What's the Deal with Beef Grading?
When it comes to the quality of American beef, the USDA grade shields are recognized as symbols of safe, American beef. So, how does beef earn its grade? Highly skilled USDA meat graders evaluate various meat qualities using a combination of electronic instruments and subjective characteristic assessments. The beef is grade is determined mainly by the amount of marbling in the meat. Marbling are the small white flecks and streaks of fat which give the meat its juiciness, flavor, and tenderness.
Picture this—the pinnacle of Angus beef in the U.S. Market, reserved for connoisseurs of fine dining. USDA Prime beef represents the top 2% of all beef and comes from young, well-fed Angus cattle. What sets it apart is its abundant marbling. This grade is primarily found in upscale restaurants and hotels, and yes, the meat counter of your local Milam’s Market. It’s the go-to choice for dry-heat cooking methods like broiling, roasting, or grilling.
Certified Angus Beef® USDA Choice:
USDA Choice beef, while slightly lower in marbling and flavor compared to Prime, is a widely sold grade of meat and is the second highest grade tier. At Milam’s Market, where a commitment to superior quality is important, nearly all of our USDA Choice graded cuts also bear the Certified Angus Beef® brand label, ensuring that our Choice selection consists of only the best available. This brand guarantees excellence, as it undergoes a rigorous screening process conducted by the USDA. To earn the coveted Certified Angus Beef® (CAB) brand name, the beef must be primarily Angus-influenced, flaunting a predominantly solid black coat, and meet the brand’s stringent 10 quality standards.
Certified Angus Beef® brand emerged from a collective vision shared by a group of dedicated ranchers. Their aim was simple: to deliver consistently tender and juicy steaks. Achieving this level of quality involves handpicking only the top two tiers of USDA Choice Grade (just below Prime) and all Prime Grade cattle. These selected cattle must meet the brand’s 10 quality standards, which encompass factors such as marbling, fat thickness, weight limits, “A” grade maturity, and more. So, whenever you spot the Certified Angus Beef® label on our meat packages or at the meat counter in Milam’s Market, rest assured that you’re in for an exceptional beef meal.
You can bid adieu to USDA Select beef, as you won’t find it at any of our stores. USDA Select beef possesses less marbling, juiciness, and flavor compared to the Prime and Certified Angus Beef® brand Choice grades and typically requires marinating prior to cooking.