DENVER – Six new beef cuts from the beef round debuted this week at the first Innovative Beef Symposium in Denver. Created by checkoff-funded Beef Innovations Group (B.I.G.), the newly developed cuts are part of B.I.G.’s effort to help meat processors, manufacturers, retailers, foodservice operators and cattle producers maximize yield, add versatility and increase profitability.

The new cuts, which provide lean steak and roast options suitable for retail and foodservice outlets, are:

• Santa Fe Cut – Similar to a flank steak, ideal for fajitas, stir fry or shredded beef.

• Round Petite Tender – Flavorful, best cut into medallion steaks, offers a restaurant-quality experience on a bed of pasta or a roast for two.

• San Antonio Steak – Half-inch lean steak, versatile and cooks fast, works well with a marinade.

• Tucson Cut – Ideal lean cut for foodservice operations looking for value.

• Braison Cut – Ideal for any braising application and makes a great osso buco or pot roast.

• Merlot Cut – Deep red color, lean and flavorful, ideal for a variety of ethnic dishes.

“As the marketplace continues to evolve, it creates opportunities for new beef cuts to be used as a competitive advantage,” said Jim Ethridge, senior director of the Beef Innovations Group for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (N.C.B.A.), which contracts to manage new product development efforts for the Beef Checkoff Program. “Past work on the chuck subprimal had yielded benefits to all segments of the industry, and the muscles of the round offer the next frontier of innovation and additional value.”

B.I.G., as a team of meat scientists and industry professionals who work together to inspire beef innovation, has considerable experience working with the value-added cuts from processing to end-use application. More than 80 representatives from meat processors, packers and food manufacturing companies convened to learn how to fabricate, merchandise, menu and profit from the new cuts at the Symposium. Cutting guides and related marketing materials for the new round cuts will be available on by Sept. 30, 2010.

B.I.G. began its mission in 2007 to explore this underutilized subprimal, which represents 30% of the beef carcass. Since then, a team of meat scientists has been working on locating whole-muscle cuts. This effort leverages the checkoff-funded Muscle Profiling Research, which aided B.I.G. to uncover many successful cuts over the years known as the “Beef Value-Added Cuts,” a line of beef steaks and roasts that allow consumers to enjoy more steaks and roasts that are easy to prepare and often moderately priced.

Some of these previously launched cuts have grown in popularity, such as the Petite Tender, Ranch Steak, Flat Iron Steak and five cuts from the chuck roll, and are now being manufactured throughout the U.S. and sold through retail and foodservice outlets. CattleFax estimates B.I.G.’s new product development initiatives have already resulted in an industry added-value of $50 to $70 per head or $1.4 billion in annual sales. New cuts from the chuck roll and the round are expected to increase this number significantly as they enter the mainstream marketplace.