What's Better: USDA Choice or USDA Select Grade Meat?


Quick Answer

USDA Choice beef contains more fat marbled throughout the meat, and USDA Select beef is a leaner cut. The higher fat content indicates the meat will be more tender and flavorful.

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Full Answer

The United States Department of Agriculture evaluates cuts of beef and labels them with grade symbols designating the meat as "prime", "choice" or "select". The meat is graded for quality on tenderness, juiciness and flavor, and graded for yield on the amount of usable lean meat on the cow. Each grade of meat is suitable for a different cooking method to obtain the best results. The USDA also gives grades of Utility, Cutter and Canner, though these cuts are typically used in processed foods and are not available in retail stores.

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