JUMP To TOP           BEEF:          

Creating your own cuts of meat can save you a bundle; besides, YOU get to 100% control the fat content. ALL butcher cuts of beef can benefit greatly from being dry aged, from a common, inexpensive English cut roast all the way up to VERY expensive prime rib roasts and beef Tenderloins. Below are a few handy Factoids to aid you in purchasing & cooking your “perfect” beef selections for your family meals: dry aging beef, prime rib roasts, USDA beef grades, beef tenderloin roasts, Kobe / Wagyu beef, ground beef, Making your own homemade ground beef, corn-fed vs grass-fed beef.

JUMP To TOP           DRY AGING BEEF:

ALL beef is "wet aged" in one form or another. Primal (untrimmed) cuts are usually packed air-tight in very heavy Cryovac plastic bags by slaughter houses for shipping and storage for extended periods which "counts" only as wet-aging time.

The reasons to dry-age a quality piece of beef are MANY.

JUST DO IT - IT WILL BE WELL WORTH THE TRIP!!!!!!

Meat “spoils” because of two things, moisture AND bacteria. Thus, those pretty grocer sealed packages of meat on a foam tray are prime spoilage stations. Dry aging works because you physically pat the meat dry. The meat remains dry during the entire process because it is both refrigerated and NOT SEALED so moisture moves up to the surface and evaporates.

HOW TO DO IT!

Pat the untrimmed Roast dry with paper towels and place it bones down on a wire rack in a shallow pan with a paper towel in the bottom to catch any drippings (change the drippings towel DAILY). Set the pan uncovered in the bottom (coldest) shelf of a refrigerator for 4 to 10 days. Just prior to roasting, thinly shave off any pieces of exterior meat that have become completely dehydrated (REALLY funky looking - Dried areas are perfectly OK). A 6 pound roast will lose over 1/3 pound during this most important aging process.

The meat NEEDS to be kept at a pretty constant 38 degrees during the entire dry aging process.

If you have an extra refrigerator that is not opened very often - PLEASE USE IT, constantly opening and closing a modern refrigerator causes the air-removal and defrosting processes to kick on & off every time the door opens and closes. This causes large changes in internal temperatures - BAD FOR MOISTURE EVAPORATION AND DRY AGING.

If you absolutely CANNOT STAND the fact that there is an “exposed” piece of meat just sitting in your fridge, you can loosely wrap the meat in a triple layer of cheesecloth. However; DAILY, you must unwrap the cheesecloth, hang it up and let it dry for 1/2 hour (remember - MOISTURE allows bacteria to grow and WILL spoil the meat), Then re-wrap the meat in order to keep the cheesecloth from sticking and tearing apart the meat fibers too much when you remove it again. This piece of cheesecloth WILL get ugly before the process is completed, you get to choose what’s easier/uglier. Do NOT wash & dry it as you go.

JUMP To TOP           PRIME RIB: 

If you are going to spend this much money for a piece of meat, spend a little extra and get the best cut of beef you can find. A few unscrupulous Butchers label their roasts as “Prime Rib” even though the cut is actually a Choice or Select grade of beef. By LAW, the word Prime anywhere on the label means USDA PRIME.

Something called a Prime Rib Roast is the exact same cut as something called a Standing Rib Roast or a Rib Eye Roast if boneless with the only difference usually being the price, which depends ONLY upon your Butchers attitude towards you.

Coming from the primal rib cut on a beef cow - There are two per cow (one on each side).

The prime rib you will "normally" cook will contain 7 ribs. If it is cut into individual rib pieces and the rib bones removed, the cut then magically becomes a boneless Rib-Eye Steak, or a “Tomahawk Steak” if the long rib bone is simply stripped of meat and left attached.

Roasting the prime rib whole and slicing after cooking gives you a traditional prime rib dinner.

There are two different cuts for prime rib (unless you purchase a whole rib - 14 ribs).

1) THE FIRST CUT: Also called the loin end or small end, is the rear of the section of ribs and has leaner meat and smaller bones. This gives you more meat for your money. The meat and bones get larger as you move forward towards the front shoulder, as does the fat content.

