Understanding The Different Grades Of Beef So You Can Eat Better

Not all steaks or meat is created equal. If you buy a steak and are underwhelmed there is probably a good reason for it. Though you may think you overcooked it or did something wrong yourself during the preparation, the mistake likely started at the supermarket. 

Lots of people at this point understand the difference in cuts of meat and that each needs to be prepared a certain way to be good. What fewer people know is that there are different grades of meat that make a big difference in taste and texture. This is why the beef is so expensive at a steak house. They use the most expensive and highest quality grade.

In this article, I will go over what these cuts are so you can make sure that you are getting the best your budget can afford. 

US Prime

This is the highest grade of meat available so if you are looking for a steak that melts in your mouth then this is the grade to look for. You can do an experiment yourself to see the difference yourself. 

Get a prime Angus beef steak, whichever cut you prefer, and get the same cut in a different grade like select which is the two steps down and generally is what is stocked in supermarkets. 

Prime cuts have the ideal amount of marbling which is the fat content that is interspersed within the lean meat. This marbling is what is going to give the meat its flavor and tenderness. As the fat melts is makes each bite flavorful and is what makes it melt in your mouth. 

The other factor is that these cuts come from young cows so the meat is not as tough in general anyway. 

US Choice

The next step down from Prime is Choice and is what you can get if you want something good but don’t have the budget to go for a Prime cut. This is widely available so it is easier to find at your local supermarket. The fat content is lower but still respectable and the tenderness of the meat is decent as well. 

For the money, the quality of choice cuts is very good and perfectly acceptable for cooking at home and expecting the meat to be good. As long as you prepare the meat in the best way according to the cut then you can enjoy a very good steak.

US Select

The difference between Select and Prime are worlds apart. There is no comparison. And even the difference between Choice and Select is stark. This is what most supermarket steaks are going to be. 

The fat content is very low which is not a good thing. You want that marbling or the meat comes out tough and flavorless. It’s not going to be juicy and the texture is generally grainy or mushy. If it is even slightly overcooked it is ruined. 

Do yourself a favor and spend a couple of extra dollars for Choice and you’ll see that it wasn’t you making bad steaks it’s just that you selected the wrong one.

Related Posts