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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Here's The Beef

The source of beef as we all should know comes from cows. But that may be all that some of us know. Beef cows are slaughtered and following that are divided into primal cuts. Primal cuts include pieces of meat that are first separated from the carcass during the action of butchering. Primal cuts are sectioned divided out into other subdivisions, these cuts are not the same as considered to be of higher quality.

The USDA defines 8 quality levels of beef. When originally separated the pieces of meat are stamped on the carcass of the meat the butcher uses these markings to know what they have and use as shield shaped sticker on the package to let you know it was inspected. Meat is divided into 3 groups based on the tenderness, juiciness and flavor of the meat. 

  • Prime is the grade given to beef that comes from young, well fed beef cattle. Abundant in marbling this cut of beef is not often found in super markets but instead reserved for restaurants and hotels. Prime grade is best for broiling, roasting and grilling
  • Choice grade is high quality of meat with less marbling than prime grade. Choice roasts and steaks come from the loin and rib area. The tender, juicy and flavorful beef does well in dry heat cooking. Choice cut of beef are most tastiest if "braised" 
  • Select grade of beef is uniform in quality and normally leaner than higher grades. Offers a tender texture but less marbling than the top 2 grades which means it may lack in juiciness and flavor. Select grades of loin, rib, and sirloin should be cooked over dry heat. Marinate other cuts before cooking to offer maximum tenderness and flavor
  • Grades by the name of standard and commercial are often sold as "store brand" meat
  • Grades of utility, cutter and canner cuts are often made into ground beef and processed products. 

I hope this offers you a look into beef, so the next time you go looking for that perfect cut you will know what you are after 

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