Chooseing the best beef
Judging by what I see customers doing at the meat counter and casual conversations with aquaintances,buying beef is not well enough understood by consumers. I would like to discuss the way beef is graded and what it means to consumers. If enough people find this informitive,we can talk about other factors like choosing the best of two similar cuts simply by looking at them. If there are one or more professional butchers or other market workers,please step up and take some of the confusion out of beef shoping.
Starting with the basics,
USDA Inspected / USDA Quility / Certified USDA , simply assures there was a United States Department of Agriculture food inspector on hand at the slaughter plant from the time animal was killed,processed and shiped to the wholesale meat warehouse,consumer's home or retailer. That is required for all cattle,hogs,sheep,goats,rabbits,turkey and anything else slaughtered in the USA,including that to be put into dog food, shipped overseas or anything else. Realy not anything special.
Going back to beef grades again because grading is different for various animals while others require no assighned grade at all,we will skip specialty markets because anyone buying at those prices would understand anyhow. Another inspector at slaughter plant or warehouse assighns a grade to the meat which reflects tenderness,fat marble and other desirable traits. At the retail counter,consumer must be able to see the grade assighned. The grades are ( Prime= Finest quility that go's mostly to fine restraunts ) ( Choice= best genealy available at super markets and retail butcher shops ) ( Select= Compitivly priced at super markets and butcher shops )
For purposes of backyard cooking,choosing select saves money and works well with L&S. If you have the teeth and time to chew,select steak can be grilled but us old frackers should stick with choice,plus it tastes better.
Hamburger,ground beef,ground round,ground chuck ect,comes down mostly to % fat,senew and organ meat although there are other less recconizable differences.
I highly reccomend you go on line to check sale prices before going to the market. Tom Thumb,Krogers,Wal-Mart and Albertsons are the major players where I live. Tom Thumb and Albertson's sell choice at near same price as other two sell select. Choice steak normaly go's for $10 per Lb and $5 on sale. 5 Lbs of steak on sale saves enough to buy of a case of adult beverage. Pick up an extra 5 Lbs for the freezer and savings realy rack up over the months. That's just a few basics but I hope they alow a few of you to eat better and save some bucks in the process.