This first cut is the cut you want to purchase – ASK your Butcher which cut it is.

2) THE SHOULDER CUT: This cut is from the front of the cut, or near the shoulder. It is the larger of the cuts with bigger sections of meat which translates into more sinew between the muscles. This cut also has more fat and larger bones. Since the price is usually the same, avoid this cut.

JUMP To TOP           USDA BEEF GRADES (STEERS, HEIFERS & COWS):      

The chart above shows the marbling used by the USDA to determine today’s commonly available beef grades. This chart ranges from the best flavored beef (moderately abundant) to the poorest flavored beef (slight). PRIME BEEF: Slightly abundant to moderate. CHOICE BEEF: Modest to small. SELECT BEEF: Slight to traces (not pictured). STANDARD BEEF: Practically devoid (not pictured). WAGYU BEEF: Abundant (not pictured) to moderately abundant. ALL cuts of beef are actually graded by the USDA, but they physically “inspect” ONLY a rib eye roast. The marbling of that single roast is used to determine the grade for ALL of the meat for that ENTIRE COW).

JUMP To TOP           YOUR EIGHT USDA BEEF CHOICES: 

Meat retailers tend to attempt to glorify the meat they sell by giving theirs unique names (Black Angus, etc.) in order to convince their customers that theirs is better than anyone else's. Odds are extremely high that it isn’t. The USDA uses EIGHT meat quality grades and your butcher knows what grade is in the package - if it doesn’t say ASK! In most meat markets you will normally see the top 3 beef grades for sale in their cases:  Prime, Choice and Select. Lately, because of INFLATION, I am beginning to see the lower high-priced cuts (Steaks & Roasts) of Utility Grade availability at retail more and more often.

JUMP To TOP           1) PRIME: Or restaurant grade. Search diligently and get your wallet out - this is "THE ONE". Less than 2% of all beef sold in this country is USDA graded as prime. the minimum degree of marbling required is a minimum slightly abundant amount for carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the bullock class. The Ribeye muscle is moderately firm and, in carcasses having the maximum maturity for this class, the Ribeye is light red in color.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Prime grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Minimum quality characteristics are described for two maturity groups, which cover the entire range of maturity permitted in the Prime grade. Carcasses in the younger group, range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class to those at the juncture of the two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is light red in color and is fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum slightly abundant amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye muscle is moderately firm. Carcasses in the older group, range from those described above as representative of the juncture of the two groups to those at the maximum maturity permitted in the Prime grade, which have chine bones tinged with red and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that are partially ossified. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused, the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are completely ossified, and the cut surface of the lean tends to be fine in texture. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from minimum slightly abundant to maximum slightly abundant and the Ribeye muscle is firm. Beef produced from cows is not eligible for the Prime grade.

JUMP To TOP           2) CHOICE: While very OK, this grade is entirely acceptable if you absolutely cannot find prime as long as you dry age it. Around 50% of all beef sold in this country is USDA graded choice.  The minimum degree of marbling required is a minimum small amount for carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the bullock class. The Ribeye muscle may be slightly soft and, in carcasses having the maximum maturity for this class, the Ribeye is moderately light red in color.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Choice grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Minimum quality characteristics are described for two maturity groups, which cover the entire range of maturity permitted in the Choice grade. Carcasses in the younger group, range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class, to those at the juncture of the two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is moderately light red in color and is fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum small amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye muscle may be slightly soft. Carcasses in the older group range from those described above as representative of the juncture of the two groups, to those at the maximum maturity permitted in the Choice grade, which have chine bones tinged with red and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae are partially ossified. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused, the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are completely ossified, and the cut surface of the lean tends to be fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum modest amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye muscle is slightly firm

JUMP To TOP           3) SELECT: Pass Select grade by, it’s cheap for good reason. While prime and choice beef are nearly ALWAYS labeled as such, Select may or may not be labeled as to it’s grade AT ALL. If the package isn't labeled as either "prime" or "choice", it's a very high probability that it's therefore by default select grade. The minimum degree of marbling required is a minimum slight amount for carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the bullock class. The Ribeye muscle may be moderately soft and, in carcasses having the maximum maturity for this class, the Ribeye is slightly light red in color.

