There are two different types of beef that the USDA Prime designation applies to. The first is Angus, which has been developed through genetic selection and farming methods over centuries. It’s a breed of cattle with exceptional marbling in its meat and a unique flavor profile to boot- it’s also higher on the price scale than regular beef because it requires specific feed, diets, and intensive care techniques that make for high quality end product..

“USDA Prime vs Choice” is a question that many people have asked before. The USDA Prime is often thought of as the best choice when it comes to meat, but there are also other options such as Angus beef.

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What Does USDA Prime Mean? (As well as how to better comprehend the USDA Scale)

Many people believe that USDA Beef of the highest quality is a different sort of beef than it really is. USDA prime is part of a grading system that helps you determine the grade of beef you’re buying.

Beef is graded by highly qualified USDA meat graders who use a subjective characteristic evaluation procedure and computerized tools to quantify meat properties, according to the USDA. These features are based on the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s official grade standards, which are produced, maintained, and interpreted.

The beef is graded in two ways by USDA meat graders. Tenderness, taste, and juiciness are the first things they look for when grading meat.

The quantity of useable lean meat on the cow after it has been partly killed and hung out for further processing is the second method the beef is graded.

Beef of the highest quality

Beef of the highest quality is usually found in higher end restaurants, hotels and usually at a high price point from a local butcher. The USDA scale says the the Beef of the highest quality is produced from younger cattle.

What also makes the Beef of the highest quality “prime” is the amount of marbling that can be found in the beef itself (fat content). This type of beef is the ideal cut/choice for any grilling or dining out as it is quite a bit better with flavor, tenderness and juiciness.

Beef of Superior Quality

As one would suspect, Beef of Superior Quality is just a step below the Beef of the highest quality. The Beef of Superior Quality is still pretty good quality and will still be loaded with tenderness, juiciness and flavor but the Beef of Superior Quality usually has a little less marbling than prime (which makes it not quite as tender and juicy…).

Beef Chosen

As you continue to go down the scale it is also correct to assume a lesser quality meat with the Beef Chosen. As stated by the USDA, Beef Chosen is uniform in quality and normally leaner than the higher grades on the scale.

The Beef Chosen is still fairly tender but due to less marbling it will most likely lack some of the juiciness and flavor than the higher grades and this is due to less fat (marbling).

To regain some of the lacking tenderness and juiciness most will simply marinate the Beef Chosen. This will help with the lacking tenderness and juiciness. You can even baste the beef while it cooks to help keep it nice and moist.

If you want to learn more about beef grading, I suggest viewing this YouTube video on the subject. However, before you watch, keep in mind that it does show cow corpses being tagged and the procedure.

What Does Angus Beef Mean?


Angus beef, unlike Prime, Choice, and Select cuts of beef, has no bearing on the USDA’s meat grade scale. The cattle are known as Angus and are of the Angus breed.

People are sometimes perplexed since Angus in general is naturally ranked higher on the USDA’s scale, yet this is due to the animal’s character.

Aberdeen Angus cattle are Angus cattle that originated in Scotland. The male Angus cattle reach a weight of about 850 pounds, while the female Angus cattle reach a weight of around 550 pounds.

Another reason for their popularity is that Angus cattle are very resilient. They can withstand all types of storms and snowfalls…

Is There a Difference Between Angus and Black Angus Meat?

The black and red fur-coated cows of the Angus breed are practically two separate hues. The new strand, the red furred Angus, didn’t appear until the early twentieth century. Angus cattle were once completely black.

Despite being classified individually, there is no genetic difference between red and black Angus beef other than the color of the fur.

As previously said, Angus beef is noted for its excellent marbling. This is why they are so popular and stand out as a “higher” ticket item on any restaurant’s menu. When ordering, it normally comes with a lower price tag.

USDA Prime vs. Angus Beef Summary (And Which Is a Better Choice of Meat)


On the USDA’s meat rating for softness, juiciness, and taste, USDA Prime is the highest grade cut of beef. Choice and select cuts of beef are next on the scale, with less marbling, softness, juiciness, and flavour.

The USDA’s scale has nothing to do with Angus. It is, in reality, a real animal noted for its outstanding marbling, which results in the softness and juiciness taste.

Most Angus cattle naturally rank as either a Prime or Beef of Superior Quality on USDA’s scale which is why its is a preferred meat on most menus.

“What is certified angus beef” is the question that many people have been asking. Certified Angus Beef is a meat product that has been raised on US soil and it meets strict standards of quality. Reference: what is certified angus beef.

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