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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Romantic rib-eyes warming hearts

Heart-shaped+rib-eyes+are+%2414.99+per+pound+and+feed+two+people.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Heart-shaped rib-eyes are $14.99 per pound and feed two people.

Valentine’s Day is known as a day for sweet chocolates and candies, but the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center is serving couples with something a little heartier.
The Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center is the most extensive facility of its kind in the U.S., according to the Texas A&M University Department of Animal Science website. The 29,538-square-foot-facility includes a retail meat sales store, a multi-species harvesting facility, four large meat coolers, a processing/fabrication area, two cutting rooms, three smokehouses and a meat packaging area.
“The purpose of the center is really to conduct teaching, research and extension activities for the Department of Animal Science as they’re related to meat science,” Ray Riley, manager of the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center, said.
Few things are more romantic than a rib-eye steak for Valentine’s Day according to Riley, who said Rosenthal packages some of the best steaks.
“They’re very high quality,” Riley said. “They’ll be a great eating experience and the perfect gift.”
Rosenthal has been selling heart-shaped rib-eyes for Valentine’s Day since 2014, Riley said. The steaks cost $14.99 per pound and each feeds two people.
“The heart-shaped rib-eye steak comes from a boneless rib-eye roll and basically what we’re doing is cutting a butterflied steak,” Riley said. “It’s almost like two steaks in one. You’ve sliced one but it’s not all the way through and you’ve butterflied that out and then you trim it to give it more of the heart shape.”
The Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center has prepared students for the meat industry while providing current and former students with tasty products for over 35 years.
Riley said he has been the center’s only manager since completing his animal science undergraduate degree at Texas A&M in 1981. Not much has changed at the center in the last 36 years, but food safety and the humane treatment of livestock have become more important in the industry, according to Riley.
“In our meat science class, we expose our students to food safety, meat inspection and the harvesting of beef, lamb and pork,” Riley said.
Riley said Rosenthal provides students with a unique learning experience that is meant to prepare them for the animal industry after they graduate.
According to their website, The Rosenthal Center has a 148-seat classroom that allows for easy transport of meat from the coolers, making it easy to bring fresh products and carcasses into a learning environment.
“The facility allows [students] to get hands-on experience that they wouldn’t be able to gain any other way,” Riley said. “You have an industry setting with the opportunity to get hands-on experience.”
Learning at the Rosenthal Center is not limited to a classroom, according to animal science senior Anna Schmidt. Students are involved with the whole production process, from kill to final product.
“The students are on the kill floor for harvesting,” Schmidt said. “They watch and help with swine, lamb and cattle slaughter. They’re on the fabrication floor, they’re breaking down the carcasses right alongside the grad students and workers. If you have a job here, you learn pretty quickly that what you do is extremely important to how well the process runs and our overall goal to create a good product. Not many places give students those kinds of opportunities.”
Riley said most day-to-day activities at the center are based on the meats course and its lab. Students learn about different topics each week and the facility in turn converts the products used in lab for teaching to sellable goods.
The sellable goods are taken to Rosenthal’s retail meat sales store — the most familiar aspect of the center to students outside of the animal science program, Riley said.
According to the website, the Rosenthal meat sales area provides a variety of meat and dairy products including beef, pork, lamb, sausage, beef jerky and ice cream. All of these products are processed at the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center.
“When Ag Café gets busy, a lot of students come over here for our grab and go stuff like the beef jerky,” Schmidt said.
Riley said the store also offers products such as hickory smoked ham during the holiday season and a variety of products that many former students pick up for their tailgates during football season.
A complete price list and monthly specials can be found online at agrilife.org/Rosenthal. Orders can be placed by phone at 979-845-5651, by email at [email protected] or in person at the meat sales store Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Editor’s note: This story was written as part of AGCJ 313 taught by Dr. Holli Leggette in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication.

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