Meat traits and the expression of tenderness-related genes of Longissimus thoracis muscle were evaluated in 25 Goudali (G) bulls and 25 Italian Simmental x Goudali (SimGoud, SG) crossbreed bulls bred in Highland Plateau Savannah pastures of Cameroon. The mRNA early post-mortem abundance of Calpain-1, Calpain-2, Calpastatin, Caspase 3, Caspase 9, αB-Crystallin, Heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27), Hsp40 and Hsp70 was detected by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The Calpain-1, Calpastatin, Hsp27 and Hsp70 early post-mortem protein content was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The meat of G bulls had greater values of lightness and hue, and lower values of redness (P<0.05) than SG (36.7 vs. 32.5, 52.7 vs. 47.7 and 11.4 vs. 14.2, respectively). Moreover, the meat of G had greater drip loss (P<0.05) and cooking loss (P<0.01) than SG (3.70 % vs. 2.86 % and 36.69 % vs. 32.57 %, respectively). Tenderness and the expression of tenderness-related genes were not significantly different between the two genotypes. The expression of Hsp70 was greater in G than SG (P<0.05) both at the mRNA level and at protein level (1 vs. 0.46 and 1 vs. 0.81 fold change ratio, respectively) probably in relation to the adaptation to tropical climate of the local breed.