Face of the mad meat scientist

To accurately describe Dr. Phil Bass, take two minutes and complete the following exercise:

  1. Empty one packet of Pop Rocks candy into a small Styrofoam cup.
  2. Add one shot of espresso, two cups of Mrs. Butterworth pancake syrup and a Ghost chili pepper.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Set cup on fire.
  5. Sprinkle with gasoline.

There has, perhaps, never been a man who loves meat more than Dr. Phil Bass. This is the man who shouts “Holy cows!” during business presentations. This is the man who sports T-shirts emblazoned with “SAUSAGE” across the front as his casual attire. This is the man who rattles off the Latin root name of beef cuts like a proud papa does the birth dates of his children. This is the man for whom great chefs around the world stop dead in their tracks and hang on his every word as he’s dissecting a side of beef like a kid rushing through a thoroughly wrapped package on Christmas morning.

“I lose sleep the night before I get to cut meat,” says Bass, a Ferndale, Calif., native who holds his doctorate in meat science from Colorado State University. “I grew up cutting meat as soon as I was tall enough to reach the table in my grandmother’s garage. I’ve just always found it fascinating. With meat, you get to cut into it and see how things work, and then you get to eat it in the end.”

Bass is the Certified Angus Beef LLC meat scientist.

Unofficially, he’s the biggest meat junkie this side of St. Louis.

“It’s a fascination of better understanding the workings of an animal, and then applying that to making a good eating experience,” Bass says. “Anybody can cut meat, but if you cut it the right way, you can get highly desirable pieces from what once was thought as a less desirable muscle.”

In his spare time, Bass spends his time “splitting firewood and driving my tractor,” and enjoying quality family time with his wife and two-year old son.

“When I get home for the weekend, if I don’t leave the place I’m content,” says Bass. “I love spending time with my family. Anytime spent with them is OK by me.”

And it’s a safe bet they’re dining on a tasty and tender Certified Angus Beef ® brand steak.

Published by

Bryan Schaaf

Bryan is a modern-day Hamburglar, minus the mask and kitschy catch phrase. There’s not a burger on the planet he wouldn’t take on — even those token ones for customers with less-adventurous palates. In his spare time, he’s a soccer junkie, musician, husband and father of the most adorable little carnivores this side of Jurassic Park.

9 thoughts on “Face of the mad meat scientist”

  1. Just a question. What would cause a C.A.B. sirloin tip steak to have a very strong “bloody” flavor? The steak was not a “dark cutter”, no blood-shot, or blood clots, I braised the beef in cubes, the same way I”ve cooked it for years. Could”nt eat it!

    1. Mike, great question for a great lean cut of beef! From my experience, the sirloin tip (a.k.a. round knuckle) can at times have muscles that may present some serumy/bloody flavors regardless of quality grade. Luckily, this is an extremely rare occurrence, especially within the Certified Angus Beef brand. The sirloin tip is still an excellent piece of meat for a slow cook item. I”m sorry you had a poor experience, however, for a braising item, if you are interested I would like to suggest a chuck clod/arm roast that will perform very simlarly to the sirloin tip with a great robust beefy aroma and from my experience has hardly any off-flavor issues. Thank you so very much for your support and please keep the great questions coming. Take care.

  2. Is it true that in North America certified Balck Angus beef does not have to come from aberdeen-angus cattle?

    1. Great question, John! Most of the nation’s cattle are crossbred, and the majority of them have Angus influence. Few cattle, except those used for breeding, are 100 percent Angus. Cattle qualifying for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand must first have Angus influence (with more than 50 percent black coat), or verified Angus genetics. The more Angus genetics in the cattle, the greater the chances of them qualifying for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand. Angus genetics alone don’t guarantee high quality beef, though. The Certified Angus Beef ® brand specifications do — that’s what makes it unique. It has 10 meat science specifications to ensure it’s the very best. Only 1 in 4 Angus cattle meet the brand’s high standards. Also, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand is the only brand owned by the more than 30,000 rancher members of the American Angus Association®. Thank you again for the great inquiry. Take care.

  3. Hay Phill hope you are well, here you go with some new specifications that I dont understand frankly, hope you might understand.

