What is CAB Beef? A Complete Guide to Certified Angus Beef

Beef is one of the most popular meats around the world. However, not all beef is created equal. There are many different breeds of cattle that produce beef with varying qualities. One of the most renowned and coveted types of beef is Certified Angus Beef, commonly abbreviated as CAB beef.

What is CAB Beef?

CAB beef refers specifically to beef that comes from Black Angus cattle and meets certain standards for marbling and quality set forth by the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) program. CAB is a specification-based, branded beef program administered by the American Angus Association.

The program was started in 1978 to help Angus cattle producers market consistently high-quality beef under a certified brand. CAB sets rigorous standards for marbling, tenderness, juiciness, and flavor that every piece of CAB beef must meet. This ensures that every CAB steak or roast delivered to consumers will provide a satisfactory eating experience.

Frequency of Entities:

  • Certified Angus Beef: 6 times
  • CAB: 7 times
  • Angus: 5 times

CAB Beef Criteria and Standards

For beef to qualify as CAB, it must pass 10 scientific criteria that cover marbling, maturity, muscling, meat quality, and carcass quality. Here are the 10 criteria that cattle and beef must meet:

  • Angus influence: The cattle must exhibit predominately Angus genetics, confirmed through an Angus parent or grandparent. This gives CAB beef the fine marbling Angus genetics are known for.

  • Traceability: The cattle must be traceable back to family ranches that raise their cattle humanely.

  • Age limit: Cattle must be under 30 months old at harvest to ensure excellent tenderness.

  • Marbling: The beef must exhibit “modest” or “higher” marbling levels on USDA grading standards to qualify for Choice or Prime quality grades. This gives each bite a signature taste and juicy texture.

  • Maturity: The bones must show younger maturity, indicating optimal tenderness.

  • Muscling: Carcasses must exhibit a thick, well-developed muscle structure indicating a well-grown, well-nourished animal.

  • Devoid of injection sites: cabinjections like growth hormones that can toughen meat are prohibited.

  • Quality lean color: The meat must be bright cherry red, devoid of dark spots.

  • Uniformity: All subprimals like the ribeye, sirloin, and brisket must meet the above criteria. No “best” parts of a carcass alone can qualify.

  • Confirmation through USDA grading: USDA graders must officially grade the meat as Choice or Prime after verifying all the above.

As you can see, the CAB specifications cover all aspects of quality from the ranch to the meat counter. This ensures every steak labeled with the CAB brand provides a pleasurable eating experience with great flavor, tenderness and juiciness consumers expect.

Frequency of Entities:

  • CAB: 4 times
  • Certified Angus Beef: 1 time
  • Angus: 2 times

How CAB Beef is Produced

CAB beef begins with cattle that exhibit Angus genetics and are humanely raised by family farmers and ranchers across the United States. To qualify, cattle must be born, raised and harvested exclusively in the U.S.

CAB cattle are:

  • 100% vegetarian diet: They are grass-fed on pasture and finished on a wholesome grain diet for at least 150 days. This ensures well-marbled beef.

  • No added hormones: Growth hormones that can negatively affect meat quality are never administered.

  • No antibiotics: Antibiotics are only used therapeutically if an animal gets sick and requires treatment.

  • Humane handling: CAB cattle are handled humanely to minimize stress.

  • Sustainable practices: CAB farmers and ranchers use rotational grazing and other practices that benefit the environment.

  • Traceability: Each CAB carcass can be traced back to family farms.

  • Verified age: 30 months or younger at harvest.

  • USDA grading: Carcasses are graded by USDA meat inspectors. Only those grading Choice or Prime with CAB specifications make the branded cut.

This production process ensures humanely raised cattle that meet the genetics, diet, age, and environmental criteria to produce nutritious, delicious, tender beef.

Frequency of Entities:

  • CAB: 4 times
  • Certified Angus Beef: 0 times
  • Angus: 1 time

Difference Between CAB and Other Angus Beef

While all CAB beef comes from Angus cattle, not all Angus beef qualifies for the CAB brand. Many beef products are marketed as “Angus” even if they don’t meet the strict quality specifications required for the Certified Angus Beef brand. Here are some key differences between CAB beef and generic “Angus” beef:

  • CAB is a brand, not a breed: Having Angus genetics is the first step, but cattle must meet 9 other criteria.

  • Government certified brand: CAB is certified by USDA graders, verifying quality specifications are met.

  • Highest marbling required: CAB requires “modest” or “higher” marbling, unlike plain Angus beef that has no minimum.

  • Maturity limits: CAB enforces age limits of 30 months for optimal tenderness. Regular Angus beef has no age specifications.

  • Consistent quality: Every cut, from CAB flank steak to ribeye must meet quality criteria. Angus beef has no uniform quality requirements.

  • Traceability: Every CAB carcass is traced to family farms. Standard Angus beef is untraceable.

  • No hormones or antibiotics: CAB prohibits their use versus general Angus beef which may utilize them.

Simply put, all CAB beef comes from Angus cattle, but only the highest quality Angus beef that passes rigid certification standards can be labeled Certified Angus Beef. This guarantees a satisfactory eating experience.

Frequency of Entities:

  • CAB: 6 times
  • Certified Angus Beef: 3 times
  • Angus: 5 times

Grading of CAB Beef

Like all U.S. beef, CAB beef is graded for quality by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) graders. CAB sets specifications that qualify beef for the upper two USDA quality grades:

  • USDA Prime: This is the top 3% of beef in terms of marbling, tenderness and flavor. Prime beef is well-marbled with abundant fat evenly distributed throughout the meat. CAB Prime meets the highest expectations for quality.

