Provenance

Where does our meat come from?

At MAREDO we obtain our beef primarily from the Pampa of Argentina and Uruguay. The temperate and humid climate of the South American grasslands provides optimal conditions for cattle rearing. The animals can live according to the principles of Animal Welfare in the free nature.

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La Pampa

The MAREDO steaks come from South American cattle, which all have a common quality characteristic: They were reared in the South American pampas. That’s why the steaks are among the best in the world.

Perfect rearing conditions in Argentina and Uruguay

The Pampa is a region in the south-east of South America. It includes areas in Uruguay and Argentina and is bordered by the Rio De La Plata and the Andes. A typical feature of a large part of the Pampa is its lush grass landscape, which benefits from a humid, mild climate (average temperature 16°C). It is the grass landscape with more than 200 different grass and herb species and the enormous size of the pampas area (each cattle has an area as large as 1.5 football fields at its disposal) that offer perfect conditions for cattle breeding and thus also for first-class steaks.

Natural cattle rearing due to free-range husbandry in the Pampa.

All year round the animals can graze here in the pampas at temperatures between 20 and 35 degrees Celsius. In addition to a healthy natural growth of the animals, this type of free-range husbandry also reduces the stress of the cattle. This is a very important factor when it comes to the taste of a steak and one of the secrets of the wonderful MAREDO meat taste.

free-range husbandry

Free range rearing: Cattle breeding in South America

Natural rearing by free-range husbandry has a positive effect on the quality of the meat. This is mainly due to the oxygen content and the proteins in the meat.

Movement makes the steak taste good

How does the typical meat taste develop that steak fans all over the world love so much? The decisive factors are the muscle fibres and the fat tissue of the bovine animal. If the animal moves a muscle muscle, the cytochrome proteins and the protein myoglobin are activated in the fibers. Both are responsible for the oxygen supply in the muscle.

Since this supply is regulated by the blood flow, a much used muscle is usually better supplied with blood and therefore the meat is juicier. A good example for this phenomenon is the “beef cheek”. Because the masticatory muscle is active for many hours a day, the meat from this part of the body is one of the juiciest.

Vice versa an insufficient movement of the cattle, for example due to stable fattening, can lead to an underdevelopment of the musculature. The meat of animals with underdeveloped muscles cannot reach a high quality and is drier and lighter in colour.

Cattle at MAREDO: 365 days pasture grazing in their own rhythm

Free range husbandry is good for the animals and also has a positive effect on the quality of the steaks. The meat from stressed animals simply tastes different because of the released stress hormones. However, it is not only important to give the animals enough opportunity to roam. It is also important to let the cattle graze in their own rhythm.

In the South American pampas the cattle can graze when they want and thus do not get confused in their biorhythm. This can only be achieved with natural grass feeding in free range. Free-range husbandry thus lays the foundation for high-quality meat and top-quality steaks.

grass feeding

The rearing of a cattle with a pure grass feeding is one of the most natural methods in the breeding of livestock breeds. This enables the animals to eat when, where and as long as they want. Pure grass feeding also gives beef a much more intense flavour.

The reason: because the cattle eat more unsaturated fatty acids and chlorophyll with the grasses, aroma substances are produced in the animal’s stomach which give the steak an unmistakable flavour. The build-up of high-quality unsaturated fatty acids is one of the greatest advantages of feeding cattle grass compared to feeding concentrates and cereals.

The basis for first-class steaks: natural grass nutrition in the pampas

The Pampa grassland with its warm summers and mild winters offers optimal weather conditions for our cattle breeds all year round. So the best cattle in the world can grow up in peace and without stress.

More than 200 different types of grass and herbs thrive in the pampas. On almost 500,000 km² the cattle can eat and graze here to their heart’s content. The nutrition of MAREDO animals follows strictly defined guidelines and may only be provided with herbs and grasses from the natural environment of the South American pampas. A year-round free-range husbandry in the sense of Animal Welfare is being used. Each individual cattle in the pampas will have almost 1 ha (1.5 football pitches) of treeless grassland. Optimal conditions for rearing!

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Cattle Breeds

The rearing of cattle differs greatly depending on the breed. Especially fibre structure, marbling, body structure and fat cover are unmistakable characteristics which differ from breed to breed. Only a few cattle breeds have the prerequisites to produce first-class meat. These breeds include Black Angus and Hereford.

Black Angus

The Black Angus cattle originally come from the Scottish Highlands and were first bred there in the 19th century. This origin explains the robustness and adaptability of the animals, which have been preserved to this day and make it possible to graze all year round. This is one of the reasons why the black cattle with the smooth coat are considered one of the most popular meat breeds by breeders and butchers worldwide.

