The Jewish Torah states that Jewish people may eat any animal that chews its cud and has cloven hooves. Kosher beef is beef that is slaughtered and prepared in accordance with Jewish tradition and the religion's rites. The method of preparation for this type of beef is significantly different from that of beef that millions of Americans feast on. In fact, according to oldandsold.com, only the forequarters of the cow are used by Orthodox Jews in the United States. Read on to find out more about kosher beef.
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Kosher beef is consumed in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, which dictate what Jewish people can and cannot eat based on the religion, and how foods should be prepared. The word "kosher" is an umbrella term for foods that fit into these dietary laws, according to jewfaq.org. Cattle that have died of natural causes, were killed by other animals or have diseases or flaws cannot be used for kosher beef, according to jewfaq.org.
When cattle are slaughtered for kosher beef, they are killed with a fast and deep cut across the throat with a sharp blade. According to jewfaq.org, this method of slaughtering is painless for the animal and causes them to lose consciousness fast--in less than 3 seconds. The blood is then drained from the animal, a key step to make the meat kosher.
According to oldandsold.com, once the cattle is slaughtered, the kosher beef must be used within 3 days. If it is used after that period of time, it must be washed every third day until 12 days have passed. At this point it won't be considered kosher and may or may not be used.
The majority of kosher markets or grocery stores that sell kosher beef only sell square-cut chucks, such as brisket, chuck and shin, according to oldandsold.com. Orthodox Jews tend to eat only the forequarters of the beef that have the ribs removed. All types of kosher beef are marked "kosher" for easy identification so that Jewish people can distinguish kosher beef from regular beef sold in markets.
According to jewfaq.org, Jewish religious officials and rabbis do not have to bless beef once it has been slaughtered for it to be deemed kosher. Beef can be kosher if it is prepared and slaughtered appropriately. So, even blessings over slaughtered beef cannot make it kosher if it hasn't been dressed and slaughtered in the kosher tradition. Utensils used to cut, eat and serve the meat must also be kosher, meaning that the utensils must not have come into contact with nonkosher food and that they cannot have previously been used to eat and serve dairy products, according to jewfaq.org.