Is Angus Better Than Regular Beef

What exactly is Angus beef?

Any beef that originates from the particular breed of cattle known as the Angus is referred to as “Angus.” Angus comes in two varieties: Red Angus and Black Angus, both of which have Scottish ancestry.

According to the American Angus Association—which claims to be the largest beef breed organization in the world—a Scot named George Grant imported four Angus bulls from Scotland to Kansas in 1873, where he cross-bred the naturally-hornless, black-hided bulls with Texas longhorn cows. The Angus Association asserts that the original bulls came from the herd of a man named George Brown from Westertown, Fochabers, Scotland—to be specific. Also, the breed used to be called Aberdeen Angus, but some of the Scottish roots seem to have been lost through the whims of beef marketing interventions.

In the end, the black cattle proved to be incredibly hardy; they fared better over the winter than other breeds without experiencing significant weight loss. Additionally, Grant’s legacy endured despite his passing a few years after coming to the US. Twelve hundred Scottish Angus cattle were brought to the Midwest between 1878 and 1883. It is currently the most prevalent breed of cattle in the nation that produces meat.

In 1978, a group of Midwest ranchers formed the Certified Angus Beef brand, setting up an organization to give specific certification to some Angus producers. This label has nothing to do with how the animals are raised or fed. To get the Certified Angus classification, a producer must meet ten standards related to tenderness, marbling, and flavor.

Additionally, you might want to consider the methods used in the meat’s raising (such as whether antibiotics were used or if the beef was fed corn or grass).

Layering slices of cheese on a burger is great and all, but any true cheeseburger aficionado knows that the pinnacle of the form is the almighty Juicy Lucy. For the uninitiated, that’s where you sandwich a stack of American cheese between two seasoned ground beef patties to create a thick patty with a gooey, melty, oozy hot cheese core. Get our Juicy Lucy Burger recipe.

Ground beef may not be the most exciting cut at the butcher counter, but you’ve gotta love its versatility. It’s best-known for burgers, of course, but it’s equally essential in such favorites as smoky chili, spaghetti and meatballs, and shepherd’s pie. Point is, while the cut may be basic, the dishes it’s used in are far from boring. Just take these classic Argentinian beef empanadas for example: Ground beef is mixed with cumin, pimento-stuffed green olives, currants, bell pepper, and honey to create a delectable sweet-savory stuffing for the buttery, flaky pastry pockets. Get our Beef Empanadas recipe.

Taco-bout a craveworthy dish: slices of grilled flank steak that have been basted with chiles in adobo sauce and sweet caramelized onions wrapped in a warm corn tortilla. Enough said. Get our Chipotle Beef Tacos with Caramelized Onions recipe.

If you’re thinking, “Whoa, that’s it? I thought it also meant something about the superiority of the beef,” trust me, you’re not alone. And we can thank the cunning of the food industry marketing machine for that. (Sort of like how Japanese wagyu refers to any beef from Japanese cattle while kobe beef refers to something rarer—but that’s a whole separate issue.)

2. The Certification Process Involves 10 Steps

To become certified, the meat from a Black Angus cow has to go through a ten-step qualification process. These steps include:

  • Modest or higher marbling
  • Medium to fine marbling texture
  • 10-16 square inch ribeye
  • Hot carcass weight of 1,050 or less
  • Fat thickness of less than one inch
  • Cattle harvested less than 30 months of age
  • Visual appearance is not dark
  • No capillary ruptures
  • No neck humps
  • High-quality muscling

Those are some strict standards!