aged beef

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by steff bugielski, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,830
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    We slaughtered our steer over the winter. We did not allow it to hang for long due to the weather. I find the meat although very tasty, somewhat tough. Is this due to not letting it age long enough.
    steff
     
  2. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Montana
    We hang ours for 21 days...and have still had a tough one or two. Hold old was he and what was he finished on, and for how long?
     

  3. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,830
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    He was 10 mnths old and had been pasture fed since the summer.
    steff
     
  4. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Montana
    Probably pretty lean beef?. Cant say I have had anything that was grass finished before. We generally do 45-60s (days) on corn. What breed was he?
     
  5. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,830
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    holstien. would the corn increaseing the fat content have anything to do with it being tough?
    steff
     
  6. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Montana
    Yes.

    A holstein is pretty tough to get good marbling on. You would spend a lot of corn money doing so. They just tend to grow frame.

    I knew a guy years ago that had a feedlot and had holsteins. He haylage finished them. Too look at them, you would never know they were a 'finished' beef.

    Best and fastest fattening seem to be a baldy heifer.
     
  7. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Marbling is different than tenderness. Marbling adds juiciness and flavor. Tenderness is affected by age, genetics and processing. Since he was so young, my guess is that the lack of hang time is the problem. My butcher hangs them 10-14 days.

    Jena
     
  8. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    16,540
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    We have longhorns and they would be similar to the holsteins in some ways. I find that it is nice to get a 14 - 21 day hang but if you can't for some reason, cook your meat carefully. Never over cook it and in my experience, if you sear the meat (all sides in the case of roasts) and then cook, it tends to be not so tough. If you're one of those very well done people, you'll struggle with the meat because in the leaner cattle there seems to be a high moisture content in the meat and as soon as you dry it out it toughens up.
     
  9. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Montana
    Marbling will still add to tenderness, although its major purpose is like you say, flavor.
     
  10. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,830
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    OK I am ready to get my next calf. I do not wish to keep it much longer than 1 yr. I will spend more to feed it than it is worth. Correct. I am raising my own so I know what it and I am eating. If I can get it right I could sell off some of the better cuts to pay for some of the feed. Can you give me an idea of what he should eat once he is off the bottle. I could feed grain, hay and or pasture. Do you think I would have a better tasting meat if he were older or is hanging still going to be needed in that duration.
    thanks for all your advice. I really want to have my own meat, but if noone but me likes it it is not worth my effort.
    steff
     
  11. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,104
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Location:
    TN
    Grain fed usually tastes better to Americans because thats what we're used to. Google the health benefits of grass fed beef vs. grain fed. It's amazing. And grass fed tastes better after you get used to it, not so greasy.
     
  12. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Montana
    Personally, I wouldnt get a holstein. I would stick to an angus, hereford of a baldy (a cross between angus and hereford only).
    Buying one that is going to be bottle fed is going to set you back for the first few months. A bottle fed wont perform or gain like a nursing calf will. Then again, you will pay a lot more for a weaned calf. I am not saying it wont work, it will. You just wont have the blossom like in a nursing calf.
    Once he is of the bottle you could start him on a little oats, to get him used to eating grain, without doing any damage. You could then pasture him and mix some corn in with the oats and generally get him over to corn. Ground corn with the cob would be good at this age.
    I would pasture him for the summer. Then in the fall see what his weight is and possible start sticking straight corn to him. 60 days should give you a nice finish, if you start off with a nice calf and not some cull.
    There are a million ways to do it. This is fairly cheap to do. You could also introduce him to haylage/corn sileage after he has some age on him. You must have sileage in your area, I would think. Do it all gradually though.
     
  13. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Messages:
    2,246
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    Location:
    Northeastern Minnesota
    My Indiana Grandfather used to say that beef wasn’t “real” beef until it was at least 4 years old. He went on to say that the butchered beef needed to be hung for six weeks to ripen it. Of course, he was old school and thought that the then new circa 1940 idea of “baby beef” was ridiculous.

    When I was a young boy in the ‘50’s Daddy and Mommy would take the family to Grandfather and Grandmother’s house each fall for a few days to butch some hogs and a beef to be divided among the various families. The hogs were always great lard hogs that Grandfather called “baconers”, usually they were old sows weighing many many hundreds of pounds, and the steer would always be huge, big enough to dwarf the Holstein cows whose milk was the cash crop of the farm.

    I am not as knowledgeable as even the least among you when it comes to modern cattle techniques, nor as experienced as most of you when it comes to daily cattle husbandry, but I know what I know. An oxen, (a steer over four years old), will fatten on rough pasture that would starve a growing steer or heifer, while a “baby beef” is still growing a frame and if one wants to fatten them it’s grain or forget it. It’s simple math: if the beef in question is fully-grown it doesn’t take much feed for maintenance, add a bit more and the beef gets fat. If the beef is still a baby, they need as much high quality hay and pasture as they can get just to grow at a steady rate, and since these babies can only eat and digest so much, their grain allowance has to be increased, at the expense of roughage, to fatten them.

    Current studies have shown that tenderness is genetic. As some breeds have genes that make them longer, leaner, larger, and dwarfed; there is a gene for tenderness. If one’s cattle does not possess this tenderness gene, their beef will have to hang a few weeks to ripen.

    There is another issue for the beef producer; a pound of beef is only worth one unit of money. If beef be proper four year old beef the farmer will have far more time and money invested per pound than if the beef were of the inferior “baby beef” variety, but to the general public both types of beef should be worth the same unit of money per pound. To add insult to injury, the general public has been eating “baby beef” for so long that they no longer have a taste for proper beef and as a result older beef brings less money to the farmer.

