Production Methods and Meat Quality

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Full-flavored meat comes from animals that have led a full life. However, exercise and age also increase muscle fiber diameter and the cross-linking of connective tissue: so a full life also means tougher meat. In centuries past, most people ate mature, tough, strongly flavored meat, and developed long-cooked recipes to soften it. Today, most of us eat young, tender, mild meat that is at its best quickly cooked; long-cooking often dries it out. This shift in meat quality has resulted from a shift in the way the animals are raised.