Explore

The ultimate guide to beef and the art of celebrating it.

Like they say in the intro to the animated hit Schoolhouse Rock, “Knowledge is Power!” While we don’t have a catchy jingle (yet), we do have the know-how to empower your meals through learning proper selection to catapult you into preparing mind-blowing beef-based dishes. Before you know it you will be the talk of Beefitarian town. Heck, you play your cards right and they might even elect you as their next Mayor.

Marbling: the key to eternal yummmmm

The great minds of the past have pondered for millennia about what makes steak so great. Plato, Marcus Aurelius, and Socrates can rest easy because we have the answer: marbling. Fine threads of fat weave their way throughout the fibers to create a meat masterpiece. More marbling earns a higher grade and means more flavor, more juiceiness, and more compliments for your guests.

We break down the main grades of beef below to help demystify your next shopping trip. Because staring at a case full of steaks should be mouthwatering, not mind-bending.

USDA PRIME

The most marbled of the three grades, USDA Prime cuts only account for 3% of all the beef available. Mainly found in restaurants and select butcher shops, this high-end cut is packed with flavor and tenderness. Just a bit of salt, pepper, and a searing hot skillet is all you need to create that melt in your mouth flavor. Don’t you dare tarnish its reputation with steak sauce. Blasphemy!

TIP:

New York Strip steaks that make the grade really shine with all that extra marbling, making it worth the splurge.

USDA CHOICE

With moderate marbling, USDA Choice graded beef is more commonly found in grocery stores, with a large variety of cuts to choose from. Juicy, tender, and flavorful, Choice beef adapts well to any cooking technique. Season well and baste it in the pan and you’re on the fast track to a beautiful meal.

TIP:

Loin cuts, such as tenderloins and sirloins, are already incredibly tender, so buying Choice in these cuts is a great idea. That way, you save some coin for more important things, like more steak.

USDA SELECT

With the least amount of marbling present, USDA Select graded beef is extremely lean, making it perfect for low and slow cooking techniques. Think stews, roasts, recipes with long marinades. Season liberally with salt to tenderize the meat and promote juiciness and to elevate that umami taste.

TIP:

This lean grade of beef is great for barbequing. Lather a cut of brisket with a homemade dry rub, let it smoke for hours on end, and you will have your entire block drooling by the end of the day.

Pick a cut and explore

The Flavor King

Chuck Arm Roast

Primal: Chuck

About This Cut

Slow and low. Bring out the flavor of an arm chuck roast in a slow cooker or with braising, and you’ve got a tasty meal with a price tag that won’t bust your budget. This cut’s perfect for times when you’re craving comfort food. Toss together some broth, wine, and veggies, and you’ve got a pot roast that would make grandma proud.

Common Cooking Techniques

Bake/Roast

Braise/Roast

Pressure Cooking

Stir-Fry

Primal Origin

Chuck

This large primal comes from the shoulder area and yields cuts known for their rich, beefy flavor. Features roasts ideal for slow-cooking as well as more tender, grill-ready cuts such as the Flat Iron Steak.

Your Starter Steak

Ribeye Steak

Primal: Rib

About This Cut

Sometimes, you just want a big ol’ steak. Rich, juicy, and with your choice of bone-in or boneless. The ribeye’s your cut. Toss it in the smoker or on the grill. Or cook it stovetop in a rich, flavorful sauce. Even if you’re not exactly a top chef, you’re sure to impress when you simmer it with a simple ingredient. Thinking mushrooms? Yeah, you got it.

Common Cooking Techniques

Grill

Pan Broil/Skillet

Smoke

Primal Origin

Rib

Situated under the front section of the backbone and used primarily for support. Popular cuts from the Rib include the rich, flavorful Ribeye Steak and the Prime Rib Roast.

The Knockout

Tenderloin Steak

Primal: Loin

About This Cut

When you want to cook a show-stopper of a meal without all the fuss, tenderloin is your to-go. It’s lean, succulent, and – let’s face it – a pretty impressive option when you’re cooking for guests. Prepare in on the grill, in a skillet, sous vide, or under the broiler. With this easy-to-carve cut, you can’t go wrong. Thinly sliced, it’s amazing on a salad.

Common Cooking Techniques

Bake/Roast

Broil

Grill

Pan Broil/Skillet

Sous Vide

Primal Origin

Loin

The area below the backbone is home to some of the most tender and popular cuts of beef, such as the Tenderloin, Strip Steak, T-Bone and Porterhouse Steaks.

The Photogenic One

Strip Steak

Primal: Loin

About This Cut

Picture the perfect grilled steak, and you’ve got a strip. Slap it on the grill or in the smoker, and let the tender, flavorful meat speak for itself. With some sautéed peppers, onions, or mushrooms, you’ve got a meal without the hassle of a recipe. Not exactly grilling weather? Toss it under the broiler or in a skillet.

