NY Strip Steaks
Top Sirloin Steaks
T-Bone & Porterhouse
USDA Choice Steaks
Pork Chop Steaks
Sausages, Franks, & Links
Whole Loins and Roasts
All Products Order Page
Gallery View Order Page
Secure Payment Processing
Regardless of their quality grade, some cuts of meat are naturally more tender than others. Cuts from the less-used muscles along the back of the animal -- the rib and loin sections -- will always be more tender than those from the more active muscles such as the shoulder, flank, and leg.
Since the most tender cuts make up only a small proportion of a beef or lamb carcass, they are in greatest demand and usually command a higher price than other cuts.
Each USDA beef quality grade is a measure of a distinct level of quality -- and it takes eight grades to span the range. They are USDA Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner.
USDA Prime, Choice, Select, and Standard grades come from younger beef. The highest grade, USDA Prime, is used mostly by hotels and restaurants, but a small amount is sold at retail markets. The grade most widely sold at retail is USDA Choice. However, consumer preference for leaner beef has increased the popularity of the Select grade of beef. Select grade can now be found at most meat counters.
Standard and Commercial grade beef frequently is sold as ungraded or as "brand name" meat.
The three lower grades -- USDA Utility, Cutter, and Canner -- are seldom, if ever, sold at retail but are used instead to make ground beef and manufactured meat items such as frankfurters.
Following are photographs of rib steaks in the top three beef grades, together with a description of the level of quality that can be expected in each of these grades.
USDA Prime: Prime grade beef is the ultimate in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. It has abundant marbling -- flecks of fat within the lean -- which enhances both flavor and juiciness. Prime roasts and steaks are unexcelled for dry-heat cooking (roasting and broiling).
USDA Choice: Choice grade beef has less marbling than Prime, but is of very high quality. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful and are, like Prime, suited to 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.
USDA Select: Select grade beef is very uniform in quality and somewhat 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 should be cooked with dry heat. Other cuts should be marinated before cooking or cooked with moisture to obtain maximum tenderness and flavor.
Lamb is produced from animals less than a year old. Since the quality of lamb varies according to the age of the animal, it is advisable to buy lamb that has been USDA-graded.
Most cuts of USDA Prime and Choice lamb -- including shoulder cuts -- are tender and can be oven roasted, broiled, or pan broiled. A leg of lamb graded Choice or Prime, for example, is delectable when oven roasted.
Ribs are available as spareribs, back ribs, and country-style ribs. Spareribs come from the belly portion, while back ribs and country-style ribs come from the loin. All three styles can be braised or roasted in the oven or on the barbecue grill. Slow cooking yields the most tender and flavorful results.
Note: All prices in US Dollars
Search by Keyword