TI 05. Carcass characteristics of Zebu-influenced, grass-fed steer and heifers and their relationships to eating quality of beef
Sensorial and shear force data of rib (longissimus) steaks from 261 Zebu-influenced, grass-fed steer and heifer carcasses were subjected to correlation analyses to study relationships of carcass traits to eating-quality attributes. Significant, positive relationships were found between external fat estimators and tenderness and flavor ratings, whereas marbling amount at the levels found herein (slight to practically devoid) was inversely related to tenderness, flavor and juiciness ratings. An adipose maturity score (5-point scale for fat color), used to adjust for a final maturity score/index, was significantly (r= 0.45) related to shear force. Since carcass quality indicators did not account individually for more than 20 % of the total variation observed in beef quality attributes, external fat measures and final maturity estimators should be used in conjunction to design carcass grading systems for zebu-type steers and heifers produced under grazing conditions.