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Beef Grading Systems

A Guide to USDA, Sashi, and Wagyu Beef Grading

Beef grading systems

Although it is one of the most widely consumed meats in the world, many people are unaware that there are different beef grading systems and scales. These grading systems determine the degree of beef quality and taste and are commonly based on the ribeye cut. Keep reading to become an expert on the grading systems for USDA beef, Sashi beef, and Wagyu beef

USDA Beef Grading

The United States Department of Agriculture defines the rating of USDA beef, acclaimed to be one of the finest quality cuts available on the Maltese market.

USDA beef is graded according to several key factors, namely inter-muscular fat, maturity, colour, and texture – criteria very similar to those of the Wagyu rating scale.

There are a total of 8 different grades of USDA beef which vary greatly in both quality and taste. These have been listed below, in order of quality – with prime being the highest, and canner being the lowest:

  1. Prime
  2. Choice
  3. Select
  4. Standard
  5. Commercial
  6. Utility
  7. Cutter
  8. Canner

At La Boucherie, we have sourced a wide selection of Prime USDA beef, directly from Creekstone Farms in the USA.

USDA grading systems

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Sashi Beef Grading

Considered the European version of the Japanese Wagyu beef, the incredible Sashi beef is a strong contender among its peers.

Sashi has a high grade of marbling, equal to grade 7-8 Wagyu beef. Marbling is the visible unsaturated (healthy) fat on a cut of meat that leaves an incredible effect on its flavour, tenderness and texture. This means Sashi has some beautiful marbling, resulting in a silky-smooth experience.

Characterized by its marbling, it is graded in 3 scales:

  1. Grade of marbling of 2-5 according to the Kobe-scale: 2-5: SASHI.
  2. Grade of marbling of 6-10 according to the Kobe-scale: SASHI-AAA
  3. Grade of marbling of 11-12 according to the Kobe-scale: SASHI-SAIKO (only whole loins).

Only a small number of cattle have the potential to achieve a Sashi grading. You can find an exclusive selection of premium SASHI-AAA grade beef at La Boucherie, including:

  • Ribeye AAA
  • Côte de Boeuf
  • T Bone AAA
  • Striploin AAA
  • Prime Rib
  • Pichania

and many more.

Wagyu Beef Grading

If you’re a die-hard meat lover, chances are you’ve heard of Wagyu beef, which is known to be the most luxurious cut of beef in the world.

The Japanese Wagyu BMS rating scale is based on two types of scores:

  1. Yield score: This is the estimated % of edible cuts from the cattle. The yield score ranges from A to C, with A being the best ranking. Only full-blood Wagyu can receive an A rating.
  2. Quality score: This is based on 4 key factors: marbling, texture and firmness, colour and brightness, and fat quality. Each of the factors are graded from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best ranking. The beef’s overall score is the average score from these 4 factors.

Overall, the best ranking that Wagyu beef may get is A5.

The Australian Wagyu grading scores are identical to the Japanese BMS scale, meaning an Australian Wagyu BMS 5 is the same as a Japanese Wagyu BMS 5.

At La Boucherie We pride ourselves on importing quality Wagyu beef. Our selections of Wagyu include A5 & A4 Miyazaki Japanese Wagyu and WX Rangers Valley Australian Wagyu.

Our Premium Selection at La Boucherie

Are you ready to apply your newfound knowledge on beef grading to selecting the best cuts on the market?

For the best quality imports of USDA, Wagyu, and exclusive Sashi beef visit our butcher shop in Qormi to check out what we’ve got in store or browse our extensive selections online from the comfort of your home.

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