Farmers in dry mountain areas are changing their management strategies to improve livestock farming efficiency, by using different forages or different breeds. The effect of breed (Parda de Montañana vs. Pirenaica) and finishing diet
(grazing on meadows vs. a total mixed ration (50% alfalfa, 40% maize grain, 10% straw)) on carcass characteristics and meat quality of steers was studied.
Parda de Montaña had a greater (P < 0.01) amount of intramuscular fat than Pirenaica. The finishing diet did not
influence carcass fat color, but fatty acid composition was slightly affected. Finishing steers on a total mixed ration increased the percentage of fat of the 10th rib (P < 0.001). Supplementation with concentrates increased the diet energy concentration and also increased the dressing percentage. Both breeds had similar carcass characteristics. Consumers preferred beef from the Pirenaica breed because of its greater tenderness. Consumers did not differentiate between beef from animals fed different finishing diets. However, consumers who like meat very much preferredmeat aged in a cooler at 4 ◦C for 15 days rather than 8 days.