Jeffrey W. Savell
The “Texas Perception Study: Evaluating Beef Based on Geographic Origin” was commissioned by the Texas Beef Council in 1996 to explore the palatability of beef from Texas compared to that originating from plants outside of Texas — Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas. At the time, beef from Texas was discriminated against in the marketplace because it was perceived to be of lower quality due to breed types, feeding regimens, and other alleged shortcomings.
This work was conducted by meat scientists from Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, and the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center at Clay Center, Nebraska with collaboration from H-E-B Grocery.
Here is the executive summary of the research along with the link to the pdf of the Texas Perception Study
Six hundred beef loin, strip loin samples were obtained from six major packing plants, three of which were located in the state of Texas and three from outside of Texas. Fifty samples from USDA Choice and 50 from USDA Select were selected from each site (n = 100 per plant). Strip samples were aged for 14 days and then frozen before being cut into 1-inch beef loin, strip loin steaks for Warner-Bratzler shear force determination.
- The interaction between plant Location and USDA Quality Grade was found to be significant. There was no difference detected between Texas Select, Texas Choice, and Out of Texas Select for Warner-Bratzler was more tender than both Texas treatments, but was not different in tenderness than Out of Texas Select.
- Least squares means for all treatment groups were found to be well within the acceptable range of tenderness with the highest value being for Texas Choice at 7.24 pounds and the lowest for Out of Texas Choice at 6.41 pounds.
- When considering the distribution of shear values over 8.5 pounds, 12.8% of all steak fell into this range. The highest percentage of these were found in the Texas Choice wit 41.33%, followed by both Texas Select and Out of Texas Select with 22.67%, and finally Out of Texas Choice with 13.3%
- Of the four groups evaluated, Texas Choice was the least desirable in terms of tenderness as determined by Warner-Bratzler shear force. However, it is important to remember that overall eating satisfaction is made up of more than just this one component. Juiciness, flavor, and other eating characteristics also play an important role in the overall acceptability of beef steaks.
- Although statistical differences were found between the different treatment groups, the entire range of least squares means (.816) shows ver little practical difference. In the case of Texas Select and Out of Texas Select, less than 1/4 pound shear value separates the least squares means. In addition, in these two groups, very similar distributions of Warner-Bratzler shear force values can be seen.
- Out of Texas Choice was found to be more tender than Texas Choice and Texas Select, but all other treatments were found not to differ in terms of tenderness. When coupled with the fact that 84% of all steaks evaluated from Texas fell into a range of 8.5 pounds or less (91% of Out of Texas were in this same range), labeling all Texas product “Tough,” or all Out of Texas “Tender,” is not valid.
- The majority of steaks coming from Texas are acceptable in tenderness. The challenge is to identify those outliers which are unacceptably tough and eliminate them from the system.
- A tenderness-based classification system would eliminate problems with the perception of tenderness by identifying the actual tenderness and enabling it to be marketed as such.
Published May 20, 2020