Two experiments were conducted to determine the optimum protocol for maximizing meat quality with CaCl2 injection. Experiment 1 compared the effects of 30 min or 24 h postmortem injection of 175 mM CaCl2 or water at 10% (wt/wt) to controls on various measures of meat quality. An injection of CaCl2 reduced (P < .05) shear force values in all three beef muscles evaluated (longissimus, semimembranosus, and triceps brachii). Retail lean color was not affected (P > .05) by a CaCl2 injection at 24 h postmortem, but was slightly darker (P < .05) for an injection at 30 min postmortem. Psychrophilic and total aerobic microbial counts were higher (P < .05) in 30-min than in 24-h treatments and were higher (P < .05) in CaCl2- or water-injected semimembranosus muscle than in the control, but the treatment differences were minimal in 24-h injected meat. Experiment 2 compared the effects of 24-h postmortem injection of 200 mM or 250 mM CaCl2 at either 5 or 10% (wt/wt) to controls on meat quality traits. Both 200 and 250 mM CaCl2 reduced (P < .05) shear force values compared with the control. In addition, variation in shear force was decreased (P < .05) with CaCl2 injection. Beef flavor intensity was slightly lower (P < .05) and off-flavor ratings were slightly higher (P < .05) in CaCl2-injected meat, but the small differences were of no practical significance. Retail lean color was not affected (P > .05) by injection of the CaCl2 at 24 h. Injecting 200 mM CaCl2 at 5% (wt/wt) into 24 h postmortem meat can produce consistently tender meat without compromising other palatability or lean quality traits.