TECHNICAL: In carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the Select grade, the minimum marbling required is a minimum slight amount and the Ribeye may be moderately soft. Carcasses in the maturity group permitted range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class, to those at the juncture of the two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is slightly light red in color and is fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum slight amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye may be moderately soft.

JUMP To TOP           4) STANDARD: This CA 1800's grade is currently non-existent since today's cattle meat is not forced to "toughen up" on those long, hard western cattle drives to the railway’s any more. There was a standard “steak joke” in local restaurants in the middle 1800’s “It’s not great, it’s Longhorn”. The minimum degree of marbling required is a minimum practically devoid amount for carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the bullock class. The Ribeye muscle may be soft and, in carcasses having the maximum maturity for this class, the Ribeye is slightly dark red in color.

Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the standard grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Minimum quality characteristics are described for two maturity groups which cover the entire range of maturity permitted in the Standard grade. carcasses in the younger group range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class to those at the juncture of the two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is slightly dark red in color and is fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum practically devoid amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye muscle may be soft. Carcasses in the older group range from those described above as representative of the juncture of the two groups to those at the maximum maturity permitted in the Standard grade, which have chine bones tinged with red and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that are partially ossified. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused, the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are completely ossified, and the cut surface of the lean is moderately fine in texture. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from minimum practically devoid to maximum practically devoid and the Ribeye muscle may be moderately soft.

JUMP To TOP           5) COMMERCIAL: Commercial grade beef carcasses are restricted to those with evidences of more advanced maturity than permitted in the Standard grade.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Commercial grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Minimum quality characteristics are described for the youngest and the most mature of these groups. The requirements for the intermediate group are determined by interpolation between the requirements indicated for the two groups described. Carcasses in the youngest group permitted in the Commercial grade range from those with indications of maturity barely more advanced than described as maximum for the Standard grade, to those with moderately hard, rather white chine bones and with cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that show considerable ossification but the outlines of the cartilages are still plainly visible. In addition, the rib bones are moderately wide and flat and the Ribeye muscle is moderately dark red and slightly coarse in texture. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from a minimum small amount to a maximum small amount and the Ribeye muscle is slightly firm. The youngest carcasses in the most mature group included in the Commercial grade have hard, white chine bones and the outlines of the cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae are barely visible, the rib bones are wide and flat, and the Ribeye muscle is dark red and coarse in texture. The range of maturity in this group extends to include carcasses from the oldest animals marketed. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from a minimum moderate amount to a maximum moderate amount and the Ribeye muscle is firm

JUMP To TOP           6) UTILITY: The Utility grade includes only those carcasses that do not meet the minimum requirements specified for the Standard grade.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Utility grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Carcasses within the full range of maturity classified as beef are included in the Utility grade. Thus, five maturity groups are recognized. Minimum quality requirements are described for three of these groups -- the first or youngest, the third or intermediate, and the fifth or the most mature. The requirements for the second and fourth maturity groups are determined by interpolation between the requirements described for their adjoining groups. Carcasses in the first or youngest maturity group range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class, to those at the juncture of the first two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is slightly dark red in color and fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, the Ribeye muscle is devoid of marbling and may be soft and slightly watery. Carcasses in the third or intermediate maturity group range from those with indications of maturity barely more advanced than described as maximum for the Standard grade, to those with moderately hard, rather white chine bones and with cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that show considerable ossification but the outlines of the cartilages are still plainly visible. In addition, the rib bones are moderately wide and flat and the Ribeye muscle is dark red in color and slightly coarse in texture. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from minimum practically devoid to maximum practically devoid and the Ribeye muscle may be moderately soft. The youngest carcasses in the fifth or oldest maturity group have hard, white chine bones, and the outlines of the cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae are barely visible, the rib bones are wide and flat, and the Ribeye muscle is very dark red in color and coarse in texture. The range in maturity in this group extends to include carcasses from the oldest animals produced. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from a minimum slight amount to a maximum slight amount and the Ribeye muscle is slightly firm.

