Makin’ the Grade

Greetings Carnivores,

Here’s a tidbit I’ll bet you didn’t know … in Canada, the inspection of meat for human consumption is mandatory BUT … the Grading process is not. Grading is only compulsory when it’s shipped outside the Province (I’m speaking for Canada because that’s where I live), any Province or State can set up it’s own systems for meat marketed within it’s boundaries. Only meat that has first passed a health inspection may be Graded. Ok so, … the Grading of meat is basically the consumers guide to quality but, you have to know HOW the Grader assesses the carcass otherwise the information is very confusing. Here’s the low down on Grading a Beef carcass in Canada

1. Age of the animal.
The age of an animal affects the tenderness of the meat therefore, the Grader checks the cartilage ‘buttons’ on the ends of the feather bones to determine their degree of ‘hardness’. The feather bones are flat bones with cartilage tips, found on the top (dorsal) or back of the spine in the shoulder and rib section.
2. Quality.
The grader looks at the colour and texture of the bone, fat and lean. He also checks to make sure the carcass has a desirable amount of marbling, essential for flavour.The third point a Grader checks is The amount of meat a carcass yields. The MOST important factor in checking the yield is a measurement the Grader makes of the fat covering on the fourth quadrant of the rib eye, between the 11th and 12th ribs.
Ok, … before you all bent out of shape about the “fourth quadrant … blah, blah, blah” … here’s the skinny. Draw, or imagine an oval, split it in half then draw two more lines to ‘quarter’ it. Now, looking at your oval, imagine this is a rib eye steak and, moving from left to right the Grader measures the overall fat thickness on the 3rd ‘quadrant’ of this “oval” (rib eye). See ? Easy peasy ! It’s THIS measurement that indicates the amount of marketable meat on the carcass.

Until next time Carnivores stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook

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