Making the Grade: Guide to USDA Grading
Who grades meat and why?
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.
The Food Safety and Inspection Services inspects carcasses for qualities that will indicate tenderness and juiciness in the animal which they refer to as quality grade. The second measure they use is yield grade. This is the indicatication of inter-muscular fat and intramuscular fat, or better known as marbling.
What grades does Rosso & Flynn offer and what do they 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.
Reserve: You notice in our shop we carry a grade called Reserve. Reserve is not an official USDA grade. But it is grade created by our rancher due to its incredibly high quality of their product. Reserve has the tenderness of prime but marbling that is just too beautiful for choice and just not quite enough for prime.
USDA Choice: Choice is a grade that will be similar in tenderness of Prime but will not bear the same resemblance in marbling. That will be the biggest reason for price difference.
USDA Select: Select is the lowest grade on the USDA grading system. It will tend to not be as tender as prime or choice and will be drastically leaner even in comparison to choice.