Chances are, you have a favorite way to eat a burger. Maybe you swear by Certified Angus Beef, or prefer your beef grass-fed. You might know the perfect ratio of ketchup to mustard or have a strong opinion about pickles, lettuce, or tomato. But you might not have considered how the different grades of beef affect the texture and flavor profile. Beef grades include Prime, Choice, and Select, and are assigned through a rigorous process. Take a look at what the different grades of beef mean, and more importantly, how you can best prepare them for mouth-watering consumption!
The USDA grade shields are assigned to beef to signify high-quality meat that is safe for consumption. Suppliers, restaurateurs, and consumers rely on these grades to safely enjoy a variety of different beef products. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service develops and interprets the grades based on official standards. Highly skilled meat graders assess each product using a subjective characteristic assessment and electronic measurement instruments. It’s the equivalent of your beef having to pass Calculus- it’s not easy to make the grade of Prime, Choice, or Select! In fact, there are 8 possible grades of beef- standard and commercial grade beef are sold as ungraded, or store-brand meat, and utility, cutter, and canner grades are used in processed meat products. So what do meat graders look for to assign the Prime, Choice, or Select grade?
When you bite into a juicy burger, you want to enjoy the highest quality beef. USDA grades help ensure that your beef has been safely sourced and meticulously chosen to deliver a delicious product. Here’s how to choose from the best of the best, to tantalize your taste buds.
This beef not only makes the grade, it’s eligible for the Ivy Leagues. It has superior quality and intramuscular fat content, which keeps it in high demand. Most Prime beef is sold by upscale restaurants and fine beef purveyors, and is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. Only about 2.9% of beef makes the grade of Prime.
Choice beef is still exceptional in quality but has slightly less fat marbling. Marbling refers to fat evenly distributed throughout the muscle, versus a layer of fat on the perimeter. This makes the cut a touch less juicy, but proper preparation still produces excellent results. It’s the most widely available grade in grocery stores and comprises over 53% of consumable beef.
With its lower fat content, select beef is the most uniform in quality but can lack the flavor and moisture of higher grades. It is normally leaner which makes it a popular choice for those who are more health-conscious. This is typically the lowest grade sold at commercial retailers, but with proper cooking techniques, you can achieve savory results.
Whichever grade you choose, don’t forget to dress it up with custom toppings! Take your tastebuds on an international adventure with a Spicy Kimchi Burger, Hawaiian Burger, or Jamaican Me Hungry Burger. Take a look at our recipe page for creative inspiration.
High quality ground-beef purveyors are the most trusted sources for top-quality beef selection. Schweid & Sons is a fourth-generation family-owned company that is synonymous with superior beef products. We carry the full spectrum of Angus, Certified Angus Beef®, All-Natural, Wagyu, USDA Prime®, Hereford, Grassfed, Choice and Custom Blends of beef. Our CAB burgers are made from the finest beef, as only 3 out of 10 cattle receive this distinction. We’ve received the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3 Certification, the highest level given by the World Standard for Safety initiative and use the same suppliers year-round to guarantee consistency in our products. We’ve been satisfying burger cravings for over 40 years, and can help you choose the best beef from our wide selection of everything from pre-formed patties to proprietary and custom blends. To learn more about the best grades of beef and how to select them, contact us today!