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VIDEO-Intro to Certified Angus Beef with John Stika, President

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  • Clint Cantwell
    AmazingRibs.com's Senior Vice President
    • Apr 2016
    • 55
    • Memphis, TN

    VIDEO-Intro to Certified Angus Beef with John Stika, President

    In the latest addition to our ongoing AmazingRibs.com Pitmasters Club Video Series, I sit down with John Stika, President of Certified Angus Beef (https://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/).

    During the interview and in the article below, we discuss the CAB brand including its history, the various steps that go into labeling beef with the Certified Angus Beef logo, and how that beef differs from other angus beef in the market.


    Growing up, steak night at my house meant paper-thin cuts of beef that were sold at a bulk rate discount from a Styrofoam tray at the market.

    Comprised of a 60/40 blend of meat and gristle, said steaks were completely devoid of beef flavor and became bone dry as soon as they hit the grill. While cost was certainly a part of the equation, the bigger issue was a general lack of beef knowledge among consumers.

    Take a look, for example, at the Better Homes and Gardens® Meat Cook Book from 1968 and you’ll find zero reference to beef grades, internal marbling, grass or grain finishing, or various other criteria used to judge beef quality. Instead, the entire education portion of the book’s “beef steak” section is comprised of a brief steak identification chart and a steak broiling chart (a 1 1/2 inch thick steak should broil for 14 to 16 minutes for rare in case you were wondering). Further hampering the consumer’s ability to turn out a great steak was the temperature guide, noting that a rare steak should reach an internal temperature of 140°F, 160°F for medium, and 170°F for well done.

    Thankfully, we as consumers have come a long way since those days. Whether it’s education-rich cookbooks such as Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling by our very own Meathead Goldwyn, the wealth of today’s food related television programming and websites, or cooking forums such as AmazingRibs.com’s Pitmasters Club, the amount of useful information now available has exponentially increased the home cooks’ ability to create restaurant quality steaks .

    You’ll still find those budget cuts of yesteryear in most grocery stores today, but you’ll also find labeling and signage designed to help step up your steak grilling game.

    Among the leaders in the beef education process is Certified Angus Beef® (“CAB”). Introduced in 1978 as a means of promoting beef with consistent quality from black Angus cattle, CAB is the only brand owned by the American Angus Association® and its farmer members. In order to earn the Certified Angus Beef ® brand name, cattle must first be Angus-influenced with a predominantly black coat. According to the brand’s website, “this black hair trait is a strong indicator of Angus genetics and has become the USDA standard by which cattle are considered for all Angus brands and products. Beef that qualifies for any Angus brand, including CAB, is determined not by pedigree, but rather by traits, like hair color, that are highly associated with the Angus breed.”

    But unlike the various generic Angus labels found at some retailers, meat marked with the Certified Angus Beef ® brand seal goes far beyond the breed by ensuring 10 exacting specifications have been met. Among those are the following:

    Marbling and Maturity
    1. Modest or higher marbling– total amount of overall fat marbling for the taste that ensures customer satisfaction
    2. Medium or fine marbling texture– distribution of the white "flecks of flavor" in the beef that ensure flavor and juiciness in every bite
    3. Only the youngest classification of product qualifies as "A" maturity– for superior color, texture and tenderness

    Consistent Sizing
    1. 10- to 16-square-inch ribeye area
    2. 1,050-pound hot carcass weight or less
    3. Less than 1-inch fat thickness

    Quality Appearance and Tenderness
    1. Superior muscling- to restrict the influence of dairy cattle in the breed
    2. Practically free of capillary ruptures- to ensure the most visually appealing steak
    3. No dark cutters- again, to ensure the most visually appealing steak
    4. No neck hump exceeding 2 inches- to safeguard against cattle with more variability in tenderness

    So where does CAB branded beef lie in comparison to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) beef grades such as Select, Choice, and Prime?

    While there is overlap between those grades of beef and premium brands like CAB, many of the standards above go beyond what the USDA looks for in beef. When monitoring beef processing, the USDA first inspects the meat for wholesomeness and safety, regardless of the grade or brand it may earn. From there, most beef is graded in order to provide consumers with an indication of its quality. USDA grades are primarily based on the amount of marbling – the small flecks of fat that melt during cooking and deliver flavor and succulence.

