I am excited to announce a new section of my blog, today. As many of you know, my husband is a butcher. He is actually the third generation of butchers in his family. They have owned their own old-fashioned meat market for almost 50 years. He has agreed to give tidbits of advice, clarification, explanation, etc. of meat, BBQ, and best practices and money saving tips.
For me, I had never gone into a meat market before meeting (no pun intended) :) him. My mom always purchased meat from a major grocery store, like so many people. I had no idea how to go to a meat counter and order a proper cut of meat. To be honest, I still wouldn't be very good at it. Any time I go into the market, I only call on my husband to wait on me! :)
I thought adding a section like this would be very helpful to a lot of my friends and family. I am constantly asking him to explain it to me, so why not share the knowledge?
3 Main Grades of Beef According to the USDA
(USDA - United States Department of Agriculture)
PRIME - Highest Grade
Highest level of marbling within the meat (in my terms: the white stuff running throughout the meat)
Higher end pricing
CHOICE - Medium Grade
Moderate level of marbling within the meat
SELECT - Lowest Grade
Lowest level of marbling within the meat
**Marbling is best described as the fat which is within the meat, not the fat surrounding the meat.
If you are trying to get the most "bang for your buck", CHOICE is a good route to go.
The amount of marbling is determined by the amount of time spent in the feed lot. Cattle with a grade of Prime spend more time in the feed lot than Choice or Select (hence the reason they have more fat/marbling). The amount of time in the feed lot plus the type of feed (fed to the cattle) determines the amount of fat and marbling in the meat. This is a basic and simple description (breed, genetics, and feed can slightly alter the above information).
Markets (and grocery stores) with full service counters will offer the higher end cuts of beef, Prime and Choice Grade. Most beef that is pre-packaged and not fresh out of the counter will most often be Select Grade.
I hope this section is beneficial to the "meat buyer" :) in your family. It will always contain basic information that can be used at a meat market or grocery store (meat counter). Leave me your feedback, I would love to know if you found this new section helpful.
The Butcher's Wife,