In our previous article we discussed the different ways of grading beef. It’s quite complex, is it not? To help simplify this process, we are following up with an article that explains, in simple terms you can refer back to our previous article for, how judges grade beef. This article will be much easier to fully explain the grading process, and will help to make much more sense of our previous article. There are three main grades set forth by the USDA. They are: Prime beef, Choice beef, and Select beef. Here are the differences between each according to the USDA:
According to the Canadian Beef Grading Standards, the breakdown is similar but different in name, as follows with their descriptions:
Canada has a slightly more stringent mode of grading beef. Whereas yellow fat is permitted in the United States to allow for a grade of Prime Beef, it is not in Canada. The meat can only be bright red in color in Canada to earn any of the four grades available, this is not the case with the USDA grading system. To meet the Canadian standards of grading, the meat must always be firm, unlike the USDA which is slightly more flexible on the texture of the meat.
The differences between these grades of beef can range from unnoticed to extreme. When considering which beef to purchase, there are things to note about each type of beef. For instance, you don’t need to spend that extra money on Prime beef when purchasing loin cuts as they are naturally tender and are nearly identical to Choice beef. When springing the extra money for the Prime beef, make sure you pick a beef that can cook to perfection because of the marbling and fat, i.e. a rib-eye or New York Strip.
Also, when searching for your Choice beef, there is often a subsection that is not labeled known by either “small marbling” or “moderate marbling”. If you don’t pay close attention to the marbling of the Choice steak you’re purchasing, you may be paying for a lower quality grade of beef even though it’s labeled Choice and costs the same as all the other beef cuts of the same type that are labeled as Choice beef.
When purchasing a Select beef, make sure to go for the loin or rib section as they will be tenderer than any other cut of Select beef. If you do happen to purchase a tougher cut of Select beef, it’s best to put that into a stew, marinate it heavily, or braise it.
Now that you have a breakdown to go by when choosing your grade of beef, stay smart and make sure your beef is graded appropriately and is marked accordingly. The Market is fully experienced and educated on the beef grading process and only selects the finest grades of beef there are on the market. If you ever have any questions about what types of beef we carry, call us anytime at +966.13.845.6798 and we will be happy to answer any and all your questions. We look forward to hearing from you soon! And our next article will covering the difference between wet and dry aging of beef. Stay tuned!