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Meat Quality & Eating Quality

Buffalo meat and beef are basically similar.

  • The muscle pH- (5.4)
  • Shrinkage on chilling-2%
  • Moisture-76.6%
  • Protein-19%
  • Ash (1%)

All above is same in buffalo meat and beef. Buffalo fat, however is always white and buffalo meat is darker in color than beef because of more pigmentation or less intramuscular fat (2-3% "marbling" compared with the 3-4% in beef).

Eating Quality

Taste panel tests and tenderness measurements, conducted by research teams in a number of countries have shown that the meat of the water buffalo is as acceptable as that of cattle. Buffalo steaks have been rated higher than beef steaks in some taste tests in Australia, Malaysia, Venezuela and Trinidad. In taste panel studies in Trinidad, cooked joints from 3 carcasses ... a Trinidad buffalo, a crossbred steer (Jamaica-Red/Sahiwal), and an imported carcass of a top grade European beef steer ....were served. The 28 diners had experience in beef production, butchery, or catering and were not told the source of the various joints. All carcasses were held in cold storage for 1 week before cooking.

The buffalo meat was rated highest by 14 judges; 7 chose the European beef; 5 thought that crossbred beef is the best; and 2 said that the buffalo and crossbred were equal to or better than the European beef. The buffalo meat received the most points for color (both meat and fat); taste, and general acceptability. There was little difference noted in texture. Buffalo veal is considered a delicacy. Calves are usually slaughtered for veal between 3 and 4 weeks of age; dressed weight is 59-66% of live weight.

There is some evidence that buffaloes may retain meat tenderness at more advanced age than cattle because the connective tissue hardens at a later age or because the diameter of muscle fibers in the buffalo increases more slowly than in cattle. In one test the tenderness (measured by shearing force) of muscle fibers from carcasses of buffalo & steers of 16-30 months old was the same as that from feedlot Angus, Hereford, and Friesian steers 12-18 months old. This gives the farmer more flexibility in meeting fluctuating markets price.