What’s Your Beef: What You Should Know About Different Beef Grades

The grading scale is not a new idea. We have been thinking about grades since we were in elementary school. If you work hard and get good grades, you can be the very best, right? Good grades meant success and excellent quality. Beef grades are not too far from that idea. Similar to how universities choose who to accept, consumers like us also need to determine what type of meat we put on our plates– which we base off of a beef grade system.

Beef grades exist to provide the meat industry and consumers a clearly defined standard for the value of meat. Familiarizing yourself with the different beef grades helps you understand the distinct qualities of various meats.

When you know the different beef grades, you also know what you are spending your money on, thus saving you time. The beef grading system also ensures that consumers like you are never surprised by the quality of the meat you choose to buy. In the meat industry, beef gradings are also essential to increase and sustain market share by providing consumers a positive experience whenever they buy meat.

Without a doubt, consistent meat quality is critical to meat consumers everywhere and the beef grading system provides just that.

What Are Beef Grades?

How do you know if your meat is of top-notch quality? Well, within the beef industry, they use beef grading as a “language” to make business transactions easier. Beef grading establishes the requirements for various beef grade categories.

To establish the official quality grade, the beef grading procedure employs highly experienced personnel and, on occasion, grading tools. These qualities comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) official grade criteria, which are created, maintained, and interpreted.

The degree of marbling determines the beef grade of meat. Marbling, the fat percentage mixed with lean meat, provides tenderness, flavor, and juiciness.

The Eight Different Beef Grades

The USDA categorizes beef into eight classes. The top five classes are marketed as beef cuts to consumers, while the three lowest grades are often utilized solely for processed and canned meats. Most of the meat offered at local supermarkets and restaurants will be classified as

  • Prime
  • Choice
  • Select

Here are the eight different beef grades in descending order:

1. Prime Beef

Prime is the best quality of beef you can get, and it makes up only 2-to-3% of the available meat in the market. It is produced from young and well-fed animals. Prime beef features a lot of marbling and is frequently offered in hotels and restaurants.

If you are buying for personal use, it has the highest amounts of marbling and intramuscular fat, making it more forgiving when cooked and producing a tasty and juicy dinner.

2. Choice Beef

Choice beef is still of excellent grade, although it has less marbling than prime beef. It is the most found grade of beef in supermarkets. Customers who buy this beef will have a pleasant and juicy dining experience.

Dry-heat roasts and steaks of choice meat from the loin and rib will be particularly tender, juicy, and tasty. Many of the less tender cuts, if not overdone, may also be cooked using dry heat.

3. Select Beef

Select beef is of excellent quality and usually leaner than prime and choice beef. It is reasonably delicate, but due to reduced marbling, it may lack some of the juiciness and taste of the higher grades of meat. Certain cuts are usually marinated or braised to enhance eating enjoyment.

4 – 5. Standard and Commercial Beef

These are the last grades to reach retailers, but they will not be branded since they are not distinctive and have minimal marbling. They may go by the name “ungraded” or the store’s house brand.

6 – 8. Utility, Cutter, and Canner Beef

These grades of beef make up about 1% of the graded cattle and are mostly older compared to the other meats. They are used in commercially ground beef or processed and canned goods.

Make No Mis-Steak at Chad’s BBQ

To understand beef grading is to realize that you deserve to know if your meat is of high quality or not. When you understand more about the different meat you handle, you can better learn different techniques for preparing it.

Whether you love choice beef or select beef, it does not matter. What matters is that you can choose, and why not choose a place that serves only the best and consistent quality of meat? It can be one thing to learn different beef grades, but it is another to taste Chad BBQ’s meats. Order from us or check out our blog!