A lexicon describing the flavor characteristics of beef across different cuts, grades, and cooking temperatures and methods was developed. Four major cuts of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) quality grade beef were cooked to five endpoint temperatures using braising, broiling (oven broiling and electric charbroiling), roasting and grilling (indoor and outdoor grilling). Six highly trained panelists identified and defined a total of 38 aroma and flavor characteristics in 176 beef samples. Beef identity, brown/roasted, bloody/serumy, metallic, fat-like, overall sweet, sour aromatics and five tastes were present in practically all samples. Other attributes were present only in certain samples, depending on either the sample group or the cooking method/endpoint temperature combination used. This lexicon potentially offers the beef industry a standard tool to identify and quantify flavor attributes as impacted by temperature, cooking method, aging process, storage time, diet regime, packaging, USDA quality grades, etc.


Until now, the beef industry's main focus has been to assess beef tenderness and juiciness, with an emphasis on ways to improve beef texture. Meat companies and academic institutions have been using the 1995 American Meat Science Association guidelines to assess the flavor of beef, which are not comprehensive. Recent work has focused on flavor, and the industry needs a standardized flavor lexicon that can be used for many projects. It is important for the industry to be able to systematically identify and quantify flavor attributes that drive consumer acceptance.