Whats Your Beef Prime Choice Or Select
The USDA grade shields are highly regarded as symbols of safe, high-quality American beef. Quality grades are widely used as a “language” within the beef industry, making business transactions easier and providing a vital link to support rural America. Consumers, as well as those involved in the marketing of agricultural products, benefit from the greater efficiency permitted by the availability and application of grade standards.
Beef is evaluated by highly-skilled USDA meat graders using a subjective characteristic assessment process and electronic instruments to measure meat characteristics. These characteristics follow the official grade standards developed, maintained and interpreted by the USDAs Agricultural Marketing Service.
Beef is graded in two ways: quality grades for tenderness, juiciness and flavor and yield grades for the amount of usable lean meat on the carcass. From a consumer standpoint, what do these quality beef grades mean?
Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. It has abundant marbling , and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for dry-heat cooking such as broiling, roasting or grilling.
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 but are used instead to make ground beef and processed products.
The Problems With Prime
The USDA’s Prime grade is complicated by two confusing issues, and both relate to marbling. For the past century, our entire beef-grading system has been based on the now-controversial notion that marbling, the dispersion of white fat in red muscle, is the single most important criterion for measuring beef quality, without regard to age, breed, feed, flavor, tenderness, or any other factors. When this system was adopted, our cattle industry was a lot more homogeneouswe ate mostly meat breeds that were finished with corn or other grains, and within this reasonably consistent pool of beef, marbling was a fairly telling way to differentiate quality. But marbling is not everything. Grass-fed beef has far less marbling than grain-fed, yet many prefer its flavor. Certain breeds produce better-tasting meat without an accompanying increase in marbling. In many beef-obsessed countries, like Spain, older, more flavorful animals are considered superior. The Japanese beef-grading scale evaluates both the quality and the luster of the fat as well as marbling, while our scale considers all fat equal.
“Major distributors have access to the best meat, and with the number of high-end steakhouses out there, I’d be shocked if the top level of Prime is ever reaching retail,” says King. “But almost no Prime whatsoever used to reach retail, so it’s still good for consumers.”
Like Steak But Not Sure If Prime Is Worth The Money
I recently conducted a blind taste test of USDA Choice, USDA Prime, Certified Angus, and Grass-fed ribeye steaks.
Prime is definitely the most expensive of those 4, but did it taste the best? Find out my results in this recent article and brief video where youll see it all unfold!
Just click that link to see it on my site!
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Is Organic Beef Grass
Organic beef does not necessarily mean it was grass-fed.
Organic means that the animal was not given added hormones or antibiotics or pesticides in the food. The feed can be grass, corn or soy .
Grass-fed meat means that the animal was pasture-raised and was not fed corn or soy. Grass-fed meat is often organic, but organic does not necessarily mean grass-fed.
Because cattle that are fed grain are inherently less healthy, organic does not necessarily mean better. Studies show that grain-fed cattle have unhealthy omega 6 to omega 3 fats. They have higher saturated fat and tend to be pro-inflammatory.
Grass-fed cattle have a much healthier omega 6 to omega 3 fat ratio.
They also tend to contain more vitamins, are less likely to have E. coli, less saturated fat, and fewer calories than commercial grain-fed meat.
So, if you are looking to purchase the healthiest steak, look for organic grass-fed beef with a USDA rating of at least Choice.
What Does Usda Prime Mean
Beef in America is graded by the USDA. The first thing you need to look for is a symbol on the package that says USDA Prime. For the defintion of Prime Beef, we turn to what the USDA says : “USDA Prime is the superior grade with amazing tenderness, juiciness, flavor and fine texture. It has the highest degree of fat marbling and is derived from the younger beef.” It’s all about the how much fat is running through the meat and how old the animal was. Younger beef is more tender. If you can develop good marbling in a short time, then you will have prime beef. This isn’t easy to, it requires perfect timing, which is why most beef isn’t prime.
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Rethinking Prime Beef: Why Choice May Be Your Best Bet
America loves red meat. We’re the fourth-largest per capita consumer of beef in the world, just behind Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay burgers are our nation’s most popular dish and there are far more high-end steakhouses than ever before. But, while we adore our beef, as consumers we tend to be much better at eating it than buying it. Many diners and shoppers do not understand what informs beef labeling practices, or how to make the best choices to fit their tastes and budgets.
US beef shoppers have probably never had more good options than they have today. The availability of truly natural beef, raised without antibiotics, steroids, growth hormones, or the cannibalistic consumption of animal by-products, is greater than ever in recent history. Those who prefer 100% grass-fed, grass-finished meat are also in luck, with many more products on the market. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, raised its house beef standard from “Select” to “Choice”the second best of all eight USDA beef gradeswhich is nothing to sneeze at. Perhaps the biggest change of all is that our coveted “Prime” beef, once the sole province of expense-account steakhouses and specialty butchers, has trickled down to the shelves of some supermarkets, and even Costco. Everyday backyard grillers who previously had little or no access to it can now buy Prime steaks along with their economy packages of toilet paper.
