Beef plays an important role in the restaurant and retail grocery industries. It is important to understand the different grades of beef, the different cuts of beef, and the best sources for wholesale beef products for your business.
Grades of Beef
The US recognizes 8 grades of beef quality which are largely based on the degree of marbling and the maturity of the animal at slaughter.
- U.S. Prime Beef is the highest quality beef product; this grade has a very high degree of fat marbling and represents less than 3% beef products
- U.S. Choice Beef is a high quality well-marbled product that is widely available in the food industry. It does not have quite the fat content of Prime and accounts for 50+% of the beef cattle.
- U.S. Select Beef is a lower grade beef product. It tends to be less tender than Choice or Prime due to its lower fat content.
- U.S. Standard is one grade below Select. It is lacking in fat marbling but tends to be a more economical choice.
- U.S. Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner are the lowest quality beef products. They have little marbling and are produced from older animals. You will often find this grade of beef product in ground beef, processed meats, and dog food.
Cuts of Beef
Beef carcasses are split along the axis of symmetry and then divided into halves (front and back quarters). The American primal cuts fall into 2 groups:
- Chuck, Rib, Brisket, Plate, and (fore) Shank
- Short Loin, Sirloin, Tenderloin, Top/Bottom Sirloin, Round, (hind) Shank
Each cut of beef has different characteristics. In general, the cuts closest to the hoof are the toughest as the leg muscles work hard and tend to be leaner. Cuts further from the hoof have more fat and are considered to be of higher quality.
Interra International is a global food distributor, specializing in proteins such as wholesale beef products. If you have any questions about grades, cuts, pricing, or sourcing, we are here to help. We have knowledgeable staff around the world to connect you to the best local source at the right price. Learn more about our wholesale beef products or simply give us a call +1 770-612-8101 – contact us today!