What’s Your Beef? Know the grade.

What’s Your Beef? Know the grade.

All beef is inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and is graded for quality and consistency. There are eight USDA grades –  Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner.  The highest grades are Prime and Choice. Prime tops the list due to its marbling and taste. Less than 2% of all beef produced in the United States earns the Prime designation.

Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle and has abundant marbling. Marbling – the little white flecks in beef – is key to flavor. The higher the amount of marbling, the more flavorful, tender, and juicy and the beef and the higher the USDA grade.  Prime graded beef is generally sold in upscale restaurants and through high-end butchers. You will not often see Prime graded beef in the supermarket. Again, only 2% of all beef produced in the US, qualifies for the Prime distinction.

Choice beef is very high-quality beef that has slightly less marbling than Prime. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful.

Select beef is normally leaner than the higher grades. Since it has less marbling, it lacks some of the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades.

Standard and Commercial grades of beef are frequently sold as ungraded or as store brand meat. Utility, Cutter, and Canner grades of beef are seldom, if ever, sold at retail. They are used in processed products and dog food.

Warning: Do not confuse Prime beef with prime rib — the prime rib refers to the location from where the meat is cut, not the graded quality of the beef. The grades refer primarily to the amount of fat marbling.

Avon Prime Meats prides itself on offering our guests, the finest meats available, Prime and the top grades of Choice. We do not sell Select grade beef. Remember, it’s best to know the grade.

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