Hi folks, Shane here.
Welcome to the “How To Smoke Meats” Video Tutorial Series.
And, I am glad to be here to share with you the 5 Pro Tips to selecting beef to grill or smoke.
Visit Different Shopping Sources
Whether you’re used to a specific butcher, chain supermarket, or big box store, avoid assuming you are getting the best value and quality for your money.
Chain supermarkets and big box stores are price point driven and may or may not carry any or very much selection of grades above USDA Choice, which represents about 66 % of all market beef.
Specialty and gourmet markets often carry USDA Prime, the grade above USDA Choice that represents about 2-3% of all market beef, or about one in twenty-five market cattle compared to USDA Choice.
Understand how USDA market beef is graded.
The entire beef carcass is graded by evaluating the white specks of intermuscular fat, or marbling, within the lean muscle tissue between the 12th and 13th ribs.
Some large beef processing plants use digital imaging equipment that compare the image to an algorithm that designates the USDA grade combined with specific age and other information.
The beef should be light red or pink in color and is designated as Maturity A (9-30 months) or Maturity B (30-42 months) to receive the USDA Prime or Choice grades.
Grading is voluntary and used for marketing purposes. Ungraded beef is typically referred to as “NO ROLL” since there is no grade stamp rolled onto the carcass and may or may not be low-end quality, however it is easy to identify since the packaging labels will not have any USDA grade stated.
Learn how to separate the three levels of USDA Prime.
Most folks are surprised to learn that there are actually three marbling levels of USDA Prime that are not disclosed on the packaging, so you will need to learn how to identify the difference to get the best quality for your money.
The top level of USDA Prime is designated as ABUNDANT referring to the amount of marbling and represents less than one-tenth of one percent of all market beef.
It’s unlikely you will ever see this top level of USDA Prime since meat wholesalers reserve this top grade for their very best customers, usually fine hotels and restaurants.
You ever wonder why that fifty-dollar restaurant steak was so delicious. Well, now you know.
ABUNDANT PRIME is identified by large thick fat areas dispersed throughout the meat with several small thinner fat areas
MODERATELY ABUNDANT PRIME is identified by small thick fat areas dispersed throughout the meat with several small thinner fat areas.
SLIGHTLY ABUNDANT PRIME is identified by small thick fat areas in some parts of the meat with several small thinner fat areas.
Compare several packages against each other, then select the ones with the greatest amount of thick fat areas.
Learn how to separate the three levels of USDA Choice.
The top level of USDA Choice is designated as MODERATE referring to the amount of marbling and represents the top grade just under USDA Prime.
MODERATE CHOICE is identified by few thick fat areas within several small thinner fat areas.
MODEST CHOICE is identified by mostly several small thinner fat areas.
SMALL CHOICE is identified by a lesser amount of small thinner fat areas.
Compare several packages against each other, then select the ones with the greatest amount of thick fat areas combined with thinner fat areas.
Consider trying Wagyu Beef.
Wagyu translated means Japanese cattle and is well known for its rich flavor and usually contains a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than typical beef.
Although USDA graded beef tops out at Prime, Wagyu begins at that level and goes well beyond with significantly more marbling, flavor and tenderness.
While, you may look forward to a large steak, Wagyu is typically served thinly sliced and in smaller portions due to its rich, intense flavor.
Well, that’s the 5 Pro Tips to selecting beef to grill or smoke.
Hopefully, this video has been helpful for you.
Remember, Love, Laugh, and Bon Appetit.
Now, let’s get smok’in.