Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Red Wine Beef Debate: Resolution...YES!!!

After reading much on the debate of the new Semznu Meats "red wine beef" topic, I felt it was time to get to the bottom of this once and for all.

On the food inc. website there was a heated debate going on about the ethics of the red wine beef product being offered up here in our backyard, Oliver B.C. Although I could not help but get caught up in the online debate, that is not what today was about. I wanted to do a side by side comparison of the Sezmu Beef to the AAA Alberta Beef that I currently have on the menu. Now I picked the Flat Iron Steak for no other reason than that is what I alredy use on a daily basis. For those not in the know, the flat iron is a cut from under the shoulder blade of the cow, it is a muscle that gets a fair bit of exercise and therefore develops a good amount of flavor. The flat iron still maintains an acceptable tenderness to be a good grilling steak.

As you can see there is already a distinct difference. The Sezmu Beef flat iron is on the left and the AAA Alberta Beef flat iron on the right. The flesh of the Sezmu beef is much darker and deeper in the Sezmu and there is a remarkable difference in the fat marbling. To be fair I will let you know that the Alberta beef was from cryovac and the Sezmu came in wrapped as if by a supermarket meat department. The cryovac may have affected the AAA beef somewhat, but by looking at this photo I think we can all agree there is a big difference between the two meats regardless.

I did try to keep the variables the same in cooking the meats to see how the two products would react to the exact same circumstances. Both steaks are cut to 170g portion size, and were cooked side by side in the same pan for the same length of time.

Once again, there were some signifigant differences with the two products. At first glance you can see that the yield and juice retention of the Sezmu Beef is much greater than the AAA. As the two meats rested, the AAA Beef bled almost a tablespoon of juice and the Sezmu a fraction of that. As before the Sezmu Meat is on the left.

Okay, so I had already made up my mind by this point...I was really hoping that the local red wine beef would be a superior product to my AAA standby, but I was really not prepared for this much of a difference. When it comes to beef the Alberta AAA is no slouch. A picture is worth a thousand words.

This photo gives a much better visual of the yield and juice retention of the superior Sezmu product. In a blind tasting six of six employees in the kitchen preferred the Sezmu meat.

As for the flavor, the Sezmu meat had a richness that encompassed the palate so much that the AAA beef could not compare. the Sezmu had a buttered corn on the cob flavor to the meat...noo...if you had slathered some rendered beef fat onto some fresh corn with a mouthful of beef. Hmmm...maybe still not quite right. Anyway it was very enjoyable and made the AAA pale in comparison to my tastebuds.

Now there is obviously no wine flavoring to the meat, and it is a tough call to decide whether it is the wine or the extra attention these cattle receive that makes the difference. I do recommend that you try this test for yourself if you are still not convinced. Heck try a different cut and let me know how it works out. I know that I will be changing my beef supplier tomorrow to the local artisanal option.
Oh, I almost forgot...the price is almost the same!

Happy Eating...



  1. one thing i noticed about the two steaks was that the Sezmu muscle fibers were much more plump and "fuller" circular shaped, but the Alberta AAA muscle fibers were more compact and a squished diamond, made me think do the Sezmu in oliver move around alot? are they more active? was just an intresting observation. does this tie into the sezmus lack of juice loss...


  2. Nice posting there partner!

    I wonder how the Sezmu heart mayonnaise compares?

  3. The Sezmu beef steak was cryovac packaged as well. I just unwrapped it and trimmed it before I brought it out. This comparison is so fantastic I am going to link it to our site. Thanks Rob. Great blog!

    ~Sezmu Meats

  4. I want to try the liver of that beef. If anything is going to be drastically changed by the red wine one would assume that the liver would see the greatest difference.

  5. As for the picture, the meat cooked is from two different parts of the flat iron, so you will get different results. one was a center cut the other a end cut. Please use same cuts when comparing products or else you are not comparing. As for the liver sean Ive used it in my pate de Capagne as well as liver and onions, the flavour is quite pronounced but the texture and smell is very pleasant.

  6. Well this sounds like an interesting beef to taste and I'd sure like to get a hold of some of that Sezmu beef myself so I can include it in my tastings and/or on my site!

    It's terribly difficult to do an exact comparison tasting (e.g. same muscle and specific cut within, same age of cattle, etc.). I've learned to not bother with commodity beef as you have no control over the breed, diet, age of cattle, etc. That said, the Sezmu site says their beef is dry-aged. Was this the same for the AAA?