Great Plains Beef

FAQ: All About Certified Piedmontese Beef

Q I’ve heard that Certified Piedmontese® beef is very lean, but still tender. How can that be?
A 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?
A 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?
A 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?
A 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”?
A 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 difference?
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?
A 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?
A 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 they require.