Current Progressive Cattle digital edition

How variety meats add global appeal of U.S. beef

Published on 24 July 2013

Sometimes I think the U.S. consumer could learn a lot from international markets, especially in how we eat protein.

While we enjoy the quality and affordability of U.S. beef seen in lean muscle cuts, high-value cuts like the rib eye, tri-tip, and tenderloin, the appeal of U.S. beef goes much deeper for foreign buyers.

To meat consumers in Asia, for instance, the short rib and tongue have enormous popularity. Middle East buyers value kidneys and livers. In Mexico, the consumer wants tripe and even the lips.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation explains in a news release that those trade values will fluctuate according to access to certain markets. The floor on livers dropped this year, for example, when Russia - a popular destination for those products - created a trade limit on U.S. beef. Japan's prices for tongues, however, jumped when that country started allowing beef up to 30 months of age.

The key factor through this is how valuable so many parts of the beef carcass are to many buyers. On the culinary side, there are many chefs, Anthony Bourdain and Fergus Henderson being two, who don't hide from using offal cuts of animals for nutritious meals. Many call this trend Nose to Tail eating experience. Fact is, we Americans are late to the party since we eat so little offal.

And that's as it should be. If we are in the business of producing and consuming livestock - we should utilize as much of the animal as possible to feed the population. As chef Daniel O'Brien told NPR, "If you're going to cook an animal, you should make sure you utilize all the parts. It's your responsibility."

So who's up for tongue, tripe and roasted beef bone marrow? Trust me, don't knock it 'til you try it. end mark