Increased meat toughness with animal age has been attributed to mature trivalent collagen cross-link formation. Intramuscular trivalent collagen cross-link content may be decreased by reducing animal age at slaughter and/or inducing muscle re-modeling with growth promotants. This hypothesis was tested in m. gluteus medius (GM) and m. semitendinosus (ST) from 112 beef steers finished at either 12 to 13 (rapid growth) or 18 to 20 (slow growth) months of age. Hereford-Aberdeen Angus (HAA) or Charolais-Red Angus (CRA) steers were randomly assigned to receive implants (IMP), ractopamine (RAC), both IMP and RAC, or none (control). RAC decreased pyridinoline (mol/mol collagen) and IMP increased Ehrlich chromogen (EC) (mol/mol collagen) in the GM. In the ST, RAC increased EC (mol/mol collagen) but decreased EC (nmol/g raw muscle) in slow growing CRA steers. Also, IMP increased ST pyridinoline (nmol/g raw muscle) of slow-growing HAA steers. Results indicated alteration of perimysium collagen cross-links content in muscle in response to growth promotants.