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The Old Cow - a hype that pays off?
What is the best meat in the world - a question that people like to ask and to which there are almost always the same answers: Kobe beef, Wagyu beef and the meat of the fat old cow. Yes, that's right, the old cow is the modern trend. But what exactly is it about eating meat from a fat old cow?
Where does the Old Fat Cow come from?
Old tradition meets modern enjoyment
The meat of the old cow is prepared there in the form of "txuletóns" as neat thick slices that are grilled directly over charcoal. A taste that is absolutely incomparable. This was also recognised by a motivated meat producer who wanted to turn the hitherto regional delicacy of the old cow into an international blockbuster. A plan that has obviously worked out.
How does the old cow taste?
An incomparable pleasure
This is exactly what makes the meat of the Old Cow so fabulous and speaks for a high age of the cattle. In terms of meat structure, however, this point can become somewhat difficult, at least for those who prefer butter-tender fillet. Because over the years, not only does the flavour of the meat intensify, but the structure also becomes firmer. Accordingly, the tendons become somewhat tougher, the collagen deposits stronger and the meat thus clearly more firm to the bite.
In terms of taste, therefore, the Old Cow is a real stunner and not necessarily everyone's cup of tea. Due to the aromatic depth, the meat has an extremely long aftertaste and its intensity can best be compared to a really heavy red wine. Absolutely fantastic, but not suitable for everyone.
Not every old cow becomes a fine steak
Although the taste is unique, old cows are not automatically suitable for further processing. This is because the old age of cows does not only bring advantages. Since cows lose muscle mass over the years after calving and giving milk, it is quite difficult to find suitable cows.
So in addition to the selection of cows, an extra portion of special treatment of the meat is needed to be able to produce high-grade steaks at all. The number of suitable cows with sufficient meat is therefore very limited.
Criteria for enjoyment with a WOW effect
So in order to be able to become a culinary highlight at all, a lot of preparatory work has to be done. There are several factors that play an important role in the selection of suitable cows. Attention is paid here to how the cows are built, whether they have sufficient fleshing capacity and how much fat they have stored. Since taking care of the calves is quite a strain on the cows' substance, these points tend to be rather rare in old cows.
Once a lucky cow has been found that has all these factors, there is almost inevitably a fattening phase to achieve suitable fat cover and break up the firm tissue with fine fat fibres. Apart from high costs for perfect feed, this demands one thing above all: time and patience. But in the end, this effort is rewarded with a taste experience that can hardly be put into words.
At what age does one speak of an old cow?
The definition of an old cow has changed quite a bit since the hype began. The scope has become much wider. While some producers already label four-year-old cows as "old cows", others use 12-22-year-old cows. So the sky's the limit.
However, to experience the flavourful impact, a cow should be at least 8 years old. Only then does the meat develop the desired intensity.
Why old cows are so valuable
Beyond the taste
These are largely reprehensible factory farms, which are anything but animal-friendly and which we fundamentally reject.
It should also hardly come as a surprise that this meat has almost no taste. The meat is lean, watery and has hardly developed any flavours.
Here you can find more information about the differences in taste between young bulls, steers and heifers.