What Are The Different Grades Of Beef?

The eight grades of beef are prime, choice, select, standard, commercial, utility, cutter, and canner. Although there are eight grades, only the first three are considered noteworthy. Although all meat must be inspected by the USDA for safety, not all are scored for their quality.

Article-Beef quality grades explained

What Are The Different Grades Of Beef?

It may be due to the quality grade the owner chose to purchase that a beef steak at a fast food restaurant tastes different from one at a high-end restaurant.

Higher-quality grades of beef are more valuable on the market. Consumers don’t always understand the differences, but they are not the only ones. According to Jason Morris, beef producers sometimes confuse the grades of quality and yield, which results in unrealized gains.

The terms “quality grade” and “yield grade,” according to Morris, a University of Missouri Extension ag business specialist, are frequently used to describe cattle when, in reality, they distinguish the two carcass traits.

He says in a recent AgConnection newsletter that “beef producers, and those thinking of entering value-added beef enterprises, need to recognize the difference and how each is utilized in the cattle industry.” Knowing how to apply quality and yield grades may boost profitability. ”.

Know your quality grade

Regarding quality grade, the beef’s eating experience is everything. The amount of marbling or intramuscular fat in the beef and the maturity or estimated age of the animal at slaughter, according to USDA, are the two main factors used to determine quality grades.

Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner are the eight total quality grades. They have been used by the beef industry since 1927.

The USDA considers the first three quality grades, Prime, Choice, and Select, to be food-grade labels because they are the most widely recognized by consumers.

For both beef producers and consumers, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provides the following definitions of all eight grades.

Prime. Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. It is frequently offered for sale in restaurants and hotels and has a lot of marbling.

Choice. High-quality Choice beef has less marbling than Prime beef.

Select. Select beef is generally leaner than higher grades and has a very consistent quality. Although it is fairly tender, it might not have as much juiciness and flavor as higher grades because it has less marbling.

Standard and Commercial. These beef grades are frequently offered for sale as ungraded or store-brand meat.

Utility, Cutter and Canner. Rarely, if ever, are these beef grades offered for sale at retail. Instead, they are utilized to produce processed goods like canned soup or frozen meals as well as ground beef.

Determine beef yield grade

According to Morris, “individual animal value is established through yield grades, and this has an impact on profitability.” “Producers can market their cattle using these USDA yield grades.” ”.

An estimate of the percentage retail yield of the four prime cuts of beef—chuck, rib, loin, and round—is known as yield grade. Morris explains how the traits listed below are used to establish yield grade:

Backfat thickness (BF). When determining carcass yield, back fat carries the most influence. Based on the total fat of the carcass, a USDA grader will calculate the total thickness of fat.

Rib-eye area (REA). Between the 12th and 13th ribs, there is muscle that makes up the rib-eye region. This area, which is given in square inches, typically ranges in size from 11 to 15 square inches.

Kidney, pelvic and heart fat (KPH). The amount of internal fat surrounding the kidneys, pelvis, and heart is estimated. Typically, most carcasses host anywhere from 1. 5% to 4%.

Hot carcass weight (HCW). Uncooled carcasses without the head, hide, or any internal organs make up the hot carcass weight. In most fed cattle, this dressing percentage will be about 63% of the live cattle weight

Following evaluation, the yield grade is established and assigned a USDA yield grade between 1 and 5. The most beef is available with a yield grade of 1, and the least with a yield grade of 5.

According to Morris’ conclusion, “producers who understand yield and quality grades are better able to make decisions about genetics, nutrition, health, and production practices, as well as product marketing.”

University of Missouri Extension contributed to this article. Related

Beef Grades Explained – Select vs Choice vs Prime Steaks

FAQ

What is the best grade of beef?

Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. It is typically sold in restaurants and hotels and has a lot of marbling (the amount of fat between lean meat).

What are the grades of beef from lowest to highest?

Prime, choice, select, standard, commercial, utility, cutter, and canner are the eight USDA beef grades. With prime beef being the best and canner being the worst

What is better choice or prime?

Although Prime is the higher grade, Choice offers better value. Consider the Select, Choice, and Prime grades of the USDA as Good, Better, and Best.

What are the top 3 grades of beef?

The USDA considers the first three quality grades, Prime, Choice, and Select, to be food-grade labels because they are the most widely recognized by consumers.

Leave a Comment