (they had a representative at this meeting).  He said they had a building (in Olathe, KS) as big as a football field, four stories tall.  He continued to say if the beef was in that building more than a day from slaughter to final processing that would be about it.  At the local processor I use; the sides of beef hang seven to ten days before processing. My processor says; if he could' he would even let it hang longer.  But if he does mold would start to form and then the whole cooler would have to be disinfected or taken down to sub-zero temperatures to kill the mold.  I can tell you: That you can smell the difference in any cut of meat I have processed in this manor compared to the beef purchased at any large supermarket while it is begin cooked.  The taste is also amazingly better.  I wish that it was that I am the best beef raiser there ever was; but I do not belive that is so.  Even though my wife and I raise Natural Beef (with out any growth hormone); I really belive that most of the quality in the end product lies in the processing.  Most people can tell a distinct difference in Naturally aged steaks and steaks that never were aged.  Likewise they can smell and taste the "Beefyness"  of any cut of aged meat.  I think the longer hang time allows the adrenalin (that enters the muscles when the animals natural fear of the whole slaughter experience enters the muscles) to come out.  These are just my opinions; but I do believe they are fruit for thought. Thank you for your program.  I really enjoy all the great work you guys do.
Steve Woods
Bremen, IN  

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