FAQ: All About Certified Piedmontese Beef
Q I’ve heard that Certified
Piedmontese® beef is very lean, but still tender.
How can that be?
It’s because of the genetic
makeup of the Piedmontese breed. Without getting all
technical, Piedmontese cattle have an inactive
myostatin gene that results in the animals
developing quite a bit more muscle than other
breeds, but very little corresponding fat. Because
of that, and because of the muscle structure itself,
Certified Piedmontese beef is both lean and tender.
Q So, no marbling at all?
Well, it’s not accurate to say
that there’s absolutely no marbling. But there’s
very, very little; certainly nowhere near the amount
of fat one finds on standard beef. So instead of
paying for (and then eating) fat, consumers who eat
Certified Piedmontese beef actually get all
beef—lean, delicious, tender beef.
Q Where did the Piedmontese
breed come from?
The Piedmont is a region in
northwestern Italy. Over centuries of natural
evolution, cattle there developed into the “double
muscled” breed we now call Piedmontese, which were
first brought to North America in the late 1970s.
Q But doesn’t beef need fat
in order to taste good?
That’s always been the
conventional wisdom and in fact, that’s how the USDA
arrives at its beef grades: to some extent, the more
fat the higher the grade. But it’s not true in the
case of Certified Piedmontese. Try it—you’ll see.
It’s lean, tender, and nutritious, much better for
you than fatty cuts of beef. And it’s delicious.
Q A lot of companies
describe their products as “natural” or
“all-natural.” What does it mean when they say that
Certified Piedmontese cattle are raised “naturally”?
In the case of Certified
Piedmontese beef, it means exactly what it says: The
cattle are born and raised on open rangeland, fed a
pure vegetarian diet with no animal byproducts, and
are never given either antibiotics or growth
hormones. Of course, if cattle become ill and
require antibiotics, they are administered—but those
animals don’t become Certified Piedmontese beef. It
turns out that if you give cattle fresh air, lots of
space, and good food, there’s normally no need for
hormones or antibiotics. Certified Piedmontese
believes in being kind to the animals and also to
the land that nurtures them—and us.
Q What’s the big deal about
eating lean beef, anyway? Does it really make a
According to experts on health
and nutrition, yes. Eating too much saturated fat
can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular
disease. Meanwhile, over two-thirds of adults in the
United States are overweight or obese and need to
cut back on calories. Put simply, lean beef is a
healthier choice because it’s lower in both calories
and saturated fat. Instead, Certified Piedmontese
beef is good nutrition that tastes good:
protein-dense, high in omega-3 fatty acids, and low
in fat and cholesterol.
Q Do I need to learn to
cook differently with Certified Piedmontese beef?
It’s really not that different.
Just keep in mind that lean beef cooks more
quickly—some sources say in about two-thirds the
time you may be used to. Generally, you’ll also find
that cuts cooked rare and medium-rare are just about
perfect, even if you normally like them cooked to
medium. (Some experts suggest removing the Certified
Piedmontese beef from heat when your meat
thermometer reaches 120°F to 125°F and then letting
it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.)
Q Where and by whom are
Certified Piedmontese cattle bred and raised?
Certified Piedmontese cattle are
raised by family ranchers who have partnered with
Great Plains Beef and who must, as part of that
partnership, adhere to some very strict rules about
how the cattle are treated. Great Plains Beef feels
that only by using family ranchers can the animals
be given the sort of individualized attention that