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Composition and Structure of Meat

Meat is the flesh of an animal used for food according to “the little oxford dictionary”. The connective tissue cells are joined together into bundles by two types of connective tissue. White and yellow connective tissue, the white connective tissues are called collagen, is found in all the muscles of the animal; it is dominant in the more tender cuts of meat.

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Yellow connective tissue; called elastin, it is predominant in the muscles which carry the heaviest load of constant strain and work.

The fat on the outside of an animal’s muscles is called cover. The fat which lies between the bundles of muscle fibers is called marbling. The positive nutritive value of meat is in the lean tissue and not in the fat. The amount of marbling in the meat and between the connective tissues is a very important factor in meat since it creates the bite or chewability looked for in cooked meat.

The white connective tissue breaks up and becomes moist in cooking, whereas the yellow connective tissue requires mechanical means of tenderizing such as pounding, cubing, or grinding. The younger and less exercised an animal is, the less yellow connective tissue it will have and the tenderer its meat will be. Meat is composed of 75% Water, 5-40% Fat, 5% Minor components, Minerals (especially iron), enzymes, and pigments.

Grading of beef. The grading of beef is dependent on the Feed, which means that the food the animal was consuming before it was slaughtered, affects outer surface fat and muscle marbling, Age at Slaughter, Breed and breeding History which refers to Hereford vs. Angus vs. Longhorn. Grades of beef * Prime- More Favorable and tender, which has a lot of marbling, * Choice and select- This is the leaner part of the meat * Standard, commercial and utility- An average to good quality, flavor, and tenderness. * Canner and cutter-Used in canned and processed meat purpose. Market forms of meat