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.
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.
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!
New York Strip steaks that make the grade really shine with all that extra marbling, making it worth the splurge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The world of beef is endless and delicious! Visit our Steak Library to learn about our favorite cuts, how to cook them, and some fun facts that will inspire you to get into the kitchen and start experimenting.
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.