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Bolar defies dark-cutting curse

Ben Holman

Dark-cutting meat is the industry bane, an indicator of animal stress and the predictor of toughness. However, NSW beef researchers believe they might have discovered a hopeful sign in one particular cut.

They have found that, even in dark-cutting carcasses, aged bolar blade can retain its eating quality. And the scientists have raised the possibility that forequarter cuts might also be a candidate for similar value-add.

Researchers Dr Benjamin Holman and Dr David Hopkins, both from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Centre for Red Meat and Sheep Development at Cowra and the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation at Wagga Wagga, have recommended tests on beef cuts other than the typical striploin marker.

Dr Hopkins said: “Grading practices may be misrepresenting the prevalence or expression of dark-cutting traits in beef cuts other than the striploin.” The claims follow findings from tests on bolar blade, striploin and topside, showing that bolar blade retained its quality even in dark-cutting carcasses.

“It could retain its value if priced independent to the entire carcass.”

The scientists noted earlier research suggesting that the forequarter of dark-cutting beef might also be recovered Aged bolar blade, even in dark-cutting carcasses can retain its eating quality.

And the scientists have raised the possibility that forequarter cuts might also be a candidate for similar value-add. New life to dark-cutting bolar blade and attract the same market value as non-dark-cutting equivalents. In that research, the forequarter cuts did not reflect the discolouration evident in the middle and hindquarter cuts.

“This supports the observations that the forequarter (including the bolar blade) does not necessarily mimic striploin characteristics and can be considered independently,” Dr Hopkins said.

“It is reasonable to conclude that at least the bolar blade and potentially the forequarter of beef carcasses classified as dark-cutting do not reflect the negative attributes of the striploin and topside – particularly carcasses classified as ‘slightly dark-cutting’.”

The study was supported by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation and NSW DPI.

Featured Image: Ben Holman