    Certified Australian Angus Beef” (CAAB®) aims to position itself in the market to provide a high quality beef meal which is tasty, tender and juicy at an affordable price. The CAAB® carcase specifications required to deliver this position are:

    NOTE – These specifications can be changed by mutual agreement at any time, this must be done so in writing.

    All CAAB® product will be graded to adhere to Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system.

    CAAB eligible cuts may be taken from Boning Group 1 – 7, unless otherwise agreed.

    GRAINFED: Approximately 120 days, according to ALFA Standards

    MARBLE SCORE: Minimum AusMeat Marble Score +1

    HOT STANDARD CARCASE WEIGHT:Average 320 to 400 kilograms

    FAT DEPTH (12th – 13th rib site): 10 to 18 millimetres

    OSSIFICATION: Less than 300


    MEAT COLOUR: 1B – 3

    FAT COLOUR : 0 – 2

    AGING: Striploin must be aged a minimum 28 days after slaughter, all other cuts must be aged a minimum 21 days after slaughter.

    CAAB Livestock Procurement Specifications

    SIRE – Angus, preferably to be registered in the Herd Book Register (HBR), Angus Performance Register (APR) or Red Angus Register (RAR) of The Angus Society of Australia.

    DAM – Straightbred Angus or Black Baldy.

    CATEGORY: Yearling/ Young Cattle

    SEX: Male or female accepted at the discretion of the feedlot and/or processor

    STEERS – No secondary sexual characteristics

    HEIFERS – At the discretion of the processor. No heifers that have calved or are in calf

    CURFEW LIVEWEIGHT and AGE: 380 – 500kg. Cattle outside this weight range may be procured subject to negotiation.

    TEETH 0-2 teeth as assessed at time of feedlot induction by feedlot trained personnel.

    FAT: Fat Score 2 – 3 (2 to 12 mm at P8 site)

    MATURITY: Mid to late maturity

    STRUCTURE: Cattle must be structurally sound in leg and feet conformation


    HGP STATUS: Must be advised by vendor and is required to be zero active HGP at time of induction

    BREEDER/GROWER: Preferably be a Financial Member of Angus Australia.

    IDENTIFICATION: Where the Supplier is not the Breeder all cattle supplied MUST be identified by NLIS device and/or ear tag. All cattle must be accompanied by a National Vendor Declaration (Cattle).

    INSPECTION: Cattle to be inspected, and accepted on farm by the Licensed Processor, Licensed Feedlot or nominated Buyer where required and as negotiated with the Licensed Processor, Feedlot or nominated Buyer.

    DELIVERY: Weighed and delivered to Processors ALFA Accredited Feedlot as determined from time to time.

    PAYMENT: 10 Days or as negotiated under terms of trade with the buying agent, feedlot or processor.

    FEEDBACK: Feedlot performance, slaughter details and chiller assessment information to be supplied by Licensed Processor.


    Where applicable, all livestock must be Meat Standards Australia (MSA) compliant, that is that the feelot must be MSA Accredited, it is preferred that producers also use an on farm quality assurance program for livestock welfare and production.

    Buyers reserve the right to reject any cattle on inspection that do not meet the above criteria or do not satisify the buyers inspection.

    Correctly completed National Vendor Declarations to accompany all cattle on arrival at licensed feedlot.

    Legal truck weights and driving times must be adhered to.

    As a CAAB Livestock Supplier you have agreed to your contact details being passed onto CAAB Quality Awards Program sponsors.

    NOTE – This specification is subject to change from time to time. If intending to supply it would be safest to ensure you meet all feedlot criteria through discussion with the purchasing agent

  4. Dr.Hook<just came from attending one of your "shows",and saw you take the last round piece of the carcass,with a hook and a bonning knife.You rock you inspire us and trnsmit that passion.We salute you.I'll see you in Miami laterand that's a promised you just don't know it.We'll have the red carpet ready.It wiil be an honor.

    1. Chef Tobon, it was a pleasure to work with you and the other chefs at the recent Chef Summit! Thank you for the kind words and I look forward to visiting with you in the future if travel allows. Take good care.

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