what are the three grades of beef

USDA-graded beef sold at the retail level is Prime, Choice, and Select.

Knowing The Grades of Beef – USDA Grades of Beef

On the topic of quality grade, it’s all about the eating experience of beef. According to USDA, quality grades are contingent on two main criteria– the degree of marbling or intramuscular fat in the beef, and the maturity or estimated age of the animal at slaughter. In total, there are 8 quality grades: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner. They have been consistently used by the beef industry since 1927. Of the 8, the first three, (Prime, Choice, and Select) are the most commonly recognized by consumers and are considered food-grade labels by USDA. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service offers the following definitions of all eight grades for both beef producers and consumers:

  • Prime: Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. It has an array of marbling and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels.
  • Choice: Choice beef is high quality, but contains less marbling than Prime.
  • Select: Select beef is very uniform throughout, especially in quality and how lean it is. It is fairly tender, but since it has less marbling, it may lack some juiciness and flavor, compared to higher grades.
  • Standard and Commercial: These grades of beef are most often sold as ungraded or store-brand meat.
  • Utility, Cutter, and Canner: These 3 beef grades are seldom, if ever, they might occasionally be sold in the retail space. But more often than not, they are utilized to make ground beef and processed products like canned soup or frozen meals.

Grades Of Meat and USDA Yields

Many packers use brand names to reflect the varying quality levels of their products, instead of using USDA grade stamps. It is important to do business with a butcher you trust, where you can expect honest service.

what are the three grades of beef

Prime (Best) The highest grade of beef and lamb. It has the best flavor and texture. Prime meat is marked with a purple shield-type roller stamp. Prime sells at premium prices, because it is produced in smaller quantities than other grades.

Prime meat is generally not found in the supermarkets. It is primarily sold to top restaurants, hotels and top butchers.

Dorfler’s Meat Market Carries USDA Prime Cuts!

Choice (better) – The next grade after prime is Choice. Much of today’s supermarket meat is USDA Choice. It is the most popular grade overall and often bears a brand name.

Select (good) – Select is the lowest grade available to the consumer and makes up the rest of meat in the supermarket. It may be sold with a house brand name.

USDA Yields – The yield of usable meat from a carcass or wholesale cut can vary greatly, regardless of the grade. This variation is caused, primarily, by differences in the amount of fat on the outside of the carcass. USDA has grades to measure this yield. Yield Grade 1 denotes the highest ratio of lean to fat, and Yield Grade 5 the lowest yield ratio.

USDA-graded beef sold at the retail level is Prime, Choice, and Select.

FAQ

What are the grades of beef in order?

There are eight total quality grades: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner. They have been used by the beef industry since 1927. The first three quality grades — Prime, Choice and Select — are the most commonly recognized by consumers and are considered food-grade labels by USDA.

What is the best class of beef?

Prime grade beef is the highest quality you can get.

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