Only 2% of all beef qualifies as Certified USDA Prime. It is the ultimate of melt-in-your mouth-tenderness. It’s abundant marbling and texture is the reason USDA Prime is most superior beef available. Buttery flavor, extraordinarily tender, and juiciness. That’s why we require that all Prime Top 10 Steakhouses include USDA Prime Steaks on their menu.
Premier steakhouses are passionate about Prime steaks with good reasons. Great dining environments dictate the best steaks available. Restaurants who serve Prime often serve in exclusively. No other grade of beef compares. Delicately aged for velvety flavor. Hand-trimmed on premises. Quickly seared to seal natural juices and then cooked to perfection.
Beef quality is a composite and meticulous evaluation factors determined by USDA inspection. Firmness, texture, maturity, color of the lean, and the dispersion of marbling within the lean. Graders test the ribeye muscle between the 12th and 13th ribs. Marbling and age is the primary indicators of the best graded steaks.
Grading is exacting because degree of marbling is divided into 100 subunits to determine the grade. USDA Prime is the superior grade followed by USDA Choice and USDA Select. There are even degrees of rating within each grade all based upon firmness of muscle, texture, brightness of lean red and young age of the beef which determines coarseness of texture.
The maturity of beef always refers to physiological age of the animal since exact chronological age is never known. With increased age, color of the lean portion darkens and texture progressively becomes more coarse. The younger the beef combined with finely dispersed marbling are major factors that determine a final certification of absolute best steaks.
Read more about how the USDA grades beef.
Texas A&M University USDA Beef Quality & Yield Grades