    CAB branded beef, on the other hand, must not only have at least as much marbling as the very best of USDA Choice or Prime, but must also meet the additional standards related to sizing, appearance, and tenderness.

    In all, the primary objective of the CAB brand and the ranchers it represents is to ensure that you are using the very best Angus beef each and every time you fire up the grill.
    Last edited by Clint Cantwell; December 7th, 2017, 12:51 PM.
  • BBQCentralShow
    Greg Rempe
    • Jul 2014
    • 363

    CAB is HQ'ed in Wooster...40 min from my house...STILL no invite!! LOL!!


    • FireMan
      Charter Member
      • Jul 2015
      • 6780
      • Bottom of Winnebago

      Once again the superb value of this site rears it’s head. Thanks much Clint.


      • Troutman
        Club Member
        • Aug 2017
        • 6611
        • Republic of Texallence

          22" Weber Kettle - Red Premium Limited Edition
          6 Burner Weber Summit Gasser
          22" and 18" Weber WSM Smoker
          18” Jumbo Joe
          36" double door Lyfe Tyme offset stick burner (SOLD !)
          Pitts & Spitts Pellet Pro 2436
          Classic Thermopen
          Thermoworks SMOKE
          Fireboard Pro with Pit Viper fan
          Grill Grates
          SNS for the 22" Weber kettle
          A-MAZE-N Smoker 12" Tube & Tray
          Weber stainless veggie basket
          Weber stainless fish basket
          Weber stainless rib rack
          Phat Mat cooking mats
          Barbestar BBQ Cooking Gloves
          For Beef (brisket, beef ribs, large clods/roasts) = 100% mesquite, oak or hickory
          For Chicken & other fowl = competition blend, cherry/oak/hickory
          For Turkey = 100% hickory or competition blend
          For Pork Shoulder = mesquite, oak or hickory
          For Pork Chops or Ribs = 100% applewood
          SOUS VIDE
          Anova Immersion Circulator 900 watt & 12 & 18 quart Rubbermaid containers with hinged sous vide lids
          Generic Calphalon non-stick cookware set of pots and pans
          12" & 14" All-Clad Stainless skillets
          Cast Iron 12" skillet by Victoria
          La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Yellow Round
          La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Cherry Oval
          Old Revere Wear Copper & Stainless Pots (handed down)

          JA Henckels 15 piece Stainless Knife Set
          Victorinox 12" Fibrox Pro Slicing Knive
          Victorinox 6" Curved Boning Knife
          Set of Dalstrong Japanese Steak Knives

        Video went blank when I tried to run it. I assume the article is the same information. My local butcher only sells CAB, always get premium cuts of meat, I'll remain a loyal customer.


        • Clint Cantwell
          Clint Cantwell commented
          Editing a comment
          Give it another shot. I think I corrected the issue.
      • Huskee
        Pit Boss/Manager
        • May 2014
        • 14059
        • central MI, USA
        • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

          Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

          Smokers / Grills
          • Yoder loaded Wichita offset smoker
          • PBC
          • Grilla Silverbac pellet grill
          • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (SnSK)
          • Dyna-Glo XL Premium dual chamber charcoal grill
          • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
          • Weber 26" Original Kettle Premium (black)
          • Weber Jumbo Joe Gold (18.5")
          • Weber Smokey Joe Silver (14.5")
          • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

          • (3) Maverick XR-50: 4-probe Wireless Thermometers
          • (7) Maverick ET-732s
          • (1) Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth (in box)
          • (1) Smoke by ThermoWorks
          • (1) Signals by ThermoWorks
          • Thermapen MkII, orange
          • ThermoPop, yellow
          • ThermoWorks ChefAlarm
          • Morpilot 6-probe wireless
          • ThermoWorks Infrared IRK2
          • ThermoWorks fridge & freezer therms as well

          • Instant Pot 6qt
          • Anova Bluetooth SV
          • Kitchen Aide mixer & meat grinder attachment
          • Kindling Cracker King (XL)
          • BBQ Dragon
          • Weber full & half chimneys, Char-Broil Half Time chimney
          • Weber grill topper
          • Slow 'N Sear Original, XL, and SnS Charcoal Basket (for Jumbo Joe)
          • Drip 'N Griddle Pan, 22' Easy Spin Grate, and Elevated Cooking grate, by ABCbarbecue
          • Pittsburgh Digital Moisture Meter

          • Favorite summer beer: Leinenkugels Summer & Grapefruit Shandy, Hamm's, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
          • Fav other beer: DAB, Sam Adams regular, Third Shift amber or Coors Batch 19, Stella Artois
          • Fav cheap beers: Pabst, High Life, Hamm's & Stroh's
          • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
          • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
          • Whiskey: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Blanton's, Old Forester 1870, Elijah Craig, Basil Hayden's. Neat please.
          • Scotch: Current favorite- The Arran (anything by them), Glenmorangie 12yr Lasanta, sherry cask finished. The Balvenie Double Wood, also like Oban 18yr, and The Glenlivet Nadurra (Oloroso sherry cask finished) among others. Neat please.

