Houston Press tells, shows where fajita beef comes from

Before hipsters discovered butchery class: Houston Press reporter Robb Walsh has a long but fascinating feature on his recent adventures in butchery, which “all started with a meat mystery — call it the case of the disappearing skirt.” Walsh was developing fajita recipes for a grilling cookbook but found that outside skirt steaks weren’t available anywhere. (Fajita, meaning “little belt,” is taken from the shape of the outside skirt — “anything else isn’t really a fajita.”) That led him to discover that most restaurant fajitas come from inside skirt steaks bought pre-marinated, using commercial enzymes and a commercial vacuum tumbler, and eventually sent Walsh to Beef 101 class at the Texas A&M Beef Center. (Houston Press) Bonus: In a related blog post, Walsh shares a video he took during the class — inside the slaughterhouse and to the meat-cutting floor. “If you want to remove the ‘curtain’ between you and the meat you are eating, have a look,” he writes. And if you don’t, well then…don’t.  

5 Responsesto “Houston Press tells, shows where fajita beef comes from”

  1. Scott says:

    Oh, if only actual slaughter was that thorough and well managed.  We know that modern slaughter is far from careful, and is certainly not carried out with the same precision as this.

    This video also falsely perpetuates the myth that the animal’s heart must be beating in order for it to bleed out properly.  This is false.

  2. Scott: I don’t think you can tag “actual slaughter” with the same broad brush. There are “good” medium-size slaughterhouses and “bad” small ones. I don’t know about the heart thing — care to explain why it is important? I know from watching ranch kills that the animal is shot in the head, and is presumably brain dead but heart still twitching and blood pumping for bleedout?

  3. Jed "the country bumpkin" says:

    Scott, how many slaughterhouses have you visited in order to come up with your notions of what its like. I have been in several and have been impressed with the precision and lack of suffering.
    Common sense should tell you that a beating heart gives the carcass a better bleed out. I know this to be true since I have killed several thousand animals in my lifetime. Try getting your info from sources other than vegan propaganda. Do you know more about slaughter than the people at Texas A+M.
    Bonnie, cool video! Thanks.

  4. Scott, the brain, the consciousness, is gone. The animal is feeling no pain and is insensate. The heart continues beating and even speeds up due to the higher levels of CO2 and this _does_ increase bleed-out. Having a beating heart during bleed-out dramatically increases the meat quality.

  5. Blake says:

    Everything I have seen has pointed to modern slaughter being done in a much more industrialized, imprecise, and inhumane way than this video. It took a long time for me to realize that it wasn’t just vegan propaganda. The slaughter in this video, however, is very well done. I prefer my on-farm slaughter, but that’s a good second bet. As far as the heart beating thing, I’m sure it is possible to bleed out the carcass without the heart beating, as it’s done all the time with game. I’m equally sure, however, that the heart beating most likely makes for a better bleed.