The objective of this study was to evaluate eating qualities of beef produced at public abattoirs from Arsi, Bale and Harar cattle breeds with semi-trained sensory panel evaluation and instrumental tenderness. The samples were collected from the longissimus dorsi region between 12th and 13th ribs within 45 min after slaughters. The samples were packed in vacuum-seal and aged for14 days to evaluate instrumental tenderness using Warner Bratzler Shear Force Device and eating quality using panel testing. Mean values of 33.12 N, 7.12, 7.2 and 7.24 were determined in instrumental tenderness, sensory tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of beef respectively. The parameters were significantly affected by age, breeds and season interactions (P<0.01). Breed interaction with age and season exhibited significant variation (P<0.05) on water holding capacity. Beef pH was significant affected by season. The instrumental tenderness had negative medium relationship with sensory attributes conducted for tenderness and juiciness, but positive with flavor. From this study, it was concluded that quality of beef produced in study areas was relatively tender but becomes tough as cattle gets older. It is recommended that strategy should be developed to encourage premium payment for young cattle marketing that is not exposed to draft service and creating awareness among stakeholders on quality beef production.
Keywords: Beef, Breeds, Ethiopia, Instrumental tenderness, Sensory panel testing