JUMP To TOP           7) CUTTER: This grade is from older cattle with no marbling, and used for really cheap ground beef, processed meat products like hot dogs, even dog food.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Cutter grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Carcasses within the full range of maturity classified as beef are included in the Cutter grade. Thus, five maturity groups are recognized. Minimum quality requirements are described for three of these groups -- the first or youngest, the third or intermediate, and the fifth or the most mature. The requirements for the second and fourth maturity groups are determined by interpolation between the requirements described for their adjoining groups. Carcasses in the first or youngest maturity group range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class to those at the juncture of the first two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is slightly dark red in color and fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, the Ribeye muscle is devoid of marbling and may be very soft and watery. Carcasses in the third or intermediate maturity group range from those with indications of maturity barely more advanced than described as maximum for the Standard grade, to those with moderately hard, rather white chine bones and with cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that show considerable ossification but the outlines of the cartilages are still plainly visible. In addition, the rib bones are moderately wide and flat and the Ribeye muscle is dark red in color and slightly coarse in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, the Ribeye muscle is devoid of marbling and may be soft and watery. Carcasses in the fifth or oldest maturity group have hard white chine bones and the outlines of the cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae are barely visible, the rib bones are wide and flat, and the Ribeye muscle is very dark red in color and coarse in texture. The range in maturity in this group extends to include carcasses from the oldest animals produced. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from minimum practically devoid to maximum practically devoid and the Ribeye muscle is soft and slightly watery.

JUMP To TOP           8) CANNER: This grade of beef is seldom, if ever, sold at retail but is used instead to make ground beef and processed products.

TECHNICAL: The Canner grade includes only those carcasses that are inferior to the minimum requirements specified for the Cutter grade.

JUMP To TOP           THE FIVE USDA BEEF YIELD GRADES:

The USDA also has 5 “Yield Grades” which determine the amounts of meat vs fat (i.e. Flavor) within a certain weight of carcass, or it’s “Yield”. The higher the Yield Grade Number, the better the grade of meat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 1: A carcass in Yield Grade 1 usually has only a thin layer of external fat over the ribs, loins, rumps, and clods, and slight deposits of fat in the flanks and cod or udder. There is usually a very thin layer of fat over the outside of the rounds and over the tops of the shoulders and necks. Muscles are usually visible through the fat in many areas of the carcass. A 700-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 1 and 2, might have two-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 12.5 square inches of Ribeye, and 1.5 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat. A 1,100-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 1 and 2, might have four-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 19.1 square inches of Ribeye, and 2.0 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 2: A carcass in Yield Grade 2 usually is nearly completely covered with fat but the lean is plainly visible through the fat over the outside of the rounds, the tops of the shoulders, and the necks. There usually is a slightly thin layer of fat over the loins, ribs, and inside rounds and the fat over the rumps, hips, and clods usually is slightly thick. There are usually small deposits of fat in the flanks and cod or udder.

A 700-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 2 and 3, might have five-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 12.3 square inches of Ribeye, and 2.5 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

A 1,100-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 2 and 3, might have six-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 18.1 square inches of Ribeye, and 3.0 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 3: A carcass in Yield Grade 3 usually is completely covered with fat and the lean usually is visible through the fat only on the necks and the lower part of the outside of the rounds. There usually is a slightly thick layer of fat over the loins, ribs, and inside rounds and the fat over the rumps, hips, and clods usually is moderately thick. There usually are slightly large deposits of fat in the flanks and cod or udder.

A 700-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 3 and 4, might have seven-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 11.0 square inches of Ribeye, and 3.0 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

 1,100-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 3 and 4, might have eight-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 16.9 square inches of Ribeye, 3.5 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 4: A carcass in Yield Grade 4 usually is completely covered with fat. The only muscles usually visible are those on the shanks and over the outside of the plates and flanks. There usually is a moderately thick layer of fat over the loins, ribs, and inside rounds and the fat over the rumps, hips, and clods usually is thick. There usually are large deposits of fat in the flanks and cod or udder.

