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Old 11-07-2020, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Redwood Shores, CA
1,376 posts, read 764,923 times
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Is there any difference between Prime and Select steaks besides location of the fat? (inside the meat vs at the edge of the meat)

I usually get select-grade steaks. For every bite I usually slice thin strips across the entire steak, so there is a piece of fat attached at the end. In another word, every bite has meat and some fat. Logically it should taste the same as Prime steak. I'm happy with this approach.

Don't get me wrong - Prime steaks are very nice too with marbling in the middle. I just don't know if there is any other difference to justify the higher price?

My Select steak:
Is there any difference between prime and select steaks besides location of fat-steak-2.jpg
Is there any difference between prime and select steaks besides location of fat-steak.jpg
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Old 11-07-2020, 03:50 PM
 
Location: McAllen, TX
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Only the marbling counts when grading. The outer fat has more to do with the way it's cut. The order is Prime, Choice, then Select. The marbling is what affects taste and tenderness.

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Old 11-07-2020, 04:19 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
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Around here, when I buy choice grade or prime grade, the meat has been aged longer than the select.

The select grade is often very green smelling, often green tasting, and it contains more moisture.

I've purchased the select grade if I get a good bargain, and I dry age the meat for 7-10 days to improve the flavor.

Rib steak and standing rib roast are fatty cuts and select grade usually contains sufficient fat to taste good.
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Old 11-07-2020, 04:21 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
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That marbling in the muscle makes for more tenderness in addition to flavor.
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Old 11-07-2020, 05:45 PM
 
Location: NYC
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You need the fat for flavor. Since beef without much fat taste bland and not as tender. Unless you marinate the meat such as skirt steak.
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Old 11-08-2020, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Houston/Brenham
5,741 posts, read 6,431,338 times
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Timely question...

We usually buy Select also, mainly because it's all our local grocery sells*. And we've never been very happy with our steaks. They're okay, but not great. But we like steak, so once every couple months we grill them anyway.

So a couple weeks ago, I was in Houston, and I decided to buy some really good steaks. Went to a high-end grocery store, and spent $20/each on a couple of Prime Rib-Eyes. Cooked them that weekend, and HOLY MOLEY were they good! My wife said they were as good a steak as she's ever had. Steakhouse Restaurant quality.

So yes, USDA grading makes a difference! Or at least in this instance.



* Small town grocery store only sells USDA Select, and if you want a better grade, they have their own in-house brand of "higher-grade" steaks, not USDA. Tried both, not much difference. I've always assumed they do this because their in-house grading doesn't meet USDA standards.
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Old 11-08-2020, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
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I haven't seen select grade beef in ages, and wish I COULD but it. I'd certainly buy it to use in certain dishes, especially something cooked in an instant pot.
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Old 11-08-2020, 12:24 PM
 
10,476 posts, read 6,663,131 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrohip View Post
Timely question...

We usually buy Select also, mainly because it's all our local grocery sells*. And we've never been very happy with our steaks. They're okay, but not great. But we like steak, so once every couple months we grill them anyway.

So a couple weeks ago, I was in Houston, and I decided to buy some really good steaks. Went to a high-end grocery store, and spent $20/each on a couple of Prime Rib-Eyes. Cooked them that weekend, and HOLY MOLEY were they good! My wife said they were as good a steak as she's ever had. Steakhouse Restaurant quality.

So yes, USDA grading makes a difference! Or at least in this instance.



* Small town grocery store only sells USDA Select, and if you want a better grade, they have their own in-house brand of "higher-grade" steaks, not USDA. Tried both, not much difference. I've always assumed they do this because their in-house grading doesn't meet USDA standards.
We just did this same thing this week. The meat in stores around here is mostly select. But this week we were in a market and I splurged on a couple of prime steaks. Grilled 'em med rare and they were as good as any high end steakhouse puts out. So yes, prime definitely makes a difference in taste and tenderness. It's not just the amount of fat, but where it is that makes the difference. Prime could have less total fat but in the right places vs select with a big hunk of fat on the side.
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Old 11-08-2020, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Middle of the valley
45,077 posts, read 29,761,613 times
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For the most part I ONLY eat Prime beef, we get it at Costco. I am a very picky meat eater and even the difference between Prime and Choice is huge, it's like eating a different animal.

Cook up one of each and eat them side by side, if it makes no difference to you then by the less expensive.
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Old 11-08-2020, 03:36 PM
 
15,860 posts, read 27,900,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
I haven't seen select grade beef in ages, and wish I COULD but it. I'd certainly buy it to use in certain dishes, especially something cooked in an instant pot.

In Arizona, there is a bunch of ungraded beef that is generally imported from Mexico. Some of the beed looks choice, some looks select. Fir the bulk of the things that I use beef for - soups, stews, chilis - do not require either a marbled cut or a tender cut. I usually have bacon fat or tallow in the house.

Personally, unless I am heading our for a steak at a fine dining establishment, I do NOT care about the grading. I had some phenomenal meals where the beef came from an OLD dairy cow. I have had some miserable meals of COSTCO prime beef where the person did not know how to cook beef and ruined it.

Last month, I scored some canned beef from a packer in Green Bay. It was NOT much to look at coming out of the can but it had an outstanding taste.
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