The Black Angus cattle are one of the most popular breeds currently in the United States and is sometimes referred to as the Aberdeen Angus. This type of cow normally brings the most money at sales across the country.
History of the Black Angus
The Black Angus originally came from Northeastern part of Scotland and the first of this breed made its way to the United States in 1873 via a rancher in Kansas. They are sometimes crossbred with the Texas Longhorn breed of cattle which then makes them hardier and able to better withstand winter weather.
While the Black Angus seems to be the most desirable among ranchers, the Red Angus is also popular with some to the point that the Red Angus Association of America was formed in 1954. The advocates for the Red Angus versus the Black Angus tout the breed as having the same attributes as the Black Angus but say that the Red Angus have a higher tolerance for heat. Regardless of the color, the Angus is now the top beef breed in America.
Top Qualities of Angus
Some of the top qualities that people enjoy about the Angus breed of cattle is the fact that they are hornless, birth calves easily, have a high carcass quality, their black color brings in more money at sales, and Angus bulls are also in demand to be mated with dairy cattle to produce beef calves. Many ranchers also enjoy the fact that Angus cattle have a good-natured, calm temperament.
Angus cattle are also very healthy and less likely to contract illnesses, including pink eye, sunburns, and cancer, because of their pigmented skin. The downside is that there can be some genetic defects within the breed such as extra legs, excessive bone formation, and dwarfism.
There are many pros when it comes to Angus cattle, including the fact that they are readily available since there are many Angus breeders and producers throughout the county. They are also very tough cattle and can adapt to different conditions quite easily. They live for many years and are very fertile, producing very vigorous calves with ease. The females are wonderful mothers to their calves and need minimal care. They normally bring premium prices at auctions and sales.
The standards for certified Angus beef were created in 1978 to be able to easily indicate the level of tenderness of each cut of meat as well as the age and color for the meat. It was also developed to indicate the level of marbling and Angus beef just happens to be known for its very finely marbled meat. This indicates that the fat in the meat is dispersed evenly throughout each cut which creates a much more tender piece of meat that is juicy and offers a very wonderful flavor more so than other breeds.
Within the certification process, there are a variety of categories and labels for the quality level of Angus beef because not all Angus beef is created equally. For example, Certified Angus Beef is the highest quality beef there is because of all of the very strict standards it must meet to earn that particular label.
There are also different requirements for beef quality that Angus beef must meet under the standards of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It can be labeled prime, select, or choice, with prime meaning the highest quality of meat that would be marked as Certified Angus Prime.
Branding the Beef
The American Angus Association has put out several requirements that farmers must meet. They must permanently mark their cattle in order to provide the proper identification which can include freeze-brand marks, hot-brand marks, and even tattoos. This helps the farmers keep track of the quality of each cow which will then help them in the process of better identifying which type of Angus beef it is when it goes to market.
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What is Special about Black Angus Beef?
Black Angus cattle must pass several tests to qualify as Black Angus while they are still alive which is the reason for the branding. Once they are slaughtered and become cuts of meat, there are high-quality standards they must pass to be able to be branded accordingly. The same independent USDA graders also make it a point to inspect black-hided cattle, which is the color of the Black Angus breed’s hide, then provide it with a grade level. This is where the labels of prime, the best choice, etc. come into play.
Prime is always the top level when it comes to the quality level of the meat. There are a total of 10 specifications that are based on science that need to be met and graded, including the marbling of the meat, the size of the cut, and the uniformity. This means you can be assured when purchasing Black Angus meat, that it is of the best quality possible.
You should also ensure that are purchasing your Black Angus meat from a reputable cattle breeder or producer to ensure top-quality cuts for you to enjoy and savor with friends and family. If you enjoy tender, juicy, tasty steaks, you may want to try out a Black Angus steak since they are delicious. You may want to grab a few steaks that are labeled Certified Angus Prime to ensure you are getting the highest quality of meat and remember to buy from a trusted supplier to ensure the very best taste and quality.