Interview with Bridget Wasser, Senior Director, Meat Science & Technology

Tell me about your role in the Beef Innovations Group. I'm responsible for leading the technical efforts of the Beef Innovations Group. This includes BIG work to investigate alternative carcass fabrication and subprimal cutting strategies intended to improve beef's eating quality and increase overall carcass value. It also includes disseminating technical information from BIG to educate industry partners and developing and managing the overall strategy for current and future Beef Innovations Group technical activities.

How long have you been working with beef? I've been working with beef for the checkoff since 2005 and focused on beef during my graduate studies as well.

Where did you train to cut beef? I learned the basics through my graduate program at Texas A&M University. There I worked to master beef muscle anatomy and major beef carcass break points. I also learned how to generate traditional beef cuts while in grad school. I've learned the finer points of muscle separation and generating alternative cuts through on-the-job training here. Sometimes getting thrown into the fire is the quickest way to learn. I get to do multiple cutting demonstrations and cutting activities each month so I get lots of practice!

Do you have a favorite cut of beef? If so, what is it? I have many favorites but the Petite Tender comes to mind as a top contender. What a tasty, tender and versatile cut. It's something I enjoy preparing and I'll try it any time I see it on a restaurant menu.

Tell me about your first truly great beef meal experience. My family was a "well done" family while I was growing up. So, I had a lot of charred steaks and burgers as a kid. Once I got involved with meat science in school and "saw the light," I converted the family over to at least medium and I had some great beef meals during grad school. I often joke that I grew up as consumer that considered beef flavor more important than beef tenderness. I loved beef regardless of its degree of doneness and that helps remind me that we've got to keep all types of consumers in mind when working with beef...not just those who are in the know about our products.
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