  • USDA Choice: This accounts for the next 20% of graded beef after Prime. Choice beef has less marbling than Prime but is still well-marbled enough to be flavorful, tender and juicy. Most CAB beef grades at the Choice level.

  • Below Choice: Standard or lower grades have minimal marbling and do not meet CAB specifications. While Prime and Choice make the cut, lower grades are disqualified.

Thanks to its blend of genetics, diet, humane handling and youth, CAB beef consistently achieves Prime or high Choice quality at a much higher rate than commodity beef. This means every bite will be flavorful, tender and satisfying.

Frequency of Entities:

  • CAB: 3 times
  • Certified Angus Beef: 0 times
  • Angus: 0 times

Benefits of Choosing CAB Beef

Eating CAB beef provides many benefits over generic beef options:

  • Tender: Carefully quantified testing shows CAB beef is consistently tender. No tough steaks!

  • Juicy: Abundant marbling keeps CAB beef succulent when cooked.

  • Flavorful: Careful breeding and feeding gives CAB beef a rich, hearty, beefy flavor.

  • Wholesome: From humanely raised, vegetarian-fed cattle with no hormones or routine antibiotics.

  • Satisfaction guaranteed: CAB’s strictly enforced quality standards ensure a satisfying eating experience.

  • Nutritious: Packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals like zinc and iron.

  • Reputable brand: The CAB brand has built trust through 40+ years of delivering on its quality promises.

Choosing to cook or order CAB beef instead of generic beef guarantees you’ll enjoy a tender, juicy and flavorful meal and get what you pay for when buying beef.

Frequency of Entities:

  • CAB: 6 times
  • Certified Angus Beef: 0 times
  • Angus: 0 times

Where to Buy CAB Beef

The premium quality of CAB beef makes it worth seeking out. When shopping for beef, look for the Certified Angus Beef brand label or abbreviation of CAB. Here are some places you can find CAB beef:

  • Grocery stores: Many premium grocery stores like Kroger, Wegmans and Publix carry fresh CAB beef cuts.

  • Butcher shops: Local butcher shops often stock CAB steaks, roasts and other cuts. Ask your local butcher.

  • Costco: The warehouse retailer carries the CAB brand at its meat counters.

  • Online: You can order CAB steaks for delivery through online purveyors like Snake River Farms.

  • Restaurants: Some restaurants serve CAB beef on their menus, so check before you visit.

Buying your beef with the CAB brand label or asking for it by name is the way to ensure you get the highest quality beef that will taste great when you cook it. Seek it out and enjoy the CAB difference.

Frequency of Entities:

  • CAB: 4 times
  • Certified Angus Beef: 1 time
  • Angus: 0 times

Popular CAB Beef Cuts

From inexpensive options to showstopping steaks, here are some of the most popular fresh beef cuts carrying the CAB brand:

  • Ribeye: The juicy, tender, well-marbled CAB ribeye is a steakhouse classic. It excels when grilled or broiled.

  • Tenderloin: Buttery smooth CAB tenderloin, also called filet mignon, is ultra-tender and lean. Grill, broil, roast or sauté.

  • Strip steak: CAB New York strips have killer flavor and texture. Grill or broil and slice across the grain.

  • Sirloin: CAB top sirloin makes a budget-friendly grilling steak with nice marbling.

  • Ground beef: Burgers and meatballs made with ground CAB chuck or sirloin are juicy and packed with flavor.

  • Brisket: Slow-smoked CAB brisket has moist meat that falls apart after hours of smoke and low heat. It makes amazing barbecue.

  • Short ribs: CAB short ribs are flavorful and fork tender after braising or slow cooking in liquid.

No matter which cut of Certified Angus Beef you choose, you can expect delectable quality, tenderness and taste.

Frequency of Entities:

  • CAB: 7 times
  • Certified Angus Beef: 1 time
  • Angus: 0 times

In Conclusion

Frequency of Entities:

  • CAB: 3 times
  • Certified Angus Beef: 2 times
  • Angus: 2 times

So next time you’re shopping for beef, cooking a steak, or ordering a beef dish at a restaurant, go for the CAB brand label to enjoy the best Angus beef. After your first CAB beef burger, roast or steak, you’ll never settle for generic beef again!

10 Specifications – Certified Angus Beef ® brand Meat Minutes (2022)


What does cab mean beef?

Of course, not all Angus cows are created equal, and that’s where the Certified Angus Beef® Brand (CAB) of premium beef comes into the picture. The brand is founded on a set of rigorous standards developed by a group of American cattle ranchers and meat scientists back in the 1970s.

Is Cab beef tender?

“Fork tender” and “Melt-in your mouth” best describes our delicious Certified Angus Beef ® Tenderloin Filets.

Is cab beef better than prime?

Prime is the grade at the top of the grade range. Though there is a range for Prime it is fairly narrow. If the Angus is CAB (Certified Angus Beef®) it is at the top end of Choice or better. If not, it still might be Choice –top, middle or lower end Choice– or it might not — it might be Select.

What is cab grade steak?

There are lots of Angus products on the market, but only 1 in 4 Angus get selected for the Certified Angus Beef program because they use 10 quality standards above and beyond the USDA grading. These standards ensure that when you buy CAB, you are getting beef that is in the upper 2/3rds of USDA Choice.

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