Beef tendon is a gelatinous cut of beef that is an often overlooked and underutilized part of the animal. It’s tough to think of any other cut of meat that is so unappealing, but beef tendon has it in spades. In fact, outside of countries like Korea where beef tendon soup (also known as galbitang) is a common dish, most people don’t even know this cut exists. But despite its unappealing appearance and low popularity among consumers, there are many benefits to be had from eating beef tendon.
Is Beef Tendon Healthy?
Yes, the beef tendon is healthy. It is a high-quality protein source with a moderate amount of unhealthy saturated fat. It is also a good source of several important vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin B12. Additionally, beef tendon contains a number of beneficial antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
Why Is Beef Tendon So Tough?
- Beef tendon is a tough cut of meat because it has less connective tissue in it than other cuts of beef. In other words, the more connective tissue a piece of meat has, the tougher and chewier it will be. This can be attributed to two things. First, connective fibers are what give a piece of meat its structure, so the more connective fibers in a cut of meat, the less tender that cut will be. Second, connective fibers are what allow muscles to contract and expand. When muscles contract and expand, they pull on their tendons which causes the tendon to get tougher as well.
- Beef tendon is a tough cut of meat because it has a high amount of collagen in it. Collagen is what gives meat its structure, and so the more collagen a piece of meat has, the tougher that piece will be. In fact, beef tendon contains more collagen than any other cut of beef.
- Beef tendon is a tough cut of meat because it lacks connective tissue fibers called reticular fibers. Reticular fibers are what give connective tissue strength and toughness. When connective tissue contracts and expands, reticular fibers pull on the tendons which causes the tendons to get tougher as well.
- Beef tendon is a tough cut of meat because it contains very little myosin in it (the energy-producing protein that makes muscles contract). Myosin makes up more than 90% of all muscle protein in beef, but only about 5% of beef tendon’s muscle protein does this job for its tendon! This means that when the owner.
- Beef tendon is a tough cut of meat because it has a high percentage of fat. The fat in the beef tendon is very hard to chew and only about 10% of the fat in beef tendon has been converted into energy for the animal to use.
Benefits Of Beef Tendon
- Beef tendon is an inexpensive cut of meat that can be cooked and eaten in many different ways, but it’s rarely done so. In fact, there are only about ten recipes in the entire USDA Food Composition Database that call for beef tendon! And yet this hard-to-cook cut of meat can be used in so many other recipes and dishes, such as soup, stir fry, stew, or even jerky! The main reason why this cut isn’t more popular is that it doesn’t taste very good when eaten raw (like other less popular cuts of beef), but if you cook it right and prepare it well, you can make beef tendon taste very good.
- Beef tendon is extremely low in calories, fat, and cholesterol. In fact, it contains only about 60 calories per 100 grams of meat (1/2 ounce) and only 0.5 grams of fat and 0.3 grams of cholesterol per 100 grams of meat (1 ounce). Beef tendon is also an excellent source of protein, containing 26 grams of protein per 100-gram serving, which is double the amount found in a comparable serving size of steak!
- Beef tendon is a very rich source of collagen, which helps our joints stay healthy by keeping them flexible and strong—and that’s why it’s so popular for making homemade bone broth! Collagen also helps our skin stay soft and supple by keeping it healthy, so beef tendon has great value as an ingredient in skin care recipes as well!
- The beef tendon has high levels of glycine, an amino acid that helps your body produce collagen, and elastin, which are two important types of collagen that help your skin stay supple and healthy. In fact, the beef tendon is so rich in glycine that it can even be used as a supplement for skin care recipes!
- Beef tendon contains very high levels of the mineral phosphorus, which helps keep our bones strong and healthy by helping to maintain strong connective tissues in our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. This mineral also helps regulate calcium levels in our body, preventing osteoporosis (weak bones).
- Beef tendon contains very high levels of vitamin B12 and folate (folic acid), which are both important vitamins for maintaining a healthy nervous system—and that’s why it’s so popular for use in homemade bone broth! Vitamin B12 is especially important during pregnancy to help prevent anemia (low red blood cells) while folate helps prevent birth defects by helping prevent homocysteine (ich helps our skin stay supple, so beef tendon is also a great ingredient for collagen-based skin care recipes!
How To Select Good Quality Beef Tendon
- Look for a beef tendon that is cut from the eye of the round, which is a large muscle in the cow’s shoulder area. The round is one of the more tender cuts, so it’s important to look for a tough piece of meat.
- Beef tendons should contain little fat or sinew. If you see any fat or sinew, it means it has been “blanched” (which means it has been cooked long enough to remove all connective tissue).
- Beef tendons should be free of any visible blood vessels. If there are veins running through the meat, then they have been exposed to blood and they may be ruined by cooking. Also, check for a white coating on the surface that would indicate it has been blanched.
- Inspect the surface for tenderness by pressing down on it with your finger or thumb; if you can easily depress 2/3 of its thickness, then there is no need to cook it.
- The beef tendon should be at least 1/4 inch thick, and preferably 1/2 inch or thicker.
- Look for a piece that has been cut from the eye of the round, which is a large muscle in the cow’s shoulder area. The round is one of the more tender cuts, so it’s important to look for a tough piece of meat.
Beef tendon is an often overlooked and underutilized part of the animal. While it’s tough and chewy, it’s also rich in collagen, which is known for being incredibly soothing and beneficial to the skin. You can add beef tendon to soups, stews, and broths, as it acts as a thickening agent that also adds body and richness to the dish. It’s also rich in iron, which helps prevent anemia, but is also great for building muscle. You can cook collagen-rich beef tendon by boiling it in a soup or stew with other ingredients to create a rich and flavorful broth.