You may have seen our menus and wondered what is the difference between Prime, Choice, and Select grades of beef.
We use many different proteins. However, beef has established grading standards defined by the USDA, creating a common language for producers and consumers. (Visit www.usda.gov for more detail).
Beef is evaluated by USDA meat graders using a subjective assessment and electronic instruments to measure meat characteristics.
Beef is graded based on tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Keep in mind fat means flavor.
The best is Prime beef, produced from young, well-fed cattle. It has abundant marbling (which is the fat interspersed with lean meat), and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels.
Choice beef is high quality, but has less marbling than Prime. It’s behind Prime.
The third best is Select beef which is very uniform in quality and normally leaner than the higher grades. It is fairly tender, but, because it has less marbling, it may lack some of the juiciness and flavor of choice and prime.
Standard and Commercial grades of beef are frequently sold as ungraded or as grocery store brand meat. Unless it has a stamp that says Prime, Choice, or Select, that’s the grade you’re probably looking at.
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.
And anything left-over after that is usually used for the highest grades of dog and cat food. That’s why you’ll never see cuts, like top round or tri-tip, named in your pet food’s ingredient list. It’ll just say beef.
Fetching Foods uses the highest grades of human-grade, graded beef, and other proteins, not the scraps from the scraps.
Hopefully that helps you know your beef.