A 700-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 4 and 5, might have nine-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 9.8 square inches of Ribeye, and 3.5 percent of its carcass weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

A 1,100-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 4 and 5, might have one inch of fat over the Ribeye, 15.6 square inches of Ribeye, and 4.0 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic and heart fat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 5: A carcass in Yield Grade 5 usually has more fat on all of the various parts, a smaller area of Ribeye, and more kidney, pelvic, and heart fat than a carcass in Yield Grade 4

JUMP To TOP           BEEF TENDERLOINS:

While relatively low in flavor, but unbelievably tender. Again, if spending this much money, search for a prime grade roast. If you purchase a whole beef tenderloin, it will most likely come in a very heavy plastic bag (Cryovac) and be untrimmed. You need to "prepare" it properly before cooking. Trimming your own saves BIG $.

TRIMMING A TENDERLOIN: 

Remove the tapered tenderloin from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. Use your hands to pull off and discard any large pieces of loose fat. Some of the transparent membrane will also peel easily off. As you probe the tenderloin with your fingers you will discover that there is one main long muscle and a small sinewy, fatty piece that runs the length of the entire tenderloin. The fatty piece is called the chain and it is attached most securely at the head (the thicker end) of the tenderloin. Force your thumb down between the two muscles and slide it end to end to separate them as much as possible before beginning to cut. The chain has some meat, but it is mostly fat and sinew. Trimming away the visible fat and sinew and then slicing the chain very thin will make you the best Philly Cheese Steak you EVER had! To release the chain from the tenderloin, starting at the narrow end (the tail) and using the tip of your knife and make short, careful strokes between the chain and the tenderloin. Use your free hand to pull the chain away from the tenderloin as you cut. Until you reach the head, it should come away very easily. You should only be using your knife to cut through membrane and fat. When you reach the head, be careful about where you cut. The separation between the chain and the main tenderloin is not so apparent at the head end. Examine the head where the chain is attached and cut the chain away being careful not to cut too much into the good meat of the tenderloin. There will be a narrow flap of meat left alongside the head of the tenderloin that is not part of the chain. Flip the tenderloin over. Begin to cut away the thick chunks of fat by carefully sliding your knife along the length of the tenderloin (again, use knife strokes that run in the head to tail direction). There is generally a big chunk of fat under the head that should be pulled away. Doing so will create a bit of a flap, but that is normal. After scraping and slicing the most apparent fat away from the tenderloin, there will still be some fat that is visible, but removing it would involve digging into the meat, which is not something you want to do. Turn the filet back over and remove the most apparent fat from the top of the tenderloin. All that should be left to remove now is the long thick membrane that runs about two-thirds of the way down the tenderloin from the head. This membrane is called the silverskin. This silverskin MUST be removed. When it is subjected to the heat of the oven, sauté pan or grill, it shrinks and will cause the filet to curl. It is also tough and inedible. Because the silverskin is tough and sinewy it is fairly easy to remove Slide the tip of your knife under a portion of it, starting at the head end, and holding your knife at an angle so that it lightly scrapes the underside of the silverskin (your blade should NOT be angled in towards the meat), run the blade down the length of the filet, removing the silverskin in long thin strips. When the silverskin has been completely removed, look over the whole Tenderloin and remove any stray bits of fat, sinew and silverskin that remain on the surface. When you are done, you will have a cleaned whole filet. The usable meat can be cut into the center cut filet , the thin tail and the large and oddly-shaped head. I like to use the center cut filet (named a Chateaubriand Cut) for roasting whole. A roasted center cut filet produces beautiful, uniformly shaped slices that are perfect for serving at formal dinners. A 5 1/2 lb. tenderloin will yield roughly a 2 lb. center cut filet.

