For some meat producers, a new push for buttery beef from older cows

File photo: Thomas Emil Sørensen

Steak from "old" cows is something of a national obsession in Spain. What Spaniards know is that even more than time spent in the dry-aging locker, great steaks come from time spent on the hoof. The country's Rubia Gallega cattle can live for more than a decade munching grass, packing on muscle and developing layers of buttery golden fat before they're considered plate-worthy.

Finding such beef in U.S. restaurants has traditionally been a challenge. When chef José Andrés was looking for American beef that he could serve in Las Vegas as vaca vieja (old cow) at Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, he tried some 500 different cuts of steak in his search. He eventually discovered Mindful Meats of Point Reyes Station, Calif., where he sources steaks from former dairy cows that are from eight to 10 years old...

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