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What Makes Highland Beef So Special?

Highland cattle have developed into an efficient and versatile beef breed. They are natural foragers in a variety of terrains and years of breeding have adapted them to out wintering in the severest of climates. Being largely self-sufficient, they require minimal maintenance.

They are fertile and usually calve outside unaided and unattended. Capable of surviving in the harshest weather conditions, Highlanders thrive where other breeds would fail. The Highland cow is long lived and matures on low input natural feed. Their outstanding hardiness minimises costs and many farmers are now recognising the inherent qualities of Highland cattle as a beef breed because of their ability to efficiently convert rough fodder into low fat, high quality beef. Because of the excellent way Highland cattle pass on to their progeny their many virtues they have become the basis of many breeding programmes for beef with that sought after quality.

Naturally Reared Naturally Tasty

The considerable attributes of Highland cattle make them the first choice for the production of specialist beef. Their non-selective grazing and foraging habits are acknowledged to enhance the flavour of the beef. This is because the composition of diet influences the products of digestion and hence the flavour and fat characteristics of the beef, both of which have a profound effect on eating quality. Highland cattle roam freely enjoying a diet of natural grass and fodder. The wonderful taste of the Highland beef produced is reflected in this diet of natural goodness because beef from grass and grass silage fed animals, as opposed to grain fed animals, generally produces a better quality meat. Feed can alter the fatty acid composition, flavour and oxidative stability of meat and forage based feeds tend to give lower saturated concentrations of fatty acids. Grass fed animals therefore produce ultimate flavour beef.

Full Flavour Beef
Pure Highland beef is slow maturing, lean, firm and very low in fat while at the same time rich in protein and iron. It is unsurpassed for flavour, tenderness and juiciness which comes from having just the right amount of marbling through the meat to give that succulent flavour so typical of old fashioned traditional beef. It lends itself magnificently to a range of cooking methods and different recipes.

Traceability
Today’s stringent market means that complete traceability of the product is essential. Through the Highland Cattle Society’s Herd Book, traceability can be assured. Records are now fully computerised. Each carcase has a provenance and can be instantly traceable to the farm where it was born and reared.

Key Factors that Affect the Taste of Beef

Cooking
Meat develops its flavour during the cooking process. Heat affects the compounds in the meat and the reactions that take place between these compounds result in the overall taste. Water soluble compounds and fatty acids are just two, which are characteristic of the species’ flavours, and these in turn may vary due to the animal and the breed and the degree of “fatness”. Fat adds specific flavour and aids the entrapment of moisture within the meat and during the cooking process, it keeps meat moist and succulent.

Diet
In rearing animals, diet has the greatest effect on the flavour of the meat, because animal diet is an important factor in producing fat type, which effects flavour.


Processing
In processing the carcass aging and conditioning scores highly. It has been demonstrated that both bone-in and boneless vacuum packed products has significantly higher overall palatability and flavour than dry aged beef.