Whenever you think of bulls, you often think of the muscular cows seen on rodeos or bullfights. With that said, they’re not exactly the kind of cow you think of whenever you eat a juicy steak. Nevertheless, are they edible? Are they safe to eat?
Bulls are not eaten the way cows are. While also edible, bull meat is known to be tougher and needs to be chewed more – and that makes it less pleasurable to eat. It also has a different taste, owing to the testosterone produced by the bull.
However, there’s a need to dig into this topic deeper. The reason for this is that some male cows are castrated at a young age, and they are then raised for meat. But in this case, they are referred to as “steer”, instead of “bull”. If you want to know more about it, just continue reading.
Are Bulls Male Cows?
The generic term for male cows is “bulls”. This is to distinguish it from the females, which are generally termed “cows,” as well as young cows, which are referred to as “calves”. Collectively, cows and bulls are referred to as “cattle”.
However, in terms of talking about the source of cow meat, a further distinction should be made between castrated and non-castrated bulls. The cows that are castrated as calves are called “steers”.
This is important to remember since steers are no longer capable of producing testosterone, the hormone responsible for making bulls lean and muscular. As a result, steers have meat that’s still fatty – and therefore marbled. This makes it flavorful and pleasurable to eat.
This is in contrast to the meat produced by non-castrated bulls. These are the cows often referred to when people talk of “bull meat”. Since they are not castrated, they are mainly raised for breeding purposes.
And because of the testosterone in their bodies, they are leaner and more muscular than steer. This makes them produce lean and darker meat – which ends up being quite dry when cooked.
To sum things up – all male cows are generally called bulls. But as far as the source of meat is concerned, they are further categorized as the castrated steer and the non-castrated bulls.
Do We Eat Bulls or Just Cows?
It is not the norm to eat bulls. Cow meat often referred to as beef, is derived from female cows and steers. This is because steer and female cow meat has more fat, which results in tender, juicy, and flavorful beef when cooked. This is especially true for the meat from the heifer or the young cow that has not yet given birth.
In contrast, bull meat is not only muscular, but it also contains more connective tissue. This results in dry, chewy, and meat with hard nerves that makes it difficult to eat. It also contains less flavor since bulls have less body fat. Nevertheless, bull meat is still edible. But the difference in texture and flavor takes getting used to.
Why Do We Eat Cows and Not Bulls?
The preference for cow meat lies in the fact that their beef is tender and flavorful when cooked. Their beef is likewise easier to chew and can be cooked in different ways. Whether it’s a steak, cooked in a stew, or stir-fried in strips, cow meat will be soft and tender.
This is in contrast to the dry and stringy bull meat. While it’s not as pleasurable to eat, bull meat can still be eaten. Bull meat is often ground to make it easier to eat.
Are Bulls Slaughtered for Meat?
Bulls are not usually slaughtered for meat. In the strict sense of the word, “bull” refers to male cows that are not castrated. These cows are often used for breeding or sport, so they are not the usual cows you think of when it comes to producing meat.
With that said, castrated bulls – otherwise known as steers – are the ones slaughtered for meat. Because they have been castrated at a young age, they no longer produce the testosterone that could make their bodies extra muscular. And because their meat doesn’t have as much muscle, it can contain enough fat to produce tender, juicy meat.
Does Bull Meat Taste Like Cow Meat?
Bull meat does not taste like cow meat. Bear in mind that the delicious flavor that comes from cow meat is owing to its marbling – or the fat content of the meat. The fat also makes it juicier, which helps heighten the flavor as you chew.
As previously discussed, the testosterone present in a bull’s body prevents it from producing as much fat. Additionally, testosterone is responsible for producing more muscle. Hence, the bull has leaner meat, and that’s why it has a different taste and texture than cow meat.
Does Bull Meat Taste Different?
Bull meat has a different taste than other cow meat usually used for beef. Bear in mind that the flavors often associated with beef come from its marbling. Since bull meat is leaner and has more muscle, it does not have enough fat in its meat to create marbling. This creates a slice of dryer meat that’s less flavorful.
But, this should be contrasted to the taste produced by steer meat. Since steers are castrated at a young age, testosterone production is halted. As a result, the young male cow does not produce as much muscle. That’s why steer meat, although technically from a male cow, makes great beef.
Does Bull Meat Taste Bad?
Bull meat does not taste bad. Admittedly, bull meat has a different texture. It’s dry and takes a while to chew. But as far as taste is concerned, there’s not a lot of difference with cow meat.
When it’s minced or sliced in bite-sized pieces and seasoned accordingly, you may not be able to tell the difference with cow meat. But, this may only be true to limited dishes.
Does Bull Make Good Meat?
Whether or not bull makes good meat depends on a person’s point of view. For those who are after flavor and meat tenderness, bull meat may not make the best choice. After all, it has quite a dry texture that’s tougher to chew.
On the other hand, those who prefer lean meat will find bull meat to be a great choice. Since it doesn’t have as much fat, that also means that it has less cholesterol content than highly-marbled cow meat.
Does Steak Come From Cows or Bulls?
When it comes to meat used for steaks, it can be agreed that these come from cows rather than bulls. A good steak has a good amount of lean-to-fat content, which is evidenced by the marbling of the meat. Since there is not much marbling with bull meat, it also follows that it won’t make a great steak.
To be more specific, the ideal steak comes from either a heifer or a steer. Since these cows are quite young, they produce tender and flavorful meat once they are cooked.
Do We Only Eat Male Cows?
Both male and female cows are eaten. As earlier established, beef is often derived from heifers and steers. Heifer refers to the young female cows. Specifically, they are the ones that have not yet given birth. In contrast, steer refers to young castrated bulls. Their meat offers a balance between lean and fat content, which is quite a delicious combination.
But even then, adult female cows are also eaten even after they have already given birth. And that goes to show that both male and female cows are eaten.
Are Male Cows Used for Beef?
Male cows are also used for beef. They are further classified as “bulls” and “steers” – the former being used for breeding and the latter being castrated to be used for beef. Thus, steers are male cows that are raised specifically for their meat.
In the strict sense of the word, bulls are not eaten like cows. But that doesn’t mean that their meat is not edible. Bull meat is not favored because of its toughness and chewiness, but it has a distinct flavor that people can be accustomed to eventually. All things considered, bull meat can be eaten – but do not expect steak-like quality.
List of Sources
The Effects of Age and Gender (Bull vs Steer) On the Feeding Behavior of Young Beef Cattle Fed Grass Silage
Beef Quality Traits of Heifer in Comparison With Steer, Bull and Cow at Various Feeding Environments