Eighty bulls were assigned to one of two groups and fed a dietary regimen to defer or accelerate growth until slaughter. Bulls fed at an accelerated rate of growth (or high energy regimen) had higher post-mortem pH, and lower muscle glycogen stores, with darker lean color, and improved shear and palatability traits compared to deferred fed animals. Bulls fed at an accelerated rate of growth also had a higher degree of marbling and USDA quality grade. Electrical stimulation did not affect (P > 0·05) ultimate pH, but reduced (P < 0·05) glycogen values at 0 and 2 h post mortem. Electrical stimulation also improved muscle color, lowered cooking losses and improved the palatability of cooked longissimus dorsi steaks.