« Insights > Agribusiness / Agriscience

Rancher’s Now Being Judged Like Wine Producers

Admin | 03.10.2013

The American Royal began in a tent at the Kansas City Stockyards in 1899 and has evolved into the annual American Royal Livestock Show.  In 1980, the show held an inaugural event known as The American Royal World Series of Barbeque spread over 20 acres of Kansas City’s historic Stockyards District.

The American Royal began in a tent at the Kansas City Stockyards in 1899 and has evolved into the annual American Royal Livestock Show.  In 1980, the show held an inaugural event known as The American Royal World Series of Barbeque spread over 20 acres of Kansas City’s historic Stockyards District.

Last year a new competition was added to the American Royal that gives ranchers a “steak” (pardon the pun), in what is now known as the American Royal Steak Competition.  The new event seems to reflect a growing trend among meat connoisseurs and small cattle-producers that the experience of eating high quality beef can rise to the level of drinking a fine vintage wine or savoring a rare Ethiopian coffee.

Judges for the Royal Steak Competition included the likes of Tess Aldredge, sensory and consumer scientist at spice producer McCormick & Co.; Ed Holland, food division president for Treat America Food Services; Mike Deering, executive vice president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and Mark Schatzker, author of “Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef”.

The steak competition takes place in a windowless room at a satellite campus of Kansas State University.  Two weeks prior to the competition, just under three dozen competitors submit their boneless rib eye steaks that are frozen in dry ice.  To ensure consistent cooking temperature, each steak is cooked on a George Foreman grill to an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Wall Street Journal ran a front page story of this phenomenon in their Weekend edition for September 28-29, 2013 issue.   Competition judge Ed Holland was quoted in the story as saying that he found tenderness to be essential, with the mouth feel of the meat setting up everything that followed.  Holland’s favorite steaks had a flavor that was buttery and reminiscent of a really good brown beef gravy.

This new competition now acknowledges not just the chef, but also the rancher’s role in how the beef was raised.  The ongoing debate over grain and grass fed beef means that steaks in the competition are judged in separate categories.  Mark Schatzker was quoted as saying, “Steak can be a product of the land where it was produced, and the people who made it.  I think more people are waking up to that.”

Insights

Top