It was in the early 1900s when livestock farmers, the meat-packing industry and the consuming public in the United States began to realize that a system for grading cuts of beef was needed to bring more uniform standards to an industry that in those days was likely to claim their beef was top quality, whether that was even remotely true or not. The United States Department of Agriculture was charged with creating the grading system, and although it took nearly two decades, the system was published for the first time in 1923 and by 1924 had become law. The standards continued to be tweaked and modified over the years, although it’s now been decades since any substantial changes have been made. For the consuming public, cuts of beef are graded as either Prime, Choice or Select, with Prime being the highest quality standard of the three. But what exactly makes USDA Prime Steak the best?
USDA Prime Steaks are Graded by Two Main Dimensions
Grading a cut of beef involves looking at two main dimensions – QANTITY and QUALITY. Inspectors look for the amount of usable lean meat in the cut, and then they look at various factors that affect the quality, including tenderness, juiciness and flavor. These highly-trained inspectors specifically look at the meat between the 12thand 13th ribs of cattle to make their grading examination. To qualify for the USDA Prime designation, the cut of beef is going to come from younger, well-fed cattle and the meat itself is going show lots of “marbling,” a term used to describe the presence of intramuscular fat (not the fat on the outside of a cut, which is typically removed). The more marbling there is, the more tender, juicy and flavorful the cut of beef will be. USDA Prime is the highest grade a cut of beef can receive and as such has a more limited supply than other grades of beef. It is highly coveted for hotels, resorts and restaurants because consumers will undoubtedly find it juicier, tastier and more tender than the other grades of beef.
The next grade down from USDA Prime is Choice, which is still a very good cut of beef, but just not quite as good as USDA Prime. The primary reason for getting the Choice designation instead of the USDA Prime label is because of the lower fat content, and the fat content not being as evenly distributed as it is in a USDA Prime cut of beef. The next grade down from there is called Select. It used to be called Good, which is important because it’s not like a Select label means it’s a bad cut of beef, it just means it’s not as amazing as USDA Prime or Choice. Even select cuts make for great steaks sold in the retail environment, it’s just leaner that the other grades and therefore won’t be quite as juicy. To give you an idea of the supply of these various cuts, only around 3% of all US beef qualifies for the USDA Prime label, while 70% of all US beef is Choice and 20% is Select.
But what about the remaining 7% of beef? After the three main grades that retail-quality beef can receive, there are actually five more grades of beef below those (Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner) for non-retail commercial purposes. It gets made into ground beef and a variety of processed products. Find out more about USDA meeting grading on the USDA website.
Joe and Guisseppe Serves only USDA Prime Steaks
We are very proud to say that all our steaks are 100% USDA Prime Steak. In fact, not only are we the only Italian Steakhouse in Aruba, we are literally the only restaurant on the island that exclusively offers only USDA Prime Steaks! And our menu presents a variety of USDA Prime Steaks for your dining pleasure:
- 20oz Prime T-Bone
- 36oz Prime Porterhouse
- 22oz Prime Chicago-Style Rib Eye
- 14oz Bone-In Filet
- 14oz Rib Eye Steak
- 13oz Marinated Prime Skirt Steak
- 12oz New York Strip
- 8oz Petite Filet Mignon
If you’re looking for an Aruba steakhouse, do yourself a favor and come to our Italian USDA Prime Steakhouse Restaurant in Palm Beach, where you’ll find not only the best steaks on the island, but also a wide-ranging menu of other entrées, including imported seafood (Maine Lobster Tail, Lake Superior Whitefish, North Atlantic Salmon and Lake Superior Perch) and diverse pasta dishes (Lasagna, Gnocchi, Tortellini, Ravioli, Linguini and more). You can make your reservation online now at our website!