Sensory acceptability and chemical characteristics of healthy rib-eye steaks from forage‐finished steers

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Consumer interest in health benefits of forage-finished beef has led to increased product demand. To date, little information on sensory characteristics of cooked forage-finished beef is available. We evaluated sensory acceptability and chemical characteristics of rib-eye steaks from forage-finished steers. Rib-eye steaks from 3 forage-finished steers [S1 (bermudagrass+ryegrass, etc.); S2 (bermudagrass+ryegrass+berseem, etc.); S3 (bermudagrass+berseem+forage soybean+brown midrib sorghum, etc.)], and one C [commercial steak], cooked by grilling and/or 2-sided grilling, were evaluated for chemical composition and microbial safety. Sensory liking [overall-appearance (OAR) and fat-appearance (FA) for raw steaks; overall-appearance (OAC), overall-flavor (OF), juiciness, tenderness, and overall-liking (OL) for cooked steaks] were evaluated by 112 Hispanic consumers. Data were analyzed (PROC MIXED, a=0.05). C (raw) had higher fat (50.2% compared to 23.0-24.9%) and lower protein (49.4% compared to 73.5-74.4%, dry weight basis) contents compared with S1 and S2. S1 and S3 had higher omega-3 (0.49-0.55 compared to 0.09%), lower omega-6/omega-3 ratio (2.51-2.81 compared to 10.07), and lower PUFA (4.31-4.77 vs. 8.4%) contents than C, thus exhibiting a healthier fatty acid profile. Concerning raw steaks, S3 had higher OAR (6.9 compared to 5.4-5.9) and FA (5.9 compared to 4.9-5.1) liking scores than other samples. Purchase intent based on visual appearance was highest for S3 (85.7%). Concerning cooked steaks, the 2 cooking methods did not cause significant differences in liking scores. Juiciness and OL scores of C steaks (both cooking methods) and S3 (2-sided grilling) were not significantly different. Purchase intent (after health benefits of forage-finished steaks was informed) increased from 62.0-73.8 to 69.8-85.7%. The mean drop of liking scores was -1.00 to -2.50 and -0.50 to -2.50 on the 9-point OL scale, respectively, when cooked steaks were not-juicy-enough and not-tender-enough. Cooked and raw rib-eye steaks were free of E. coli . This study demonstrated that forage-finished steaks are healthier than grain-fed commercial steaks and have market potential toward Hispanic population.