Megnut

david_burke_and_bull.jpg
Photo from The Land & Livestock Post

Chef David Burke spent a quarter-million dollars for a prize black Angus bull to produce offspring that become his restaurant's steaks. His goal is to produce consistent high-quality steaks. But (and here perhaps I'm showing my animal husbandry ignorance) the bull is only offering 50% of his genes. Doesn't the cow have to be high quality as well? In Thoroughbred racing, just siring by a big winner doesn't produce a new winner. So does this really produce great steaks every time? Maybe good steaks for eating aren't as hard to breed as good horses for racing. Anyone who actual does know about bull breeding care to enlighten me? [via Serious Eats]

There are 3 responses

The sire is important because it will mate with multiple cows. Therefore, generally, the offspring will be of higher quality. The difference between cultivation and thoroughbed racing is that in racing you need only one to be the best. In cultivation, you are probably siring a lot offspring so the individuals are not as important.

Doesn't really matter in who the father or the mother is if the offspring is a feedlot steer. Son of Prime will be a tasteless hunk of meat. A hunk of meat whose last six months will have been a confined nightmare of boredom, corn feedings and finally a factory death. Sure, it will be well marbled (heck, Prime won't be it's last name for nothing), but to no avail. Chef David Burke would have been better off spending his $250,000.00 securing a supply of grass-fed, grass-finished beef if he wanted really good-tasting beef. Of course, being a good cook doesn't mean you know good food.

Did you read Bill Buford's Heat? I finished it about a month ago and your post reminded me of the scene in which the bull that the somewhat famous Tuscan butcher Giovanni has purchased arrives on the farm (hilarity ensues), which leads into Buford ruminating with the very famous Tuscan butcher Maestro about what makes good beef, good beef. There too much there to get into details here (it's Chapter 27, if you have a copy), but the moral of the story is: "Not the breed but the breeding."

I recently reviewed the book on Scoboco, if anyone cares:
http://scoboco.blogspot.com/2007/05/heat-by-bill-buford.html

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