The meat of the Black Angus cattle is considered to be extremely aromatic, tender and juicy. The secret lies in the particularly fine muscle fibers and a naturally excellent prerequisite for an optimal thickness of the fat layer or fat cover. Black Angus oxen can weigh up to 600 kg. One of the most striking features of this cattle breed is its short compact build. The steak cuts, which originate from this body region, are considered particularly noble.

Hereford

The cattle of the Hereford breed have a red-spotted coat. However, the most characteristic features are the striking “forehead curls”. Hereford oxen can weigh approx. 650 kg and reach a shoulder height of max. 140 cm. Just like the Black Angus cattle, the Herefords are also very climate resistant and therefore one of the most common cattle breeds worldwide.

Also the anatomy is similar to that of their black furred relatives. The short build and fine-grained muscles make the meat of Hereford cattle extremely popular with connoisseurs, as it is considered to be particularly juicy.

Why is the Black Angus and Hereford meat so delicious?

Meat is generally composed of three components. In addition to water (approx. 75 %), it consists of protein (20 %) and fat (3 %). These are integrated into the body tissue – consisting of muscle tissue or muscle fibres, fat tissue, connective tissue. The structure of the muscle fibres differs according to the breed and part of the body of a cow.

The more the fibres of a muscle are strained, the thinner and finer they become, which benefits the supply of oxygen and fatty acids and thus also the taste. The reason: the higher the oxygen content of a fibre and the more it is used, the darker and juicier the meat becomes.

The fat cover in the cattle’s body also plays an important role for the later taste. As a “storage medium”, fat molecules contribute to the intensity of meat taste. By nature, Black Angus and Hereford cattle have these physical prerequisites. In combination with free-range husbandry and a natural grass nutrition of the animals, a first class meat can be produced.

Cattle breeds at MAREDO

“We raise our cattle around the 34th parallel in South America. The weather there is changing very much, which is why MAREDO has long been relying on the Black Angus and Hereford cattle breeds,” explains MAREDO meat expert Martin Ostermeier. “We keep our cattle in the South American Pampa 365 days a year on the pasture and therefore need breeds that do not mind weather changes and temperature fluctuations.

Black Angus and Hereford are best suited here,” the Hamburg native continues. In the grasslands of Argentina and Uruguay, cattle can grow up organically and species-appropriately without being administered growth-promoting hormones. The animals reach slaughter weight at about 480 kg. MAREDO only uses ox meat, as this is considered to be even more intense and tender.

Ox meat

Since there is no longer any production of the hormone testosterone, oxen generally grow more slowly than bulls, but have a more tender muscle flesh and are considered more intense in taste. Furthermore, because the protein content of ox meat is much lower, it has a longer shelf life and is therefore better suited for transport. Due to natural changes in the course of castration, the body and growth of the animal change. This leads to large differences in meat production compared to meat from uncastrated cattle.

Ox meat at MAREDO

MAREDO meat expert Martin Ostermeier knows: “As with a good wine, you also have to give the beef the time to ‘mature’. Breeding oxen takes more time and you have to be patient. But since this results in a really high-quality meat, it is definitely worth it”.
The oxen at MAREDO come from the Black Angus and Hereford cattle breeds. These animals are considered as particularly robust and are by nature suited for outdoor grazing all year round.

Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare means the protection of the well-being, health and rights of an animal. This aspect has steadily gained in importance in cattle breeding over the past decades. This has ethical reasons but also has an effect on the taste of the steaks.

The basis of high steak quality: natural cattle rearing

The Animal Welfare guidelines are to be observed throughout the rearing process. The rearing conditions should therefore be as natural as possible. The experts are sure of it. The fact that this considerably increases the taste of the meat is often underestimated. This is not least due to biochemical processes in the bovine body through the avoidance of stress.

Even in freshly cut meat, the muscle cells of the animal continue to work for a while by breaking down the important energy sources adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and the polysaccharide glycogen. This process increases the accumulation of lactic acid in the body cells, which in turn has an effect on the pH value of the meat. This is particularly important for the taste and consistency of the steaks.

If the beef is exposed to stress or anxiety, however, the pH value cannot drop optimally and the meat is very perishable. Thus there is a direct connection between ethically correct behaviour towards the animals and the later quality of the steak.

Animal Welfare at MAREDO: Freedom of movement is part of it, too

“At MAREDO this has been known for a long time. The principles of Animal Welfare are therefore firmly integrated into our cattle rearing,” says Martin Ostermeier, meat expert at MAREDO. This also includes that stress is prevented in the South American pampas by sufficient movement and exercise. Each cattle has the equivalent of 1.5 football fields at its disposal. This is only possible due to the enormous size of the pastures in Argentina and Uruguay. The basis of a first-class steak is ethically correct behaviour in cattle breeding,” explains Ostermeier.

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