The American Angus Association requires that farmers permanently mark their cattle in order to provide identification. Tattoos, freeze-brand marks and hot-brand marks all pass as acceptable forms of identification. The Association says that a proper mark is centered horizontally and placed in the upper third of each ear [source: American Angus Association].
Why Is Black Angus Better?
So you know Angus cattle are special in comparison with other breeds, but how does the meat compare to the meat from other breeds? Let's see if Angus beef is really worthy of the hype.
Certified Angus Beef standards were developed in 1978 in order to indicate a particular level of marbling, tenderness, age and color for the meat that qualified for the Angus Beef label. Angus Beef is known for its finely marbled meat, which means that the fat is dispersed evenly against the actual cut of meat. This marbling trait of Angus cattle typically creates a more tender, juicy and flavorful meat than other breeds [source: Straight Dope].
There are different categories and labels for the quality of Angus beef, which shows that not all Angus Beef is created equal. For instance, Certified Angus Beef is the highest quality because of all the rigorous standards it must pass to earn the label. Within this realm of definitions for beef quality, there are United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards. The terms for these are: prime, choice and select. Prime is the highest quality meat, therefore the best cut of meat you could get would be "Certified Angus Prime" [source: USDA].
Now you really understand what all the Black Angus hype is about. Next time you mosey over to the meat counter of your local grocery store, you'll be able to decipher which meat is best. Enjoy and check out the links on the next page for more information on Black Angus Beef.