JUMP To TOP           KOBE / WAGYU BEEF:

Japanese bred and traditionally raised Kobe Beef comes from the Wagyu Beef Steer. True Kobe Beef is NOT available anywhere in the WORLD but in Japan if they tell you it’s Kobe Beef, THEY ARE LYING - Much like the most 'favored" types of Japanese grown Rice's are not available elsewhere. In the U.S.A., Japanese Black Wagyu cattle were crossbred with Black Angus cattle (1 Wagyu Bull and 20K Angus Cows equals an instant giant Wagyu Beef herd). This crossbreed has been named by a few as "American Style Kobe Beef". These Wagyu Steers are NOT raised in the traditional Japanese Kobe way, where they are massaged daily, fed special, “secret” blends of feed and slaughtered without stress (NO Adrenalin in the meat). Still, Wagyu is a VERY flavorful breed of Steer. This crossbreed is usually sold and served in this country under the true name of "Wagyu Beef". Sometimes, completely erroneously sold by different, unscrupulous wholesalers and restaurateurs, under the false "shortened" name of “Kobe Beef”. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with Wagyu Beef Meat - It is expensive, flavorful, tender, well marbled and well worth a celebration dinner with loved your ones. It is DIFFICULT to find in retail butcher shops and if you do find it, be prepared for sticker shock.

JUMP To TOP           BROWNING MEATS:

To effectively brown ANY meat which ends up giving you that much-sought after caramelized, flavorful exterior is NOT difficult to achieve. There are only three hard rules:

#1): Brown over medium high to high heat with as little added oil as possible.

#2): Do NOT crowd the meat in the pan, if necessary, do it in small batches.

#3): Wet meat will NEVER brown, Always pat the meat dry with paper towels before beginning to cook. Blood WILL brown, moisture WILL NOT!

You always want to brown meats that are NOT touching each other in the pan. Crowding the meat causes the meat to steam itself instead of braise itself. Steamed meats are ALWAYS an unappetizing gray color. Braised meats are always GB&D! “Golden Brown and Delicious” - not to mention creating that wonderful "fond" in the bottom of the pan, just WAITING for you to quickly transform it into a multitude of wonderful pan sauces and gravies. Now you know why your ground beef for chili & spaghetti always comes out gray instead of brown.

JUMP To TOP           CORN FED VS GRASS FED BEEF:

It used to be that a steak was a steak was a steak. Today, it's not that simple. A quick glance at the Butcher's counter will reveal all kinds of cuts you never knew about along with fancy breeds like Angus, Wagyu and Kobe. Then, just when you thought you came to a decision, suddenly you're faced with grass fed vs corn fed beef. Is there actually a difference between these two types of meat, other than the obvious price difference?

GRASS-FED BEEF:

Grass-fed beef is exactly what it sounds like: cattle that have grazed on grassy pastures THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. The first thing you'll notice about this type of beef is its price tag: at my local grocery store, the grass-fed Ribeye steak was just shy of $4 more per pound than the corn-fed Ribeye. Why is it so much more? Well, it takes longer for grass-fed cattle to reach their processing weight, and they weigh less without grain or corn to bulk up their diet. Raising beef this way is thought to be more sustainable, but it's also more expensive for the rancher. Are those extra dollars worth it? When it comes to nutrition, grass-fed beef is higher in key nutrients, including antioxidants and vitamins. It also has twice as many omega-3 fatty acids as regular beef. As far as flavor goes, this leaner beef has a slightly gamy taste. Because it has less intramuscular fat, it tends to eat a bit meatier than the corn-fed kind, too. Some people describe the texture as chewy, but it's all about how you cook it! Since it has less fat content, it tends to cook faster than regular beef and can easily overcook if you're not careful. We recommend letting grass- fed beef come to room temperature before cooking it to increase the chances of even cooking.

CORN-FED BEEF:

All cattle are started on grass as youngsters, but most of the industry finishes their beef on corn or grain. This quickly bulks the cattle up, increasing the fat to muscle ratio. While this type of diet adds a ton of flavor to your steaks, it's also sort of like feeding candy and cake to cattle; they'll eat their greens if they have to, but they also love filling up on junk food! Since these foods aren't typical feed for cattle, many feedlots end up using preventative antibiotics to keep the herd from getting sick. Most people love the flavor of corn-fed beef, with its buttery, slightly sweet flavor and a texture that most people describe as melt-in-your-mouth tender. It's also more forgiving to cook with its higher fat content. If you love the flavor of corn-fed beef but don't love the additives the cattle are given, look for beef labeled as antibiotic- and hormone- free. Whether you go grass-fed or corn-fed beef, the basic cooking principles apply. Salt it generously before cooking it, and always let your steak rest at least 15 minutes before slicing it.