    In my humble opinion, if one wants proper beef, keep the steer until he be at least a four year old oxen, and then hang him for six weeks to ripen. Or, lacking time and space, buy an old dairy cow, fatten her, and let her hang for 6 weeks. Either one will taste and smell better than anything one can find at the supermarket.
     
  14. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Montana
    Good point Haggis! The problem with that, or my suggestion even, is the risk involved. For example, a lighting storm at 2.5 yrs into the process. Or the steer getting hit by a vehicle, if you live near people.

    I think the best solution is to buy something out of a local feedlot, where you know what is going on. No risk involved.

    We raise a couple here every year for ourselves. It would still be less involved if we traded our ought from someone else.

    I would be curious to try some beef that is 4 yrs old, cant say I ever have. Haggis, what time is supper? *;o)

    Steff, I really think a heifer would do you better. It will feed it out faster as well as be cheaper to buy.
     
  15. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Messages:
    2,246
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    Location:
    Northeastern Minnesota
    I hope that I was making myself clear that the critter (the beef) was four years old prior to his or her making the transition from walking beef to beef for the table? Then hung and aged 6 weeks before being processed for the freezer.

    Opus if you're ever up here in Minnesota, you're always welcome to supper, and we'll have proper beef. (And a wee bit of 15 year old single malt to wash it down.)
     
  16. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Well I had a 4 year old cow. She was great, if you like shoe leather! Made good burger though.

    This is how I feed my calves. They get grass hay for 10 days after weaning. Then they get hay and corn silage for a couple months. Then I get rid of the hay and start adding corn/soybean meal feed. I get them up to about 10 pounds of grain a day, plus all the silage they want. Once they get 800 or so pounds, I up the grain to 20 pounds a day. I shoot to slaughter at 1000-1200 pounds.

    My butcher tells me that my beef would grade choice.

    Jena
     
  17. milkstoolcowboy

    milkstoolcowboy Farmer

    Messages:
    337
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    MN
    Steff, I know you want to raise your own, but I think you'd be further ahead in the long-run to find a guy around you who feeds cattle and have him sell you a finished steer. Especially if you find a small family or even just an older couple (like me and my wife), he ought to be able to pick a well-finished steer, you split the butchering costs and the wrapped beef. He'll sell it to you for lot less than the store price.

    I've got to go feed and milk. Get at some of those other questions later.

    Don't let these guys buffalo you about Holsteins. You can finish to grade choice, but they'll finish out heavy 1500+ lbs. and they won't grade out choice without some grain.
     
  18. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    17,240
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    A 10 month old 'stein is just going to be bone and sinew, especially pasture fed. A pasture fed critter should be at least 2 at slaughter, and should have about 60 days of a beef ration before slaughter.
     
  19. allen8106

    allen8106 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    KS

    Steff,

    I disagree that you will spend more than it is worth. I wouldn't trade one home grown steer for a dozen feedlot steers. Start with a good quality breed, Holsteins are not good beef cows. I usually raise Angus cross breeds. I recently read where Limousin have a very good feed to muscle conversion efficiency. Check out this link, http://www.nalf.org/why_choose_limousin/feed_eff.pdf.

    I have never raised Limousin but think I might try a few.

    Here is a little advise from a little guy who started where you are 9 years ago. I moved to the country for little piece of my heaven and decided to try and raise my own beef too. We got off to a bit of a rough start but have been doing it every since and refuse to purchase store bought beef anymore.

    If you want the best out of your home grown steer at the minimum of cost supplement your grass with grain and alfalfa hay. I have found that "grass fed" beef are not all they are cracked up to be. I personally suggest taking him off of the grass. Grain and alfalfa have more protein, which is what he needs to grow tender muscle which is your ultimate goal. Your local Co-op probably has a feed mill and can provide you with a reasonable grain mix, buy it by the 1/2 ton or more, it's cheaper that way. Just make sure they understand the steer will be raised for butcher. If you don't have a grain bin to store it in, four 55 gallon drums will hold 1/2 ton of grain. A good feed mill truck driver can dump it right into the drums when delivered without spilling more than a few pounds which you can scoop up when he's finished. The biggest issue with this is then you must wrestle them into the barn. If you can buy the hay by the large round bale and start him on it gradually, give him the hay free choice once he is used to it. Gradually get him started on the grain and feed him as much of it as he will eat morning and evening without having any left over at the next feeding. Once he is eating 10-15 pounds of grain at each feeding level off and keep feeding that amount twice a day until 60 days prior to butcher then bump him to 20-25 pounds a feeding. I have found that you get better beef by confining your calf to a corral of moderate size, this keeps him from getting too much exercise. Too much exercise toughens the meat. I keep 4-6 calves in a 30'x40' corral. Get another calf to put in with him. Beef will gain weight better with a little competition because they will each try to eat more than the other. This is not harmful just the natural way of things. Above all make sure he (they) have all the water they can consume. Most people will tell you to butcher at 900-1200 pounds. I don't have a scale big enough to weigh beef on so just feed him out untill he's 14-18 months old.

    Probably more than one person reading this will scoff at this plan but I assure you it will work, I have raised 16 head, 3-5 at a time, with success for myself and family members. My costs average about $2.00 a pound in the freezer. You won't buy a T-bone in the store for that. My only failure was drowning one of my first calves because when I force fed him electrolytes I didn't do it properly.

    Good Luck and don't give up, it's worth it.
     
  20. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,481
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    I'm not sure why some think that holsteins are not good for beef. I've raised a lot of bottle holsteins over the years and if they're raised and fed properly their beef is as good as anything.

    Grass-fed beef is healthier and higher in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids than grain-fed. And, yes, you can get marbled beef from grass alone, but it requires intensive management and very high-quality pasture. In order to marble on grass the calves must gain 1.8 lbs. per day or more. That's why I have to grain mine, because I simply don't have the pasture quality to provide that weight gain.