Cruachan Highland Cattle Header Text
Header Underline

Highland Steer — Tops in Taste Test

For the first time in the history of Royal Agricultural Society and Meat Industry Authority Taste Test Competitions a Highland steer won it. A 16 month old steer bred by Peter and Norma Knox of "Berrico", Gloucester, NSW, and led by Robyn Edwards of Wards River, was entered in the schools section of the 1993 RAS Gloucester Prime Beef Show. The 1993 show was the largest of its kind with 278 entries.

It out-performed many well known breeds and displayed outstanding eating characteristics to win the NSW Meat Industry Authority's Taste Test Competition by five points. The Authority believes that taste test competitions recognise and reward producer excellence and feel that through greater exposure they will improve producer competitiveness and ultimately improve consumer attitudes towards beef. (Also see more recent scientific results in the "Pure Highland Beef" Article)

WHAT IS A TASTE TEST?

The ultimate test of how well a piece of beef will satisfy the consumer is to subject it to a trained taste test panel. A taste test panel consists of at least ten people who have been trained to evaluate the tenderness, flavour, juiciness and general acceptability of a sample of meat cooked under standard conditions.

Samples from champion steers are sent to the CSIRO Meat Research Laboratory in Brisbane for assessment by the taste test panel.

Two additional measurements are made on the meat; a measurement of weight lost during cooking and a mechanical test of tenderness called the Warner Bratzler shear test (Peak Force).

How does a taste test panel compare to the average consumer?

Trained taste test panels do pick up differences that the average consumer would not pick up. For example, to most consumers a tenderness score of 4.0 or above is acceptable tenderness. Likewise a Warner Bratzler measurement of 6.0 or below would be quite acceptable to most consumers.

The average consumer may not pick up differences in juiciness and flavour that the taste panel were able to detect on these samples.

The most important criteria for Australian consumers is tenderness. If the meat is not of an acceptable tenderness then the juiciness and flavour are of little importance in determining overall acceptability.

The Highland carcass had the lowest cooking loss, and was ranked most tender and most acceptable by the taste test panel.

R Points from these ranking columns used to calculate score for overall ranking.

 

Overall Rank IDENT Breed of Cattle Cook Loss % R pH R IY R PF R Tender R Juicy R Flavor R Flavor R Total Points
3 902 Devon 27.2 10 5.49 9 2.98 3 3.27 3 7.44 3 6.11 6 5.00 10 6.78 3 25
1 903 Highland 15.8 1 6.5 14 4.56 10 5.18 10 8.44 1 7.11 2 5.56 4 7.22 1 18
4 508 B/Lim X H/ford 26.8 8 5.47 6 4.26 8 4.48 8 7.33 4 6.78 3 5.00 10 6.89 2 27
7 509 Lim/Angus X 27.9 13 5.45 2 4.05 6 4.15 6 6.56 6 5.89 9 5.00 10 6.33 5 36
2 112 Murray Gray X 27.4 11 5.48 7 2.43 1 3.26 2 7.56 2 5.89 9 5.67 3 6.11 7 23
6 1115 British White X 18.5 2 6.41 13 5.32 12 5.97 12 6.89 5 6.11 6 5.11 9 6.56 4 36
5 413 Limousin 23.2 5 5.52 12 3.02 3 3.79 4 6.22 7 5.78 10 5.89 1 6.00 8 30
8 415 Simbeef 27.1 9 5.46 3 3.68 4 3.97 5 5.78 9 5.33 12 5.78 2 5.44 9 37
11 801 Devon 19.0 3 5.53 11 2.91 2 3.25 1 3.56 14 6.56 5 5.00 10 4.11 14 44
9 806 Devon X 21.4 4 5.48 7 5.08 11 5.45 11 5.22 11 7.22 1 5.22 7 5.33 10 40
14 607 B/H X Ch 27.7 12 5.42 1 4.22 7 4.29 7 5.67 10 5.00 13 4.89 14 5.22 12 56
10 614 Simbeef 26.3 7 5.46 3 8.08 14 9.72 14 6.00 8 5.67 11 5.56 4 6.22 6 43
12 212 Red Angus 23.5 6 5.49 9 6.30 13 7.58 13 4.33 13 6.78 3 5.22 7 5.33 10 46
13 1214 Simbeef 28.9 14 5.46 3 4.34 9 4.55 9 4.89 12 5.00 13 5.44 6 4.56 13 53

Overall Ranking

The rank order (1 = best, 14 = worst ) is based on the Warner-Bratzler peak force, tenderness score, juiciness score, flavour score, and panel overall organoleptic acceptability. 350g samples were cooked at 80°C for one hour.

R Points from these ranking columns used to calculate score for overall ranking.

 

Tender = Tenderness 9 = Very Tender 1 = Very Tough
Juicy = Juiciness 9= Very Juicy 1 = Very Dry
Flavor = Flavour 9 = Very Strong 1 = No Flavour
Accept = Acceptability 9 = Very Good 1 = Very Poor
  • IY = Initial Yield. PF = Peak Force
  • IY & PF are cutting forces needed to slice a given area of meat along and across the grain or fibre of the meat.
  • There are two pH peaks for maximum tenderness, 5.4 & 6.4. CSIRO prefer the lower value.
  • Organoleptic means: Meat appeal to touch, sight, taste, smell. (sensory appeal)