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== Dry Aging Beef == Prime Rib == Your Eight USDA Beef Grades: (Prime -- Choice -- -- Select -- Standard -- Utility -- Commercial -- Cutter -- Canner) == == The Five USDA Beef Yields: (Yield 1 -- Yield 2 -- Yield 3 -- Yield 4 -- Yield 5) == == Beef Tenderloins == Kobe / Wagyu Beef == == Browning Meats == Corn Fed VS Grass Fed Beef ==
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JUMP To TOP           BEEF:          

Creating your own cuts of meat can save you a bundle; besides, YOU get to 100% control the fat content. ALL butcher cuts of beef can benefit greatly from being dry aged, from a common, inexpensive English cut roast all the way up to VERY expensive prime rib roasts and beef Tenderloins. Below are a few handy Factoids to aid you in purchasing & cooking your “perfect” beef selections for your family meals: dry aging beef, prime rib roasts, USDA beef grades, beef tenderloin roasts, Kobe / Wagyu beef, ground beef, Making your own homemade ground beef, corn- fed vs grass-fed beef.

JUMP To TOP           DRY AGING BEEF:

ALL beef is "wet aged" in one form or another. Primal (untrimmed) cuts are usually packed air-tight in very heavy Cryovac plastic bags by slaughter houses for shipping and storage for extended periods which "counts" only as wet-aging time.

The reasons to dry-age a quality piece of beef are MANY.

JUST DO IT - IT WILL BE WELL WORTH THE TRIP!!!!!!

Meat “spoils” because of two things, moisture AND bacteria. Thus, those pretty grocer sealed packages of meat on a foam tray are prime spoilage stations. Dry aging works because you physically pat the meat dry. The meat remains dry during the entire process because it is both refrigerated and NOT SEALED so moisture moves up to the surface and evaporates.

HOW TO DO IT!

Pat the untrimmed Roast dry with paper towels and place it bones down on a wire rack in a shallow pan with a paper towel in the bottom to catch any drippings (change the drippings towel DAILY). Set the pan uncovered in the bottom (coldest) shelf of a refrigerator for 4 to 10 days. Just prior to roasting, thinly shave off any pieces of exterior meat that have become completely dehydrated (REALLY funky looking - Dried areas are perfectly OK). A 6 pound roast will lose over 1/3 pound during this most important aging process.

The meat NEEDS to be kept at a pretty constant 38 degrees during the entire dry aging process.

If you have an extra refrigerator that is not opened very often - PLEASE USE IT, constantly opening and closing a modern refrigerator causes the air-removal and defrosting processes to kick on & off every time the door opens and closes. This causes large changes in internal temperatures - BAD FOR MOISTURE EVAPORATION AND DRY AGING.

If you absolutely CANNOT STAND the fact that there is an “exposed” piece of meat just sitting in your fridge, you can loosely wrap the meat in a triple layer of cheesecloth. However; DAILY, you must unwrap the cheesecloth, hang it up and let it dry for 1/2 hour (remember - MOISTURE allows bacteria to grow and WILL spoil the meat), Then re-wrap the meat in order to keep the cheesecloth from sticking and tearing apart the meat fibers too much when you remove it again. This piece of cheesecloth WILL get ugly before the process is completed, you get to choose what’s easier/uglier. Do NOT wash & dry it as you go.

JUMP To TOP           PRIME RIB: 

If you are going to spend this much money for a piece of meat, spend a little extra and get the best cut of beef you can find. A few unscrupulous Butchers label their roasts as “Prime Rib” even though the cut is actually a Choice or Select grade of beef. By LAW, the word Prime anywhere on the label means USDA PRIME.

Something called a Prime Rib Roast is the exact same cut as something called a Standing Rib Roast or a Rib Eye Roast if boneless with the only difference usually being the price, which depends ONLY upon your Butchers attitude towards you.

