Who Knew Beef Grading Was So Complex?

Beef Grading Saudi Arabia

How many of you reading this article knew there are different grades of beef? How many of you know how to tell the difference between a top-notch cut of beef and a mediocre cut of beef? The reality is, aside from restaurant chefs, most people don’t take the time to inspect their cuts of beef to ensure they are getting the best cut of beef they could get. The Market’s knowledge and expertise in beef grading are what separate us from other suppliers in our area. Beef grading is actually a complex process, one which we will attempt to simplify here.

  • One of the easier ways of being able to tell the grade of beef your seeing is the marbling. Marbling is the intramuscular fat’s intermingling within the lean. The degree of marbling is the initial determination of the quality and, therefore, grade of the beef. 
  • The next way to put a grade to beef is through its maturity. Not maturity as in years of age, but in the physiological age. From bone characteristics, to the color, texture and firmness of the ribeye, nearly every aspect of the meat carcass is inspected.
  • Both the maturity and the marbling of the beef are then cross examined together to fully grade the beef. According to Texas A&M’s article on beef grading, “After the degree of maturity and marbling has been determined, these two factors are combined to arrive at the Final Quality Grade. The fundamentals involved in applying quality grades are learning the degrees of marbling in order from lowest to highest and minimum marbling degrees for each maturity group and understanding the relationship between marbling and maturity in each quality grade.”
  • Fat is a great indicator of the grade of beef as well. The primary estimate of the fatness is fat thickness at the 12th . The color of the fat should be a pure white color, with no anomalies present. The average range of fatness between the 12th and 13th rib is usually ½ inch. Between the 12th and 13th rib is the so called “sweet spot” of estimating the overall beef carcass’ fatness. Fat is the key ingredient to marbling and without it, you’ll have a less tender, less flavorful piece of beef.

With all these facts, it truly boils down to appearance, texture, and firmness of the beef carcass. Beef with a bright red color, and white fat with slight traces and minimal marbling are the ideal beef. The color of the fat is ideal if it’s absolutely white with no discoloration and evenly distributed. The same goes for the muscling as far as consistency is concerned. The muscling is slightly related to the texture of the meat itself. With an even muscling distribution, the more likely the texture will be more consistent as well. If the muscling is tough, this can be a precursor or indicator of how tough the meat will be once cooked. Texture and muscling are closely coupled and each will determine the grade of beef due to whether the beef will be extremely tender, or on the other end of the scale. Judges behind the scenes look for a multitude of other items.

When looking to find the best cut of meat possible, it’s important to rely on a butcher which knows the different grades of beef cuts. The Market is completely experienced in beef grading and only offers the best of the best cuts of beef. To find out exactly how phenomenal our cuts of beef are due to our incredibly high standards when considering the purchase of beef, call us today at +966.13.845.6798 and we will be more than happy to answer any and all your questions. In our next article, we will show you how judges actually grade the beef into different categories.