Choosing The Right Cut Of Steak
Cuts of steak can be broken down into three sections. Startingon the upper back and moving down to the mid-back are the ribs, theshort loin and the sirloin.
- The rib area contains cuts such as the Rib-eye Steak, the RibRoast, and the back ribs. This is the least tender section of thethree.
- The short loin area produces the T-bone, Top Loin Steak, Tenderloin and the Porterhouse.
- The Sirloin gives the Sirloin Steak, and the Top Sirloin.
- Other steaks like the chuck, round, and flank come from those areas and tend to be tougher cuts of meat.
- Strips steaks, such as New York Steak are cut from the T-bone area.
If you are looking for the most tender cut of beef, it is thetenderloin. Other cuts from this area are filet mignon,chateaubriand and tournedos. Though these are the most tenderthey are also less flavorful.
The rib-eye, or rib steak can be a little less tender but far moreflavorful. Small streaks of fat throughout the meat mean moreflavor. So with more marbling you get less tenderness but moreflavor.
Finding a balance between the two, gives you the best steak. Top loin and sirloin are slightly less tender but have more flavor thantenderloin. With cooking cuts of meat such as these there is noneed to marinate or even cook past medium rare.
Some of the most flavorful but least tender cuts of beef aretri-tip or flank steaks. These are also favorites on thebarbeque. Your best bet is to marinate these cuts beforecooking. Also, leave the fat on until after the meat is cooked.
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Best Mail Order Steaks In 2021
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Until recently if you wanted to buy the best quality steak you were severely limited by where you lived.
Luckily we are now spoilt for choice, with a range of specialty butcher shops delivering restaurant-quality steak online.
Even if you live in a small city, these online butchers deliver steak to your door anywhere in the continental United States.
Weve rounded up the best mail order steak companies in the country for buying steak online.
Where Costco’s Prime Beef Come From
Unfortunately I could not find this information. I heard they get beef from U.S., Canada, and Australia but nothing more specific than that. The downside with a company the size of Costco is that it is hard to track the sources of their meat. I wish there were as good as Whole Foods Market is about sources, as you can easily trace their meat back to the source.
Below you will find a table of prices that I found during my Septmebr 2019 visit to Costco. Prices and selection may vary in your region, check stores for exact pricing. Since I originally wrote this post back in 2015, the prices has stayed pretty steady with a small drop actually. So I don’t expect much difference whenever you are reading this.
|Boneless Rib Eye Steaks|
|Whole Peeled Tenderloin||$29.99/lb|
Not a giant selection by any means but enough to get a good steak. If you buy the entire Top Sirloin and slice it yourself your getting a prime steak for $7.69 per pound, which is 10 cents less per pound that a choice sirloin steak, so it’s a great deal but only if you really have the money to spend on a big chunk of meat at once.
If you want to spend the big bucks and get a truly great steak, I would opt for the Ribeye over the NY Strip. In my opinion it Ribeyes are more flavorful and since their the same price might as well go with the more flavorful cut.
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Which Supermarket Has The Best Quality Meat
There are tons of supermarkets out there, so this article is going to focus on a handful of well-known supermarkets.
When shopping for meat, you should look for good marbling and nice red color with no brown spots.
Another factor in the quality of meat is whether the cow is given growth hormones or antibiotics. Animals fed right and treated humanely are not just for marketing. They make for better tasting, healthier meat. As a bonus, you can feel good that the cow lived its best life before it landed on your plate.
Did I Answer Everything You Want To Know About Purchasing Steak At The Grocery Store
In this article, we went over all the things you need to know about purchasing steak at the grocery store.
We went over what makes a great steak.
Then we talked about what supermarkets have the best quality meat and how to pick a steak at the grocery store. We also went over USDA meat grades and the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef.
Of course, we also talked about what makes one steak better than another.
Then we looked at which supermarkets have the best quality meat and how to pick a steak at the grocery store. We answered all the top questions too, about things like USDA meat grades and grass-fed versus grain-fed organic beef.
Ultimately we answered the question of which grocery store has the best steaks?
My pick for quality, consistency, price, and availability is Whole Foods Market. After all, they operate over 400 stores in multiple countries. While some place like Wegmans on the East Coast also has great steaks, I cant give them the win since they dont operate in most parts of the country.
Small butcher shops, of course, could be well worth checking out too if you have one. But anywhere you can find USDA Prime or at least Choice beef, ideally organically grown and grass-fed, get it! Youll have a great steak!
