The label “Angus beef” is omnipresent in grocery stores, fast-food chains, restaurants, and steakhouses. And while its popularity makes it a desirable choice for many consumers, is it the right choice for you?

It all comes down to the following 6 questions that you need to ask before opting for Angus as your beef of choice.

What Is Angus Beef?

If you decide to spend your hard-earned money on Angus beef, then you should at least understand what you’re paying for.

According to the Certified Angus Beef brand, “Angus is a breed, not a brand”. Angus is the name of beef cattle, originally bred from the Aberdeen Angus cow native of Scotland. There are 2 kinds of Angus: Black and Red, the latter is less popular than the former. The popularity of the Black Angus can be entirely attributed to one Hugh Watson. He is considered to be the first improver of the Aberdeen-Angus cattle, in the mid-1800s.

Watson was given a bull and 6 of the finest and blackest cows, by his father. After touring some of the most renowned Scottish cattle markets, he purchased more cows. Hugh was adamant about making his entire herd black, and he was successful at that. Angus beef made its way to the United States in the 1870s. Later in 1883, the American Angus Association was established.

The Certified Angus Beef brand insists that “All Angus beef is not created equal”. It sets strict standards for what it means to qualify as good Angus. Beef has to be sourced from cattle with specific genetic makeup: their hide should be 51% black or higher. These genetic differences drive the popularity of the Black Angus at the expense of the Red one. The American Angus Association doesn’t recognize the Red Angus. It even prohibits its breeders from registering their cattle with the Association.

How Is Angus Beef Different From Regular Beef?

We have 2 words for you: Marvelous Marbling. Angus cattle carry a substantially superior amount of intramuscular fat, in comparison to other cattle breeds. This excess of fat is what gives Angus beef the oomph that regular beef lacks. The marble pattern of fatty white flecks in a cut of beef elevates your eating experience into orgasmic transcendence. It’s what makes the steak succulent and rich in flavor.

Angus beef’s marbling may remind you of wagyu beef. Both Angus and Wagyu are distinguished by their high inlay of fat which might make them similar. However, Angus is sourced from a singular breed, while wagyu can be sourced from a wide range of different breeds. Not to mention the difference in the taste of both these kinds.

Photo by Brandon Morgan on Unsplash

How to Shop For the Best Angus?

With Angus being the popular choice for beef aficionados, many meat products are often marketed as Angus beef. But slapping the label Angus on meat can be deceiving for the buyer. After all, who knows if the beef you’re buying is mostly Angus or not? Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert to be able to make a good purchase.

The great majority of Angus produced is closely monitored by the American Angus Association. This organization holds a high standard for Angus meat and takes quality very seriously. That is precisely why superior quality Angus beef will be marketed as “Certified Angus Beef”. Certified Angus Beef is a brand created by the American Angus Association, to ensure quality and integrity.

Certified Angus Beef is graded by the USDA and must uphold quality standards of marbling, maturity, size, and appearance. The grading process is thorough and meticulous. So wherever you decide to buy your beef from, make sure your package has the “Certified Angus Beef” logo.

Is It Healthy?

‘Healthy’ has become a tricky word to define these days. The answer is neither yes nor no. A better question would be about the nutritional value of Angus beef. According to this data, a 112-gram steak provides 22 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat. Similar to other beef cattle, it provides many essential nutrients. Studies have shown it’s a great source of niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

So the answer depends on your own unique nutritional needs and preferences. For example, the high amount of fat due to its marbling makes it an excellent choice for someone who follows a keto diet. It fulfills the high fat criterion of keto and provides you with a decent amount of protein. If you fancy yourself some carbs, we recommend having your steak with an assortment of grilled veggies to balance your macronutrient intake.

You have the power to make Angus work for, or against you. So choose whatever floats your boat!

How to Cook It?

If you want specific recipes for Angus, then our advice for you is to check the Certified Angus Beef website. However, Angus or not, at the end of the day, beef is beef. There are no specific ways and/or recipes for cooking Angus. You can cook your meat however you like it. The limit does not exist.

As long as you season your meat well, you can grill it, roast it, or enjoy it however you like. If you’ve never cooked meat before, make sure to seek advice or look at our guide on the biggest mistakes to avoid when cooking steak.

How to Properly Store It?

Any beef regardless of its type or quality should be stored properly. Not storing it properly can make the meat go bad, and we don’t want that for you. So, to conserve your beef’s freshness, place it in an airtight container or package and put it in the freezer. This way you’ll be able to store it for months. Bear in mind that once your meat is thawed, it is best you don’t refreeze it again. This will prevent the production of bacteria.

If you don’t want to store your beef for an extended period, then store it in your refrigerator. Mind you, raw meat can be kept in the fridge for a maximum of 3 days.

It’s also necessary to know that hygienic practices such as washing your hands, using separate kitchen utensils, and maintaining a clean kitchen are paramount when dealing with raw meat.

Our Final Verdict

Angus beef will give you a bang for your buck and we vouch for it. We hope you enjoyed reading our mini crash course as much as we enjoyed writing it. Now that you have all your questions answered, you better get grilling!

Smoking Angus Beef Brisket
Photo by hz536n/George Thomas is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0