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Steers finished in two management systems were used to compare carcass and palatability characteristics. Calves (n=34) were finished on a high concentrate diet for 203 days. Yearlings (n=42) grazed forages followed by 93 days on a high concentrate diet. Calves had higher marbling scores, lower shear force values and higher sensory ratings for tenderness, flavor and overall acceptability. Compared at equal marbling scores, calves had lower shear force values and higher sensory ratings for tenderness and overall acceptability. The risk of steaks being classified as “tough” was higher in yearlings, but relatively low, especially at extended aging times.