The tenderness characteristics of 15 primal cuts of beef of three different age groups were assessed,
and the most reliable cut to predict carcass tenderness was determined. Fifteen wholesale cuts from
each age group, representing the full variation in fatness, were aged, cooked and underwent sensory
evaluation, shear force resistance and proximate analysis. Collagen content and solubility was
Percentage fat was used as a covariant during statistical analyses. Tenderness, residue and collagen
solubility of all cuts decreased significantly with animal age. Collagen solubility was the largest
discriminant between the three age groups, while animal age had no significant effect on collagen
content. Tenderness of primal cuts from the same carcass varied considerably, with collagen content
and shear force resistance as the largest discriminants between the cuts. Cuts most representative of
total carcass tenderness were M. Vastus lateralis, M. semimembranosus, M. gluteobiceps, M.
semitendinosus and M. triceps brachii caput longum.