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Angus Beef vs. Regular Beef

Whats the difference between Angus and regular beef? The simple answer is the type of cow that it comes from. An Angus steer will make a more well marbled piece of beef then your average cow. They are also a heartier bread which means typically they will need less antibiotics in their lifetime then a regular cow.

When I was growing up the only places you would find references to Angus were high end steak houses, now even McDonald’s has an Angus burger. So besides the price is there really a difference between Angus and regular beef? This seems to be a highly debated topic online and this answer will not sway the issue. My answer is sometimes. I have had Angus on many occasions in the form of burgers, hot dogs and steaks. I can taste the difference a lot of the time but sometimes I can't. My theory on this is that a lot depends on the source that you buy it from. If you are getting your your burgers or steaks from your local grocery store or chain restaurant chances are you will not notice much of a difference if any. While if you purchase it from a reputable butcher or a higher end restaurant there will be a noticeable taste and texture difference.

To be sure you get your moneys worth look for a CAB marking and the USDA Grade. CAB stands for certified Angus beef. CAB beef goes through a much more rigorous certification process then just the USDA grading process. This ensures a more consistently higher quality product. If you are purchasing lower USDA grades of beef such as Standard or Select you will find little difference between an Angus cut and regular beef. Where Angus really shines is when it is graded as Prime or Prime Plus.

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Angus hot dogs are an entirely different issue. As I stated in the previous paragraph the grade of beef makes a big difference. We all know hot dogs do not use high end grades or cuts of beef. However generally speaking it is safe to assume when you are purchasing a package of Angus hot dogs they are most likely using higher end other ingredients as well. Sometimes this combination really pays off in the flavor and sometimes it doesn't

Some of my favorite meats are Angus and we have purchased our fair share of Angus beef duds as well. So do not be afraid to experiment with various cuts and don't be afraid to ask people who work in the store about it. It has been my experience that if they speak highly of the product you will taste the difference.

About the author: Mike is the owner of, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member.

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