Differentiation of Beef Flavor Across Muscles and Quality Grades



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In an effort to increase beef demand, the beef industry has expanded beyond commodity beef merchandizing into value-added cuts. As these beef cuts are developed it is critical that the industry be able to characterize the flavor attributes of these products. A trained sensory panel is typically utilized to determine flavor characteristics of food products including beef. Prior to product evaluation, a product lexicon or dictionary of terms is developed in order to anchor and orient panelists to the various samples. Once the lexicon is developed, it can be used by a descriptive panel to evaluate samples. Currently, the beef industry does not have a full beef flavor lexicon with defined references; therefore a comprehensive sensory lexicon for describing the aroma and flavor of beef was developed by a 6-member panel at Kansas State University with extensive experience in lexicon development and descriptive analysis. Three descriptive panels utilized the beef flavor lexicon developed in Phase I by Kansas State University to evaluate the effect of USDA Quality Grade and cut on beef flavor and to validate the beef flavor lexicon to determine if it is ready for use by scientists. iv Results indicated that Choice steaks and roasts were higher in fat-like, and overall sweet flavor. Eye of round roasts were lowest in aroma and flavor attributes and bottom round roasts were highest in liver-like flavor. Flat iron steaks were highest in fat-like flavor compared to other cuts and top loin steaks tended to have the lowest intensity in flavor attributes compared to the steak cuts. The three sensory panels rated steaks and roasts similarly for aroma and flavor attributes and were generally less than 2- to 1-point different in rating intensities. The beef flavor lexicon was easily applied across the three institutions and should be ready to be used as a viable research and product development tool.