What Are Grades of Beef?

We are Avon PRIME Meats. But what does that mean to you? There are 8 grades of beef that are used in the USA food industry and sold across the country. Before we get into what those 8 grades are, you should know why the grading came about in the first place.

Meat Grading History

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) established this system in the early 1900’s. They began grading beef based off of its fat marbling, or in other words, how much fat exists throughout the beef. The more fat, the more flavor. This system tends to follow an age pattern as well – with the higher graded beef coming from younger cattle, and the lowest grades coming from mature cattle.

We only carry Prime and Premium Choice beef, but there are many other grades of beef in the market.
Prime Filet Mignon.

Farmers and manufacturers do not have to grade their beef, it’s a voluntary classification process that helps moderate pricing and maintain transparency. Therefore, choosing to have beef graded only affects the seller, as the higher grades will sell for higher prices than the lower grades. Typically, you will see only the higher quality beef submitted for grading as it provides a better return on investment for the producer. This doesn’t mean ungraded beef isn’t good, it just means it isn’t likely prime or choice.

The 8 Grades of Beef

Finally, what you have been waiting for: the 8 Grades of Beef. From best to worst they are Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner. Some of these last ones you may have never heard of due to the fact that their producers don’t bother having them graded. In fact, the last three are rarely sold in retail as beef, and more typically are used for ground beef and processed meat products.

8 USDA Grades of Beef Products
8 USDA Grades of Beef Products

What We Carry

We at Avon Prime Meats, ONLY sell Prime and Premium Choice beef. Our meat has the utmost of flavor and tenderness in every bite. We do what we must to bring in the top beef around.

You may ask yourself, “Well wait, I didn’t see ‘Premium Choice’ listed before?” That is because Premium Choice is the best selection of beef from the Choice category. It isn’t Prime fat marbling, but it is better than your standard Choice marbling. Both Prime and Choice grades pack an abundance of deep, rich flavor and create an incredibly tender and juicy steak when properly cooked on your grill, stovetop or even in your oven.

As Avon PRIME Meats, we want our guests to enjoy Nothing But The Best. We go to any lengths to ensure our meat case is stocked up with nothing besides the best Prime and Choice beef we can find. You will see Prime and Premium Choice Ribeye, NY Strips, Tenderloins, Porterhouses, T-Bones, Tri-Tip and more at our store. You can scan through our website to check out what we offer, or visit us in store and we would love to show and teach you about our products in person. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, we would be happy to see what we can do!

(Sources: Jason C, Grades of Beef, (Kitchen Laughter, Feb. 8, 2023) pg. 1)