How To Choose Quality Steak: Guide to USDA Grading

np_steak_479124_000000.png

Who grades beef?

The Food Safety and Inspection Service is in charge of inspecting steaks. All retail and wholesale meat sold, whether by a large chain grocery store or a small mom and pop shop, needs to be inspected by a federal or state inspector to ensure the health of that animal. 

Is grading associated with quality? 

Yes and no. There are two grades that USDA inspectors use. The quality grade indicates tenderness and juiciness by judging the amount of marbling. This is called a quality grade. The yield grade estimates how many steaks and roasts you will get from the steer.

What does each grade mean? 

USDA Prime: Prime is the highest standard of grading. It will have the most marbling which will result in the juiciest cut of beef. The top 2% of all beef is prime.

USDA Choice: Choice is a grade that will be similar in tenderness of Prime but will not bear the same resemblance in marbling. The marbling is the biggest reason for price difference. It is important to note that choice is still very high quality.

USDA Select: Select is the lowest grade on the USDA retail grading system. It is not quite as tender as prime or choice and will be drastically leaner even in comparison to choice.

USDA Utility, Cutter & Canner: Utility, cutter and canner grades are seldom if ever sold in retail and are mostly used for ground beef and processed products.

What grades do Rosso & Flynn offer?

We offer a variety of both prime and choice steaks. You will also notice that we carry another grade called Reserve. Reserve is not an official USDA grade but it is grade created by our rancher due to the incredibly high quality product. Reserve has the tenderness of prime with marbling that is just too beautiful for choice but just not quite enough for prime.

Going beyond USDA grading - Wagyu Beef:

Besides offering prime, reserve and choice, Rosso & Flynn also offers specialty breeds such as Wagyu that has an incredibly high level of marbling. Wagyu beef contains a high percentage of monounsaturated fats as well as omega 3 and 6 and is considered healthier than other beef. Besides being healthy, Wagyu beef has an explosive flavor that is unbeatable. 

At Rosso & Flynn, we are committed to quality. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me: butcher@rosso-flynn.com