How to buy the best steak for your money, what cut to choose, what does each cut cost, does USDA Prime beef really worth it?

Shopping for steak can be sometimes tricky. It doesn’t matter if you buy your steaks at the supermarket or your local butcher shop, there’s just too many options that the whole process might be a bit tedious, but nothing can beat a well-marbled steak on the grill so it is definitely worth the hustle!

Today to satisfy our audience curiosity, and find out the answers to these questions, we took a deep dive into the subject.

Cuts

Choosing the right cut of steak can be a dilemma, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Ribeye, a tenderloin, a New York Strip, a sirloin, or a T-bone or porterhouse? You can check our detailed article to learn more about the different cuts. Make sure to choose the right steak for the right meal before shopping.

For a quick overview on every cut of beef and the best way to cook each one, check this amazing infographic by Businessinsider :

Beef cuts and recommended cooking methods
Credit : BusinessInsider

Marbling

Here’s what to look for when buying a great steak; marbling is the amount of fat running throughout the steak. It provides amazing flavor and tenderness because during the cooking process the fat melts making the steak super juicy and flavorful.

A guide to understanding the fat content USDA grades of beef
Source : www.usda.gov

Grade

Steaks are graded by the USDA on their marbling. This system breaks down the quality grades of beef based on the amount of marbling into Prime, Choice, Select, and Standard.

  • USDA Prime which it has abundant marbling, it is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. Usually served in fancy restaurants.
  • USDA Choice with less marbling than Prime, it is an excellent economic alternative to Prime grades.
  • USDA Select with which is widely available in the retail market. It and tends to be less tender or juicy.
  • USDA Standard with very low in fat content and may be considered the least tender.

For best results, look for USDA Prime beef steaks with high marbling and try to avoid large chunks of fat because they won’t melt when you grill a steak.

You can check the USDA website for more details. Also they were kind enough to make this chart available for the public to check:

A guide to understanding USDA beff grades
Source : U.S. Department of Agriculture

Thickness

You should be looking for steaks at least 1 inch thick as they preserve that nice pink area once you cook them medium rare.

At the end of the day, you should choose something that you’re comfortable cooking, because both can be over- and under-cooked.

Grain Fed vs. Grass Fed

In recent years, grass-fed beef has been growing in popularity and is considered as a healthy choice thanks to its higher amount of Omega 3 acids, grass-fed cattle are allowed to graze freely rather being confined tight spaces and feed, all this being said, grass-fed steaks do have a distinct flavor that some people may enjoy or even prefer. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice, and there’s no right or wrong answer. 

We actually published recently an article on the subject, you can check it out over here Grass Fed Beef – Everything You Need To Know.

In the end

As of now, you should be able to enter your local butcher shop as a confident and informed customer, If you want to learn more about steak, what’s a good buy today, how to cook it, start a relationship with your butcher. These are the folks who know best and will be glad to help if you just ask. But this is only half of the story, you’ve still got to know how to cook a steak properly, so stick around for more cooking tips and tricks.