Grades of beef in the U.S.

  • USDA Prime is the highest grade with the most amount of marbling. Also the most expensive. I would only recommend this for special occasions or for those who can afford it.
  • USDA Choice comes in second with slightly less marbling but at a much more affordable price. There is also the Certified Angus Beef which falls under the USDA Choice category with more marbling than regular choice beef which usually ranges $1-$2 more per pound.
  • USDA Select beef can be found in some markets with much less marbling than choice. It is usually offered at a much lower cost. Not recommended for grilling or broiling in my opinion unless You have time to use a tenderizing marinade. Tip: Look for cheap cuts in this grade if you are making a stew or pot roast.
  • USDA Standard and lower grades are typically not available in retail butcher shops or supermarkets because of their lower quality and degree of toughness.

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