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The 8 Grades of USDA Beef You Need to Know

USDA Beef from the best butcher in Malta

Note: Be sure to season all meats with high-quality FalkSalt for the best-possible results

We’re going to guide you on choosing the best cuts of USDA beef – one of the best cuts available on the market in Malta

Some basic knowledge in the varying levels of USDA grades will help you make the right choices next time you visit your favourite butcher. You’ll be able to get the best value for money, whilst being sure of what you’re buying.

Not to mention, you’ll have bragging rights for knowing of the tastiest steaks around.

Prime USDA beef available at La Boucherie, the leading gourmet butcher in Malta
Prime USDA beef is the best-ranking grade on the USDA rating scale

Breaking down the USDA grades

One will find a total of 8 different grades of beef. 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
USDA ribeye Malta
Marbling is the biggest factor in determining the grade of beef

Major factors in the grading of USDA beef

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

Inter-muscular fat, referred to as marbling, is in fact the main contributor to the meat’s flavour and tenderness. The grade is judged as according to the dispersion of fat between the cattle’s 12th and 13th rib – which is the area from which the ‘ribeye’ cut is derived.

Understanding the difference in quality between different grades

We recommend staying away from any cuts that are not – at least – in possession of a ‘Select’ grade. Nonetheless, Select USDA steaks generally tend to be quite lacking in inter-muscular fat, resulting in a product that is considerably tough and less flavourful.

Choice steaks do indeed present a step up from Select USDA. Though not as well-marbled as Prime USDA, Choice still offers a good overall experience – and represents the majority of meat found on the US market. Our butchers would recommend sticking to fillet or ribeye should you ever be purchasing Choice-graded USDA.

Prime USDA Beef

The best of all USDA – and arguably one of the best cuts of beef on the planet – is Prime beef. Representing just 5% of all USDA beef, Prime offers a sensational level of marbling, unbeatable flavour and mouth-watering juiciness.

Prime USDA beef offers a truly remarkable experience for meat lovers
Prime beef offers a truly remarkable experience for meat lovers

Our selection of Prime USDA beef, sourced from world leading Creekstone Farms USA

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

Certified Black Angus Prime USDA Beef, Creekstone Farms ensure very strict conditions by which their cattle is raised. Using the best Black Angus genetics in the industry, Creekstone Farms serve as a benchmark for the entire USDA sector.

They promise a natural approach to cattle farming, ensuring that all cattle is reared 100% free from antibiotics, growth hormones, and artificial ingredients. Moreover, each and every cut of beef is traceable, all the way up till the ranch of birth on Creekstone Farms.

These strict protocols ensure a consistent level of quality that is truly spectacular… a must try for any die-hard meat lover.

Browse our current selection of certified USDA Black Angus Beef

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