Beef Quality Grades
What is the best grade of beef?
You be the judge, consider this; Of all the beef produced in the US, less than 2% is certified as USDA Prime. Typically you will not find USDA Prime in the supermarkets since its limited supply is gobbled up by fine meat purveyors that retail it to upscale restaurants and affluent consumers.
The USDA is the agency that grades beef, and they have no "premium" designation. That being said, some pieces of "choice" beef will be nicer than others. If the steaks looked well and evenly marbled, you did get a "premium" product, even if that designation has no official backing
A quality grade is a composite evaluation of factors that affect palatability of meat (tenderness, juiciness, and flavor). These factors include carcass maturity, firmness, texture, and color of lean, and the amount and distribution of marbling within the lean. Beef carcass quality grading is based on (1) degree of marbling and (2) degree of maturity.
Marbling (intramuscular fat) is the intermingling or dispersion of fat within the lean. Graders evaluate the amount and distribution of marbling in the ribeye muscle at the cut surface after the carcass has been ribbed between the 12th and 13th ribs. Degree of marbling is the primary determination of quality grade.
Degrees of Marbling
Each degree of marbling is divided into 100 subunits. In general, however, marbling scores are discussed in tenths within each degree of marbling (e.g.,Slight 90, Small 00, Small 10).
What is Angus Beef?
Marbling – the little white flecks in beef – is key to flavor. The higher the amount of marbling, the higher the quality of beef. The Certified Angus Beef ® brand is incredibly flavorful, tender and juicy because of the high amounts of marbling in every cut.