Common Cooking Techniques

Broil

Grill

Pan Broil/Skillet

Smoke

Sous Vide

Primal Origin

Loin

The area below the backbone is home to some of the most tender and popular cuts of beef, such as the Tenderloin, Strip Steak, T-Bone and Porterhouse Steaks.

The Underdog

Flat Iron

Primal: Chuck

About This Cut

Extremely tender. Well marbled. Flavorful. A flat iron steak is up for almost anything, but grilling’s really its jam. Impress your crew with homemade gyros. Street tacos. Or beef tikka. The flat iron’s kind of an underdog cut. But for those in the know, it’s a go-to.

Common Cooking Techniques

Broil

Grill

Pan Broil/Skillet

Smoke

Stir-Fry

Sous Vide

Primal Origin

Chuck

This large primal comes from the shoulder area and yields cuts known for their rich, beefy flavor. Features roasts ideal for slow-cooking as well as more tender, grill-ready cuts such as the Flat Iron Steak.

Kabob King

Top Sirloin Steak

Primal: Sirloin

About This Cut

Tip side, tip center, top sirloin … just when you’re feeling like a pro, sirloin’s gotta make things a little more complicated with a few variations. Cut from the round – that’s the rump and hind legs – these cuts are leaner and a little less tender. That means they’re a good value. And a smart choice for kabobs, stews, curries, and stir fries.

Common Cooking Techniques

Broil

Grill

Pan Broil/Skillet

Smoke

Stir-Fry

Sous Vide

Primal Origin

Sirloin

The Sirloin is home to popular fabricated cuts but is first separated into the Top Sirloin Butt and Bottom Sirloin Butt. In the Top Sirlon you’ll find steaks great for grilling, while the Bottom Sirloin provides cuts like Tri-Tip and Sirloin Bavette, which are good for roasting or grilling.

The Slow Roaster

Rump Roast

Primal: Round

About This Cut

If you’re craving a slow-cooked meal like grandma used to make, ask the butcher for a rump roast. It’s a lean, inexpensive cut that’s best braised or roasted and then thinly sliced. Cook it with wine and mushrooms. Whip up a mustard au jus. Or toss in some fresh herbs. Then grab your comfy pants and relax. This baby cooks low and slow.

Common Cooking Techniques

Braise/Roast

Primal Origin

Round

Home to lean, inexpensive cuts that come from the rump and hind legs. The muscles in this area are used for movement, so the beef is leaner and less tender. Often sold as roasts, steaks for marinating or Ground Beef.

The Smoker

Brisket

Primal: Brisket

About This Cut

Grab that grilling apron. Fire up the coals. And crack your favorite drink. If you want to earn serious bragging rights at a grill off, the brisket’s your cut. Sure, a brisket can be pretty amazing roasted or braised too. But sometimes, we all need a little flame to get the party started.

Common Cooking Techniques

Bake/Roast

Braise/Roast

Pressure Cooking

Smoke

Sous Vide

Primal Origin

Brisket

The Spice Lover

Skirt Steak

Primal: Flank, Plate

About This Cut

Sharpen those knives. The skirt steak’s ready for any recipe where slicing is key – like stir fry and fajitas. But don’t forget the marinade. This cut will be good to you, but you gotta grab the spices and show it some love before it hits the grill or fry pan.

Common Cooking Techniques

Braise/Roast

Pressure Cooking

Smoke

Sous Vide

Primal Origin

Flank, Plate

The plate and flank are located under the ribs and below the loin. These flavorful cuts are best when marinated and seared over high heat.

Fan Favorite

Ground Beef

About This Cut

Burgers. Tacos. Meatballs. Chili. A whole lot of favorites start with one simple ingredient: ground beef. Start your best #beefitarian day with a breakfast wrap or scramble that includes beef. Then keep it going strong with a beef-infused lunch and dinner. This versatile option is ready for pretty much anything.

Common Cooking Techniques

Bake/Roast

Braise/Roast

Broil

Grill

Pan Broil/Skillet

Smoke

The Easy Going Cut

Stew Meat

About This Cut

Full flavored and already diced, stew meat is your go-to for chili, stew, and other slow-cooked meals. Grab a pack at the meat counter, and make a big impact at your gathering without a lot of effort. With the cutting already done, you’ve got extra time for the important stuff. Like making that killer play list.

Common Cooking Techniques

Braise/Roast

Pressure Cooking

Sous Vide

The delicious glossary of all things beef

Do you know the difference between 100% grass fed beef and natural beef? What about the phrase, “no added hormones?” Don’t worry, most people don’t, but that’s why we’re here! We break it all down and give you just the facts because having confidence in your choice is important. Pick your beef with conviction, not confliction.

Learn the Lingo