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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Angus Productions Inc.

New Beef Products Add Value to Industry

New cuts from the chuck and round have added industry value.

by Kindra Gordon for Angus Productions Inc.


CASPER, Wyo. (Dec. 2, 2009) — University of Nebraska Meat Scientist Chris Calkins provided attendees of the 21st Range Beef Cow Symposium an overview of new beef product development during the past decade and how it has added value to the beef industry.


Chris CalkinsNew cuts developed by the Beef Innovations Group offer additional price points for steak on menus and at the grocery store, so price-conscious consumers can have the option of trading down to a cheaper beef cut, rather than trading out beef for a cheaper-priced protein, said UNL's Chris Calkins.Calkins first explained how the downward trend of cattle prices in the late 1990s prompted the need to re-evaluate the beef carcass and determine where opportunities to add value may exist. “The chuck and round weigh the most, but had little value,” he said.


Thus, beef muscle-profiling research was conducted at the University of Nebraska with beef checkoff funding to test individual muscles within the chuck and round for tenderness. That research revealed some of the most tender muscles of the carcass exist in the chuck and the round.


Calkins explained that through different cutting methods these muscles could be turned into individual cuts with added value. Examples include the flat-iron steak and petite tender from the shoulder clod in the chuck, Calkins said. “Now we have steak-quality items instead of using the entire chuck for ground beef.”


Calkins reported that response to the new cuts has been phenomenal during the last several years and has added 169 million pounds of steaks annually to the marketplace.


More recently, new cuts from the chuck roll are being introduced to consumers. Previously, the chuck roll was mostly used for roasts, Calkins explained, but with different cutting methods five new cuts have now been created. They include Delmonico steaks, boneless country-style ribs, America’s beef pot roast, the Sierra cut (similar to a flank steak) and the Denver cut (also a steak).


Calkins expressed particular enthusiasm for the Denver cut. He shared that it is the fourth most tender muscle in the carcass. “It’s an outstanding eating experience,” he noted.


Lastly, Calkins shared information about Beef Alternative Marketing (BAM) research that has been taking place. This research is being funded with checkoff monies and is addressing the issue of heavier carcass weights and the resulting steaks that are excessively large. “This research has identified an alternative cutting method that splits a cut like the strip loin to create 8- to 10-ounce steaks that are thick,” Calkins said. He explained that this helps maintain steaks that appeal to consumers, and helps make more steaks.


The new product research and the resulting products introduced are a “win-win-win,” Calkins concluded. “Consumers win, retailers win and ranchers win.” The new cuts offer additional price points for steak on menus and at the grocery store, so price-conscious consumers can have the option of trading down to a cheaper beef cut, rather than trading out beef for a cheaper-priced protein like pork or poultry.


“All of these new cuts are still gaining traction in the industry,” he added. “They are catching on and adding more value. And, our efforts will continue in looking for more new cuts.”


To download specific cutting sheets for the new cuts mentioned above, visit and click on the “Value Added Cuts” button. For more information about the muscle-profiling research, visit 

Editor’s Note: API's coverage of the event is made available for distribution to all media via an agreement with the Range Beef Cow Symposium Committee and API. Headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo., API publishes the Angus Journal, the Angus Beef Bulletin, the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, and the Angus e-List, as well as providing online coverage of events and topics pertinent to cattlemen through the API Virtual Library. For questions about this site, or to notifiy us of broken links, click here.