I would steer clear of buying meat from places that only sell USDA Select beef and also steer clear of places that dont have butchers on staff who cut their meat fresh. Trader Joes and Aldi come to mind there.
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Porter Road Runner Up
They guys arent just a mail-order steak company. Porter Road is a full online butcher, selling a large range of beef, pork, chicken, and lamb.
Their meat is sourced from small family farms in Kentucky and Tennessee before it is cut and dry-aged for a minimum of 14 days at their facilities in Kentucky.
All beef is pasture-raised and hormone and antibiotic free.
Their meat is also quite a bit more affordable than Snake River Farms, making Porter Road a great choice if you want to treat yourself without breaking the bank.
You can shop from over 50 different cuts of beef, but you cant go wrong with the bone-in ribeye.
You can also let Porter Road do the meat shopping for you with one of their curated meat boxes.
They are also focused on sustainability and ensure all meat is humanely raised.
They currently offer free shipping on orders over $100 and free dry aged ground beef on orders over $75.
Until recently it was impossible to buy legitimate, authentic Kobe Beef in America.
This is no longer true.
Holy Grail Steak Companys mission is to give everyone access to best available, world-class steaks that were once only available in Michelin-star restaurants.
You can learn all about the difference between Wagyu and Kobe beef here.
You can shop from a range of artisanal American producers including USDA prime Black Angus beef as well as an impressive selection of American and Japanese Wagyu and Kobe beef.
Read our full Crowd Cow review.
What Is Steak And What Part Of The Cow Do They Come From
Steak is not just any piece of meat. Steak is generally defined as a cut of meat that is sliced across the muscle fibers.
There are many different kinds of steak, each coming from different areas of the cow. Each type of steak has different characteristics.
Ribeyes come from the rib area. T-bones, porterhouse, filet mignon, and strip steaks come from the loin.
Some steaks, like skirt steak and flank steak, are cut with the muscle fibers. They come from the short plate and the flank. They also tend to be tougher than other steaks.
Arguably, one of the hardest things about cooking steak at home is picking and purchasing steak at the supermarket. Its not surprising, either. There are a ton of choices!
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Top Prime Beef Cuts At The Fresh Market
Our stores have some of the most robust selections of USDA Prime beef you can find. While you cant go wrong with any of our Prime cuts, some are more popular than othersincluding NY Strip Steak, Rib-Eye Steak, Filet Mignon and Whole Beef Tenderloin. These guest favorites are tender, juicy, flavorful and always a cut above.
- USDA Prime NY Strip Steak This iconic steak is cut from the loin and beloved by meat-eaters. You might know it as Kansas City steak. We recommend enhancing this cut with simple ingredients, like the oil used in our recipe for Grilled New York Strip Steak with Garlic Herb Oil.
- USDA Prime Rib-Eye Steak Rib-Eye steaks are known for both tenderness and rich flavor. When you choose Prime Rib-Eye steaks, the naturally high intramuscular fat makes it ideal for grilling , and the result is tender and incredibly juicy.
- USDA Prime Filet Mignon The most tender of all beef cuts, Filet Mignon is highly desirable for its versatility and rich flavor. Excellent pan-fried, grilled or broiled, especially when served with a complementary sauce. Our Rosemary Crusted Filet Mignon is a real show-stopper!
- USDA Prime Whole Beef Tenderloin This cut is juicy, easy to cook and a delicious way to impress a crowd without spending hours in the kitchen. Our butchers will gladly trim and tie the entire tenderloin or cut into Filet Mignon steaks of your desired thickness.
Prices For Four 12 Oz Prime Ribeye Steaks
As you an see Snake River Farms is the clear winner on price. The price for just the steaks is less than the other 6 competitors and they have free shipping when you use code FREEAFF. Some of the other sites have free shipping promos from time to time and depending on where you live your shipping might be cheaper or more expensive but these were the standard prices on their sites. The comparisons for other steaks and quantities are similar as well.
I havent eaten steaks from all these retailers but I have eaten many, many steaks from Snake River Farms including these prime ribeyes. They do taste much better than any prime steak I have ever gotten from Costco. Will the steaks from the other retailers taste just as good as Snake River? I am not sure. My guess is steaks from Lobels and LaFrieda will both be excellent as will most of the others but for $25-$108 less for a similar grade of steak I would go with Snake River Farms.
So if your question is Where can I buy prime steaks? my answer would be Snake River Farms. Along with the prime ribeyes they also sell prime filet mignon, and prime NY Strips. They also carry their bone in prime line which includes a prime t-bone, prime bone in filet, prime bone in NY Strip, and a prime Cowboy thick cut ribeye steak. Try these steaks and you wont be disappointed.
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