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People in the know are calling it "the next Wagyu" — because, like Japanese Kuroge Washu, the Piedmontese breed enjoys a unique genetic ability to create a unique and delictable meat that other breeds can not. As a result, this beef is incredibly lean, but like 100% purebred and Wagyu from Japan, it is ridiculously tender and exhibits a sweet flavor profile.
You may not have heard about the Piedmontese breed but it's is well worth trying. It will surprise you at first bite. Piedmontese beef is high in protein and beefy flavor, making it a health-conscious approach to steak night.
Both Piedmontese and Wagyu come from breeds of cattle with unique genetics that affect their beef. Piedmontese benefits from a genetic composition that makes for beef that is incredibly lean while simultaneously tender and flavorful. Wagyu beef comes from Kuroge-washu cattle, with its own genetic make-up that results in more intramuscular fat and extremely marbled meat.
Piedmontese cattle originate from Northwestern Italy in the Piedmont region, but have been raised in North America since the 1970s. The inactive myostatin gene, a unique genetic strain in Piedmontese cattle, allows for the breed's renowned "double muscling." This feature increases tenderness without producing excess marbling, which results in a higher lean-to-fat ratio and lower cholesterol.
In blind taste tests, Piedmontese often beats 100% purebred and Japanese Wagyu steaks. While Piedmontese is completely different from Wagyu, it often comes out on top during taste tests and at dinner parties where beef tasting flights are on the agenda.
Piedmontese cattle at Emtman Brothers Farms
In a commodity market focused on marbling, Piedmontese are something special. This breed is nowhere seen in the commodity feedlot market because their myostatin gene makes them difficult to raise and unlikely to marble at the rates necessary for the USDA grading scheme. Translation: even though the beef is incredibly tender and flavorful, because of it's lean red looks, the commodity grading system doesn't give it the credit it deserves. So the producers — very few as they may be — avoid the commodity system, and it remains a niche beef that is extremely hard to find.
Much like Wagyu, Piedmontese beef is healthier than commercial alternatives. Piedmontese beef is higher in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, while being consistently tender with fewer calories. The meat is lean without losing the rich, beefy flavor.
The first time we tried Piedmontese in the office, Ethan took a bite and remarked "Wow, that's a great New York!" But it wasn't a New York -- it was Top Sirloin (a flavorful cut that's not known for tenderness).
Cattle grazing at Emtman Brothers Farms
Randy Emtman of Emtman Brothers Farms told us that his family started their Angus-Piedmontese herd by trying to find a beef that the whole family would love. As he explained to us, Piedmontese beef is extremely tender and lean, even lower in fat and cholesterol than skinless chicken. When crossed with Angus, the beef carries health benefits and a ton of flavor.
The Hubbard family of KD Piedmontese
For Chase Hubbard of KD Piedmontese, health was the main drive. Chase and his parents knew they wanted to offer healthier food from their ranch, so they started raising Piedmontese cattle and developed an all-natural program with absolutely no antibiotics or growth hormones.
Whether you're wild for Wagyu or an Angus all-star, we highly recommend trying Piedmontese beef at least once. Trying a variety of breeds, including Piedmontese, is how to become a true craft beef connoisseur.
Tasting flight of A5 Wagyu from Kagoshima, craft grain-finished Angus beef from Hutterian farm, and Piedmontese beef from Emtman Brothers Farms on a Crowd Cow branded Boos Block cutting board.
Cattle at KD Piedmontese