The science behind our Tenderness Tested Ontario beef

The science behind our Tenderness Tested Ontario beef

When you bite into a steak, we know what you want: something juicy, flavourful and incredibly tender. It should be completely satisfying but still leave you wanting more—that memorable, craveable, delicious Ontario beef! And yes, it’s even better with your favourite accompaniments, whether that’s a baked potato, a salad or a plate of crispy fries.

VG Meats is dedicated to providing exceptional local beef no matter what type of steak you’re cutting into—in fact, our mission is to make every cut your favourite. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating a skirt steak, a Delmonico, a Denver or striploin—every bite should be perfectly, deliciously tender. And it is, because we use a unique Tenderness Tested system to ensure that all of our beef meets an incredibly high standard of quality (and yes—tenderness). It’s the first and only test of its kind in Canada, and we’re proud of what it has allowed us to do.

It’s not just about the cut

When it comes to tenderness, quality often matters more than the cut. VG Meats uses a proven, scientific method that provides our customers with detailed information on the tenderness of each product. As youngest brother (and resident meat scientist) Kevin Van Groningen explains:

“The tenderness testing process is technically called a Warner-Bratzler Shear Force Test, and it’s used by meat scientists to objectively assess beef products. It starts with a small meat sample taken from between the 12th and 13th rib of the animal. We use a shearing machine that is basically composed of a load cell—like the machines engineers use to test the strength of a bolt or a screw—and we apply the same testing principle to our meat sample. Instead of wanting the meat to be strong, like a bolt, we want it to be tender. The test is essentially measuring the amount of force needed to bite through a piece of beef—the less force required, the more tender the product is.”

VG Meats initially worked with a fantastic team from the University of Guelph to develop the Tenderness Tested process but since 2013, we’ve managed it in house—and it’s been fantastic! Tougher beef is quickly identified and used appropriately (waste not, want not—we make good use of every piece) and the most tender cuts end up in store for customers like you. As Kevin likes to say, our beef has always been of exceptional quality—but our Tenderness Tested process has truly made it top notch.

Quality you can count on (and taste in every bite!)

Quality like this doesn’t happen by accident. We use thorough, proven quality assurance systems on all levels at VG, from the farm to the butcher shop and the retail store. “Tough meat is a common complaint in the retail world, but we’ve found a way to guarantee tenderness in everything we sell,” Kevin says. “This way, there are no surprises and none of our customers are going to end up unexpectedly serving a tough cut at their dinner party.”

In addition to providing customers with incredible local beef, we believe our Tenderness Tested program will help put Ontario on the map as the world’s best beef. It’s not a fast or cheap process, but it matters to us—and, it’s a collective effort that brings the farmer, butcher, retailer and customer together. We aren’t willing to cut corners, and we know our customers appreciate that. So, we’re constantly challenging ourselves to innovate and improve. This is similar to our commitment to regenerative farming led by oldest brother Cory—we know we can always do more and do better, so we’ll never stop trying!

How to get the perfect steak

Here are a few things to remember when buying your next steak online or in store:

  • Aging meat does not always guarantee tenderness. It certainly helps, but not all beef ages to be tender!
  • The same goes for marbling – the idea that marbling means tenderness is a common myth. In some instances, meat can be heavily marbled but tough. That’s why you need the Tenderness Tested scale—to look past what you can see with the naked eye!
  • Ask how tender your meat will be. At VG Meats, our butchers can tell you—after all, we’ve got it down to a science.