A Bite Of Kosher Beef
We often see kosher beef on the market along with a number of other kosher foods. Most associate the term with the Jewish religion, but few outside of that religion actually know what the term kosher means.
If you are not Jewish, and ate kosher beef you'd probably find it tastes no different than any other beef, although the cuts may be different. Kosher beef is beef that has been prepared in a carefully prescribed manner, and in some in all cases the meat from the forequarters of the cow only.
We usually assume that kosher food, including kosher beef has been blessed by a rabbi, this being one of the requirements. A blessing however is not always required, and if the beef has not be prepared in the proper manner, a blessing would not make the meat kosher anyway.
First of all, the word kosher means "clean". Clean however means more than not being dirty or germ laden. In the Jewish religion, clean food is food that has been prepared in accordance with religious law, and in the case of kosher beef, also means that the animal must not have died of natural causes or have been diseased. Road kill cannot be used for kosher food, nor can the meat of an animal that has been killed by another animal.
Preparation Of Kosher Beef - To prepare kosher beef, the throat of the cow is slit, supposedly leading to a quick and painless death, as the animal loses blood and consciousness quickly. Orthodox Jews regard the cuts of beef from the 10th rib forward as kosher beef, and religious law does not permit the consumption of meat behind the 10th rib or the hindquarters. In some areas the rib cuts are included in kosher cuts of beef while in other localities the rib cuts are not used. One will not find some of the more traditional cuts of beef such as sirloin steaks or T-bone steaks in any selection of kosher beef cuts, these cuts coming from behind the 10th rib. The cuts used for kosher beef are for the most part chunks of brisket, chuck, and shin.
The slaughter and preparation of the cuts are often done under the supervision of a rabbi, although a rabbi's presence is not always a necessity as long as the procedures used have been approved. Even the knives used in slaughtering and dressing the meat have to be clean in the sense that they cannot have been used on any non-kosher food nor used to prepare, serve, or eat any diary product.
The Three Day Law - Finally, once the animal is slaughtered, the beef must be consumed within 3 days, after which it is no longer kosher. However, if the meat is washed and cleaned during the 3rd day, it will remain kosher and will be kosher up to 12 days as long as it is washed and cleaned every 3rd day. Beef cuts that are over 12 days old cannot be consumed according to Jewish religious law.
Summary – The significance of kosher beef has more to do with religious law and ritual than with taste. Other kosher foods, including kosher pickles, are usually every bit as tasty and delicious as non-kosher foods, but have been prepared in accordance with Jewish religious law, as spelled out in the Torah. While there may be many instances where an Orthodox Jew cannot eat non-kosher food, there is apparently no restriction placed upon those not of the Jewish faith as far as consuming kosher beef or any other kosher food is concerned. It's all in the preparation.