Choosing a steak that will fulfill your expectations can be difficult. However, it is made to be easier with the USDA grading system. While USGA graded beef consists of eight different levels, the more common USDA grade only has three.
USDA Grades of Beef
USDA Prime Steak – This is the BEST of the best quality grade and higher grade beef with lots of extremely fine fat marbling. Only about 2% of beef qualifies as Prime. Because this grade of beef has such a high level of fat marbling, it is excellent for dry-heat cooking methods. These include roasting, grilling, frying, broiling, and baking.
USDA Choice Steak– This is the second best quality to Prime with less marbling. USDA choice steaks are full of tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.
USDA Select Steak– If a steak is graded as Select there truly is nothing remarkable out it. It is much leaner and tends to have less tenderness and juiciness. There is also little to no marbling, and the beef is likely from an older cattle.
At Chicago Steak Company we only offer Prime and Choice graded beef. What sets us apart, however, is that the only Choice meat we produce and sell is in the upper 1/3 caliber. Only about 5% of beef qualifies as upper 1/3 Choice. There are two specific reasons why choosing upper 1/3 Choice is so beneficial.
Upper 1/3 Choice steaks contain that very fine marbling, but just don’t quite qualify as Prime. These steaks are still full of flavor and are very tender. This helps to avoid choosing a Choice steak that maybe just made the grade above Select. You surely wouldn’t want to spend the money on a Choice steak that has little marbling, minimal flavor, and could be very tough. Unfortunately, this is a major problem when purchasing Choice meat from the supermarket or local butcher.
The most attractive aspect of upper 1/3 USDA Choice beef is the price point. With Prime steaks, you get what you pay for (which can be a lot.) It is certainly worth it, but many of us can’t afford this luxury on a regular basis. Upper 1/3 Choice allows you to purchase almost Prime quality steaks at a Choice graded price point. This means that you get the bang for your buck and the steaks will surely please any palette.
A tasty and tender steak is a barbeque lover’s dream—but good steak can be difficult to find. Many supermarkets and butchers will label their beef as “Premium Choice” to indicate that their Choice steaks are top notch. However, the USDA doesn’t regulate the word “Premium”, and this labeling only creates false expectations amongst consumers.
At Chicago Steak Company, we only sell the type of beef that our loyal customers have come to know and love. By taking the hassle out of deciphering between what Choice steak is at the top of list in terms of quality, versus the bottom of the list, our customers can rest easy when they receive their order from us. Upper 1/3 Choice is full of flavor, has a great amount of marbling, and cooks to a tenderness that you would expect from a Prime graded steak. With superb quality without breaking the bank, try upper 1/3 Choice beef and see for yourself! Your tummy (and wallet) will surely thank you.