In this post we’re going to answer a question that we get asked regularly, does steak come from cows? This is something that many of us are taught at a young age, but you may be surprised at the truth.
A cow is defined as a female of any age, but it’s usually used to describe older female cattle that has already bred.
In short, yes steak’s do come from cows, but that’s if you generalise the word cow. For the most part, steak comes from Steer or Heifer.
A steer is a male that has been castrated at a young age, meaning their meat is tender and they are not going to be used for breeding. Whilst a Heifer is a female that has not bred.
A Steer is a male that is mostly purely produed for beef, whilst cows are bred for the purpose of producing milk and breeding.
Let’s take a closer look into this…
Which Part Of The Cow Does Steak Come From?
Now that we’ve established where steak actually comes from, let’s look at which part of the animal the steak actually comes from.
This question largely depends on the type of steak you’re speaking of, as you know there are many different types of steak and not all are equal.
Some taste different and are more premium, whilst some can be acquired for a much cheaper price, it’s largely down to personal preference which type of steak you’ll enjoy most.
Below I’ve listed some popular steak cuts and indicated which part of the animal they come from:
- Ribeye Steak – Rib
- Fillet Steak – Tenderloin
- Sirloin Steak – Sirloin
- Tbone Steak – Loin
- Flank Steak – Short Plate
- Rump Steak – Hindquater / Above Hip Bone (Rump)
- Wagyu Steak – Rib
What Else Comes From Cows?
Cows are magnificent animals that have kept us humans full and satisfied for many years, they provide us with food that helps us grow big and strong.
But what other food comes from cows? Well, cows are most notorious for providing milk. You may be surprised to hear that on average a cow can produce anywhere from 25 to 40 litres of milk PER DAY.
The milk is stored in a sterilized tank where it is prepared for human consumption and then sold to our supermarkets and ultimately ends up in our coffee, cereal, and many foods.
As well as getting a lot of milk from cows, farmers also benefit from their meat. The average cow will typically produce around 440 pounds of beef, 200 pounds of ground beef, and around 200 pounds in cuts such as steaks, ribs, tenderloin, briskets etc.
Given that the average cow costs around $1200 in the US, farmers can make a good living from breeding cattle for meat.
What Steak Is The Most Tender?
The word tender can sometimes be quite confusing, so I want to outline what it actually means when it comes to meat and cooking first.
Tenderness is essentially the quality of the meat, which can be measured on how easily the meat is to chew. When it comes to steak, tenderness is very desirable as it’s softer and more palatable.
So which steak is the most tender?
Filet Mignon (AKA Eye Filet or Tenderloin), the holy grail of steak. This steak is widely known as the most tender and of the highest quality, which is also why it’s the most expensive.
So why is the Fillet steak the most tender? Well, it’s from a part of the animal that doesn’t do much, a muscle that is often dormant and doesn’t experience stress.
For me personally, fillet steak is without a doubt my favourite. There’s nothing more I love than relaxing on a Saturday night with a high-quality Fillet Steak and a few glasses of Red Wine.
Second the the Fillet when it comes to tenderness is the Top Loin Steak, followed closely behind by the T-Bone Steak.
How Long Has Steak Been Eaten?
Humans have been consuming beef and steak for an incredibly long time, in-fact the domestication of cattle happened in around 8,000 BC which is when meat consumption really took off.
Once humans started to get a taste of beef, it didn’t take long before the food became an integral part of the human diet.
There is archeological evidence that shows that 2 million years ago the first homo species were actively eating meat on a regular basis.
In today’s world, steak is being eaten all over the world at all times. Some individuals even decide to take up a strict carnivore diet where all they consume is meat.
The carnivore diet stems from the controversial belief that our ancient ancestors survived solely on meat and fish. There are actually multiple high-profile celebrities and actors who swear by this diet and have seen great results.
However, there is no research that has effectively analyzed the effects of the carnivore diet.
What Is The Most Expensive Steak?
When it comes to steak, they’re all pretty pricey. But some steak is more expensive than others, largely down to the quality. For example, filet steak is a premium steak that is widely considered the most tender.
In the US, the price of a pound of Filet Mignon is as high as $13.99, making it much more expensive than rump or sirloin steak.
However, there is another type of steak that is even more expensive than Filet. Wagyu beef from Japan is the most prized beef across the world.
High quality Wagyu can cost $200 per pound, making it much more expensive than any other type of steak available.
The average cost of Wagyu steak is around $120 – $200, so be prepared for a shock when the waiter arrives with the bill if you’ve just tucked into a Wagyu steak.
But why is Wagyu beef so expensive?
Wagyu beef has fat marbling which makes it taste beautiful. A good quality Wagyu steak will literally melt in your mouth. The reason Wagyu is so expensive is because when the cattle are reared in Japan, it has to meet strict guidelines to be classed as Wagyu.
They have to be raised in a very specific way and fed on specific feeds. These cattle even get the luxury of being hand-fed milk and are given coats to wear when the weather gets cold.
It’s fair to say that Japanese Wagyu cattle are looked after very well, they are given names instead of numbers and are fed on a strict diet for around 3 years to grow up to a whopping 700kg.
Cattle with the Wagyu certificate are raised differently from cattle that produce your normal steak, which is why the premium is so high for this type of beef.
Does steak come from cows? Technically yes, but in the modern world, it’s a different type of cow known as a Steer in which steak is primarily sourced.
Cows are used for milk and to breed calves, not so much steak. All steak and beef come from cattle unless you’re looking at meat-free food which is an entirely different process.
Synthetic meat and steak is becoming more and more popular in today’s world as there is a growing number of vegetarians. These types of steaks do not contain meat, so, therefore, do not come from cows and are instead man-made.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this post and learned a thing or two about where steaks come from, feel free to stick around and learn more about yummy steak!