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   Bettijo  How to Choose Beef Cuts

When shopping for beef, have you ever taken pause to consider the difference between "Choice" and "Select" cuts? Or did you simply assume these were marketing terms with no meaning?

The USDA defines 8 quality levels for beef. They are stamped on the carcass, but by the time you buy your cuts at the butcher counter, the only way to know is by examining the shield shaped sticker on the package. The quality grades are awarded for 3 parameters:
•tenderness
•juiciness
•flavor

Here is how the USDA ranks the beef you buy:

•Prime grade beef is produced from young, well-fed cows. It has abundant marbling and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for dry-heat cooking (broiling, roasting, or grilling ).

•Choice grade is still of high quality, but has less marbling than Prime. Choice roasts and steaks are from the loin and rib. They are very tender, juicy, and flavorful. They also do well with dry-heat cooking. Many of the less tender cuts, such as those from the rump, round, and blade (chuck ), can also be cooked with dry heat if not overcooked. Such cuts will be most tender if "braised", which means roasted or simmered with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.
•Select grade 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 the higher grades. Only the tender cuts (loin, rib, sirloin ) should be cooked with dry heat. Other cuts should be marinated before cooking or braised to obtain maximum tenderness and flavor.

•Standard & Commercial grade are frequently sold as ungraded or as "store brand" meat. Marinate or braise to avoid chewing for hours.

•Utility, Cutter, & Canner grade are seldom, if ever, sold at retail. They are used to make ground beef and other processed products.

Want to take a guess what quality grade the beef is in your fast food burger or deli meat gets?

Bottom Line

When choosing beef, its quality designation makes a difference.

Copyright 2014 Fooducate, LTD.

   October 12 at 06:14 EST .

   34 people like this.