PASTO NATURAL FOODS CAN PROVIDE
ALL BEEF GRADES SELECTED BY THE USDA
Beef is evaluated by highly-skilled USDA meat graders using a subjective characteristic assessment process and electronic instruments to measure meat characteristics. These characteristics follow the official grade standards developed, maintained and interpreted by the USDA’s Agricultural Market Services.
Beef is graded in two ways: quality grades for tenderness, juiciness and flavor; and yield grades for the amount of usable lean meat on the carcass. From a consumer standpoint, what do these quality beef grades mean?
Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. It has abundant marbling (the amount of fat interspersed with lean meat), and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for dry-heat cooking such as broiling, roasting or grilling.
Choice beef is high quality, but has less marbling than Prime. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful and are suited for dry-heat cooking. Many of the less tender cuts can also be cooked with dry heat if not overcooked. Such cuts will be most tender if braised, roasted or simmered with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.
Select beef is very uniform in quality and normally leaner than the higher grades. It is fairly tender, but, because it has less marbling, it may lack some of the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades. Only the tender cuts should be cooked with dry heat. Other cuts should be marinated before cooking or braised to obtain maximum tenderness and flavor.
RIB EYE STEAK
This highly desired cut of meat deserves top billing due to its full flavor and soft texture. The generous amount of marbling (fat running through the meat) makes for a rich taste and juicy finish. Because this area of the cow gets little exercise, the muscle isn't used much and therefore the meat is nice and tender. Rib-eye is often a decent size, filling up the plate, making for an impressive steak dinner.
Skirt steak is one of the most flavorful cuts of beef, and even though it's also one of the tougher cuts with a lot of connective tissue, it's still a great steak for grilling. Skirt steak comes from either of two separate muscles inside the chest and abdominal cavity, below the ribs, in the section of the cow known as the beef plate primal cut. The two muscles are the diaphragm muscle, called the outside skirt, and the transversus abdominis muscle, or inside skirt.
Picanha is a cut of beef taken from the top of the rump. You might also know it as a rump cover, rump cap, sirloin cap or even culotte steak. It is triangular in shape and surrounded by a thick layer of fat called a fat cap. Because it is not an overused muscle, this cut remains beautifully tender and juicy, producing an amazing flavour when cooked.
The tenderloin is a long piece of beef that you can use to make a full roast or cut other steaks from. This piece comes from an area near the rear of the animal that sits in front of the round cut and under the sirloin. The tenderloin is quite small in comparison to the larger round, rib, chuck, and other cuts, which is one of the reasons it’s so coveted by steak enthusiasts. You won’t get as much meat from this cut as others, which leads to higher prices per pound at the butcher. It’s also known for being extremely tender because it’s a piece of meat that isn’t exercised by the animal much.