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Cooking Cow

US Beef Grades

Grade Description
Prime Most tender and highest in fat. Currently, only three percent of the steaks sold are USDA certified Prime.
Prime grade beef is the ultimate in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. It has lots of marbling -- flecks of fat within the lean -- which enhances both flavor and juiciness. USDA description: is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. It has abundant marbling and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for dry-heat cooking (i.e., roasting, broiling, and grilling).
Choice Choice grade beef has less marbling than Prime, but is of very high quality. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful. USDA description: 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, like Prime, suited to dry-heat cooking. Many of the less tender cuts, such as those from the rump, round, and blade chuck, can also be cooked with dry heat, but be careful not to overcook them. Using a meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of cooking and assures a safe internal temperature: 145 °F is medium rare; 160 ° F, medium; and 170 °F, well done.
Select Select grade beef is very uniform in quality and somewhat 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. USDA description: 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 (loin, rib, sirloin) should be cooked with dry heat. Other cuts should be marinated before cooking or cooked with moisture to obtain maximum tenderness and flavor.
Standard frequently are sold as ungraded or as "store brand" meat.
Commercial
Utility are seldom, if ever, sold at retail but are used instead to make ground beef and processed products.

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Beef Cooking Temperature

(source Wikipedia.com)

Cooked USA Temperature Range Description
Blue 115 – 125°F (46 – 52°C) Blood-red meat, soft, very juicy
Rare 125 – 130°F (52 – 54°C) Red center, gray surface, soft, juicy
Medium Rare 130 – 140°F (54 – 60°C) Pink center, gray-brown surface
Medium 140 – 150°F (60 – 66°C) Slightly pink center, becomes gray-brown towards surface
Medium Well 150 – 160°F (66 – 71°C) Mostly gray center, firm texture.
Well done >160°F (>71°C) Gray-brown throughout.

Retail Beef Cuts by Area of Cow

(using the wikipedia image to the right for areas). Cooking recommendations from CertifiedAngusSteak.com. I personally like all my skillet and grilled meat marinated. :-)



Chuck Meat is basically muscle, and the chuck happens to be a heavily exercised area. Luckily, this area contains a great deal of connective tissue, including collagen. Collagen melts during cooking, making the meat intensely flavorful. Cuts from this area benefit from slow, wet cooking methods like stewing, braising or pot-roasting.

* Blade Roast—an inexpensive cut which lies next to the ribs; more tender than most chuck; makes an excellent roast. Alternatively, the roast can be cut into a rib-eye steak, with meat above and below the bone excellent for stir-fry dishes
* Chuck Steak—a good choice for kabobs if well marinated

  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Chuck Arm Pot Roast               X
Chuck shoulder Pot Roast               X
Chuck Shoulder Steak     X       X  
Chuck Eye Steak X X            
Chuck Top Blade Steak X X            
Chuck Mock Tender Steak             X  
Chuck Blade Steak     X       X  
Chuck 7-Bone Pot Roast               X
Chuck Short Ribs           X    

Rib Tender and flavorful ribs can be cooked any number of ways. Most recipes call for ribs to be roasted, sauteed, pan-fried, broiled, or grilled.

* Rib Roast—known as a standing rib roast (bone left in), or without the bone for convenient slicing. Excellent when dry roasted. A seven-bone prime rib roast can be quite a hefty addition to the dinner table. It is great for a crowd, but for a small family a bone roast will do. Many butchers will cut a roast to order for you
* Rib Steak—also cut from the rib section, these tender steaks can be purchased bone-in or as boneless rib-eye

  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Rib Roast         X      
Rib Steak   X            
Ribeye Roast         X      
Ribeye Steak X X            
Back Ribs   X            

Short Loin This area boasts extremely tender cuts and can be prepared without the aid of moist heat or long cooking times. Cuts from the short loin may be sautéed, pan fried, broiled, pan broiled or grilled.

* Porterhouse Steak—a very popular steak cut from the rear end of the short loin; the name originated from the days when it was served in public alehouses that also served a dark beer called porter. The porterhouse consists of both tenderloin and strip steak. The tenderloin is often served separately as filet mignon
* T-bone Steak—cut from the middle section of the short loin; similar to the porterhouse steak; has a smaller piece of the tenderloin; usually grilled or pan-fried
* Tenderloin—often considered the most tender cut of beef; responds well to sauces, meaning the meat does not overpower the flavor of the sauce. It can be cut as the whole strip, or into individual steaks for filet mignon

  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Top Loin X X            
T-Bone Steak X X            
Porterhouse Steak X X            
Tenderloin Roast         X      
Tenderloin Steaks X X            

Sirloin, Top Sirloin, Bottom Sirloin "The backbone's connected to the … hipbone"—not a song, but a sirloin. These tender cuts respond well to sautéing, pan-frying, broiling, pan-broiling or grilling.

* Sirloin Steaks—these steaks are available in a variety of boneless and bone-in steaks
* Sirloin Tip Roast—excellent when dry roasted or marinated
  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Top Sirloin Steak X X            
Tri-Tip Roast   X     X      
Tri-Tip Steak   X            

Round The round consists of lean meat well-suited to long, moist cooking methods.

* Top Round—this is the most tender part of the round; it can be prepared as pot roast or cut into thick steaks for braised dishes
* Rump Roast—a very popular cut for pot roast, but can also be roasted at low temperatures

  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Top Round Steak     X          
Round Tip Steak X              
Round Tip Roast         X      
Bottom Round Roast               X
Eye Round Roast         X      
Eye Round Steak X           X  

Brisket Traditionally used for corned beef, brisket is best prepared with moist heat. Suitable preparation methods include stewing, braising and pot-roasting.

* Brisket First Cut—a leaner cut of the brisket, for those who want the flavor but not the fat of a brisket pot roast
* Brisket Front Cut—fork tender and succulent, a Certified Angus Beef ® pot roast made with this cut is truly mouthwatering

  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Brisket, Whole               X
Brisket, Flat cut               X

 

Plate This section is best used for stew meat, where its rich, beefy flavor can be appreciated.

  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Skirt Steak     X          

Flank This meat is lean, muscular and very flavorful. Flank is primarily used for flank steaks and rolled flank steaks. It can also be used for kabobs.

* Flank Steak—this steak has a great flavor, and should be sliced thin against the grain for maximum chewability. Use to make the classic London broil

  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Flank Steak     X          

Shank Traditionally used for corned beef, brisket is best prepared with moist heat. Suitable preparation methods include stewing, braising and pot-roasting.

* Foreshank—excellent stew meat

  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Shank Cross Cut           X    

Other Cuts
  Skillet Grill/Broil Marinate then grill or broil Stir-Fry Roast Stewing Braising Pot Roast
Ground Beef X X     X      
Cubed Steak X              
Beef for Kabobs   X            
Beef for Stew           X    
Beef for Stir-Fry       X        

 



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