          About me
          Real name: Aaron
          Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

          • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

        Video not working for me either.

        Always had excellent results with CAB and Angus Pride myself.


        • kmhfive
          Club Member
          • Mar 2017
          • 3003
          • Northern Illinois
          • Weber Kettle -- 22.5" (In-Service Date June 2015)
            Slow-n-Sear/Drip-n-Griddle/Grill Grates (In-Service Date March 2016)
            Pit Boss 820 (Retired)
            GMG Jim Bowie WiFi (In-Service Date April 2017)
            Maverick ET-733

          Thanks for putting this information together. I always wondered, but never took the time to dig in like you have!


          • DWCowles
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 9760
            • Smiths Grove, Ky
            • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

            Thanks Clint


            • Jerod Broussard
              • Jun 2014
              • 9186
              • East Texas
              • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
                Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
                Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
                Weber One Touch Premium Black 26" Kettle (gift)
                Slow 'n Sear XL for 26" Kettle (gift)
                Weber Smokey Joe Gold
                Weber Rapid Fire Chimney
                Maverick ET-732 White
                Maverick ET-732 Copper
                2- Auber SYL-1615 fan systems(Awesome!!!!!!!!)
                Thermoworks Thermapen w/ Back light (gift)
                Thermoworks Timestick
                Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
                B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
                B & B Pellets

              If I'm doing pulled Chuck, from Wolly World it has to be Certified Angus or some variation. If I'm just doing a pot roast in the oven, any ol' chuck roast will do.
              Last edited by Jerod Broussard; December 7th, 2017, 09:00 PM.


              • Danjohnston949
                Former Member
                • Dec 2014
                • 4437
                • 1410 9th. St. N, Fargo ND

                The NDSU BBQ BOOTCAMP this Past Summer Was Held at The NDSU BEEF RESEARCH CENTER FEEDLOT❗️ Considerable Efffort is Expended to the Development of BLACK BALDIES (50%/50%) Black Angus/Hereford Cross Breeds❗️ Typically the Baldy has Higher Meat Yielding Carcus than either the Black Angus or the Hereford‼️ The Baldy also has a Better Feed to Weight Gain Ratio thus Lower Cost Beef Productin‼️ The Baldy is Marketed as a Certified Black Angus‼️ At a Live Weight of 1250 Lbs‼️
                From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan

                Click image for larger version  Name:	image.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	1.86 MB ID:	424115Click image for larger version  Name:	image.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	2.49 MB ID:	424116Click image for larger version  Name:	image.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	1.32 MB ID:	424114Click image for larger version  Name:	image.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	1,021.1 KB ID:	424113Click image for larger version  Name:	image.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	1.59 MB ID:	424117
                Last edited by Danjohnston949; December 16th, 2017, 05:40 AM.


                • Skip
                  Founding Member
                  • Jul 2014
                  • 2559
                  • Blue Earth, Minnesota
                  • Memphis Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates

                  Danjohnston949 you bring up an interesting subject on the Black Baldies. My Brother in Law fed cattle for many years (50 or more?) and he often talked about them. If I remember right he liked BB a lot.


                  • Danjohnston949
                    Danjohnston949 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Skip, My Dad was as Well! In the Late 60's - Early 70's, Mom and He Had a Small Town Meat Market (Rolla ND) and a Feedlot❗️ I recall Dad going on at Length that the Black White Faced Cattle were the Most Profitable from Both the Carcus Yield and Feed to Weight Conversion Standpoints❓
                    8th Grade Education and No Computer❓
                    🎄🎄 Happy Hollidays‼️ 🎄🎄
                    From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan
                    Last edited by Danjohnston949; December 16th, 2017, 09:20 AM.



                Meat-Up in Memphis 2020

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