Ranchers want a breed of cattle which is tough, hardy and genetically predisposed to have either a high fat to meat ratio, or a psychical make up that can allow for increased possibility of tenderness. For instance the Indian breed of cattle Brahman, have a genetic twitch mechanism throughout their bodies designed to ward off flies. Most cattle simply swipe at the bugger with their tails and they tend to get stressed out, because the flies can get prolific and their tails are not nearly long enough to handle the problem. Whereas a Brahman, simply stands in the middle of his field twitching the flies away like nobody’s business. Long story short, an animal that doesn’t spend its day running away from flies, has a less developed muscle structure and that can make for more tender meat.
Another focus, because consumers are increasingly want meat that has not been treated with antibiotics and other chemicals, is that these animals are hardy and disease resistant,to stand up to free ranging.
Other tricks include butchering your animals in the spring (many ranchers, butcher in the fall, because they are going for the weight) when the grasses are high, full of nutrients and the animals are not worried for lack of food. In the fall, they can feel the onset of winter coming on, and it makes them nervous. Like all of us, even cattle are much more relaxed when they don’t have to worry where their next meal is coming from. Once again, because of this the meat is tender as a result.
Two great breeds, which are often cross bred with Brahman as well, are Murray Grey’s from Australia and Romagnola from Italy and South America. If you want to find out more about any of these breeds simply type in the names and more info than you could ever which for will simply pop up before your eyes.