The checkoff-funded Beef Innovations Group (BIG) debuted six new cuts from the beef round at the first Innovative Beef Symposium in Denver, part of its effort to help meat processors, manufacturers, retailers, foodservice operators and cattle producers maximize yield, add versatility and increase profitability
"As the marketplace continues to evolve, it creates opportunities for new beef cuts to be used as a competitive advantage," says Jim Ethridge, senior director of the Beef Innovations Group for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, which contracts to manage new product development efforts for the Beef Checkoff Program. "Past work on the chuck subprimal had yielded benefits to all segments of the industry, and the muscles of the round offer the next frontier of innovation and additional value."
As a team of meat scientists and industry professionals that work together to inspire beef innovation, BIG has considerable experience working with the value-added cuts from processing to end-use application. More than 80 representatives from meat processors, packers and food manufacturing companies convened to learn how to fabricate, merchandise, menu and profit from the new cuts at the Symposium. Cutting guides and related marketing materials for the new round cuts will be available on www.beefinnovationsgroup.com by Sept. 30, 2010.
The six new cuts include a portfolio of lean steak and roast options suitable for retail and foodservice outlets:
Santa Fe Cut - similar to a flank steak, perfect for fajitas, stir fry or for shredded beef
Round Petite Tender - flavorful, best cut into medallion steaks, offers a restaurant-quality experience on a bed of pasta or a roast for two
San Antonio Steak - 1/2-inch lean steak, versatile and cooks fast, works well with a marinade
Tucson Cut - the perfect lean cut for foodservice operations looking for value
Braison Cut - ideal for any braising application and makes a great osso buco or pot roast
Merlot Cut - deep red color, lean and flavorful, ideal for a variety of ethnic dishes
In 2007, BIG began its mission to explore this underutilized subprimal, which represents 30 percent of the beef carcass. Since then, a team of meat scientists have been working on locating whole-muscle cuts. This effort leverages the checkoff-funded Muscle Profiling Research which aided BIG to uncover many successful cuts over the years known as the "Beef Value-Added Cuts," a line of beef steaks and roasts that allow consumers to enjoy more great tasting steaks and roasts that are easy to prepare and often moderately priced.
Several of these previously launched cuts have grown in popularity such as the Petite Tender, Ranch Steak, Flat Iron Steak and five cuts from the chuck roll, and are now being manufactured throughout the United States and sold through retail and foodservice outlets. CattleFax estimates that BIG's new product development initiatives have already resulted in an industry added-value of $50-$70 per head or $1.4 billion in annual sales. New cuts from the chuck roll and the round are expected to increase this number significantly as they enter the mainstream marketplace.