Poultry & Meat

Wagyu Breeders Compete to Make Triple Crown Steak Challenge Top Cut

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Leading beef producers in the United States have entered a special competition organized to define the most outstanding ribeye steaks from Wagyu cattle bred and raised across the nation. The Triple Crown Steak Challenge combines advanced technology with the art of cattle raising to offer a new way to determine quality.

Five categories of excellence will be used to analyze each frozen ribeye steak entry, with contestants sending products to be judged to the Meat and Science Department at the University of Georgia, where they will be tested by Dr. Dean Pringle, president of the American Meat Science Association. A video of the testing will be available to view by anyone who signs up at triplecrownsteakchallenge.com.

Here are the five categories:

  • The Japanese Carcass Camera. New grading technology uses an app to turn a smartphone into a highly specialized carcass grading device. This digital technology reveals precisely how much marbling a piece of the famed beef derived from Japanese genetics may contain.
  • Complete Fatty Acid Profile
  • Total Lipid Extraction
  • The Warner Bratzler Shear Force test for tenderness (the breed standard)
  • A Professionally Trained Taste Panel

The scores compiled from all of the analysis will determine the Triple Crown winner and recipient of the $3,000 grand prize announced on November 17, 2020. Cash will also be awarded to the winner of each category.

Smartphone carcass grading camera

“Raising the bar beyond taste and using precise, objective scientific valuations are most important in proving the merits of a producer’s carcass, which, in turn, determines value. “The new Japanese phone app will open the door for all breeders to photograph their carcasses and have them graded to gain insight into their beef. The data gleaned from one photograph is immensely useful to breeders, producers, and consumers,” said Desi Cicale of the Hackleburg, Alabama-based Southern Wagyu Alliance, organizer of the Triple Crown Steak Challenge.

A unified grading system and a printout of the health benefits will provide consumers with verification of the various producer programs. The ultimate goal is to acknowledge the Champions of the Triple Crown Steak Challenge and educate consumers about Wagyu beef and its health benefits. The competition will also encourage consumers to buy Wagyu from the Steak Challenge entrants and connect them to local breeders in their area.

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