Coming from the primal rib cut on a beef cow - There are two per cow (one on each side).

The prime rib you will "normally" cook will contain 7 ribs. If it is cut into individual rib pieces and the rib bones removed, the cut then magically becomes a boneless Rib-Eye Steak, or a “Tomahawk Steak” if the long rib bone is simply stripped of meat and left attached.

Roasting the prime rib whole and slicing after cooking gives you a traditional prime rib dinner.

There are two different cuts for prime rib (unless you purchase a whole rib - 14 ribs).

1) THE FIRST CUT: Also called the loin end or small end, is the rear of the section of ribs and has leaner meat and smaller bones. This gives you more meat for your money. The meat and bones get larger as you move forward towards the front shoulder, as does the fat content.

This first cut is the cut you want to purchase – ASK your Butcher which cut it is.

2) THE SHOULDER CUT: This cut is from the front of the cut, or near the shoulder. It is the larger of the cuts with bigger sections of meat which translates into more sinew between the muscles. This cut also has more fat and larger bones. Since the price is usually the same, avoid this cut.

JUMP To TOP           USDA BEEF GRADES (STEERS, HEIFERS & COWS):      

The chart above shows the marbling used by the USDA to determine today’s commonly available beef grades. This chart ranges from the best flavored beef (moderately abundant) to the poorest flavored beef (slight). PRIME BEEF: Slightly abundant to moderate. CHOICE BEEF: Modest to small. SELECT BEEF: Slight to traces (not pictured). STANDARD BEEF: Practically devoid (not pictured). WAGYU BEEF: Abundant (not pictured) to moderately abundant. ALL cuts of beef are actually graded by the USDA, but they physically “inspect” ONLY a rib eye roast. The marbling of that single roast is used to determine the grade for ALL of the meat for that ENTIRE COW).

JUMP To TOP           YOUR EIGHT USDA BEEF CHOICES:

Meat retailers tend to attempt to glorify the meat they sell by giving theirs unique names (Black Angus, etc.) in order to convince their customers that theirs is better than anyone else's. Odds are extremely high that it isn’t. The USDA uses EIGHT meat quality grades and your butcher knows what grade is in the package - if it doesn’t say ASK! In most meat markets you will normally see the top 3 beef grades for sale in their cases:  Prime, Choice and Select. Lately, because of INFLATION, I am beginning to see the lower high-priced cuts (Steaks & Roasts) of Utility Grade availability at retail more and more often.

JUMP To TOP           1) PRIME: Or restaurant grade. Search diligently and get your wallet out - this is "THE ONE". Less than 2% of all beef sold in this country is USDA graded as prime. the minimum degree of marbling required is a minimum slightly abundant amount for carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the bullock class. The Ribeye muscle is moderately firm and, in carcasses having the maximum maturity for this class, the Ribeye is light red in color.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Prime grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Minimum quality characteristics are described for two maturity groups, which cover the entire range of maturity permitted in the Prime grade. Carcasses in the younger group, range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class to those at the juncture of the two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is light red in color and is fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum slightly abundant amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye muscle is moderately firm. Carcasses in the older group, range from those described above as representative of the juncture of the two groups to those at the maximum maturity permitted in the Prime grade, which have chine bones tinged with red and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that are partially ossified. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused, the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are completely ossified, and the cut surface of the lean tends to be fine in texture. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from minimum slightly abundant to maximum slightly abundant and the Ribeye muscle is firm. Beef produced from cows is not eligible for the Prime grade.

JUMP To TOP           2) CHOICE: While very OK, this grade is entirely acceptable if you absolutely cannot find prime as long as you dry age it. Around 50% of all beef sold in this country is USDA graded choice.  The minimum degree of marbling required is a minimum small amount for carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the bullock class. The Ribeye muscle may be slightly soft and, in carcasses having the maximum maturity for this class, the Ribeye is moderately light red in color.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Choice grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Minimum quality characteristics are described for two maturity groups, which cover the entire range of maturity permitted in the Choice grade. Carcasses in the younger group, range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class, to those at the juncture of the two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is moderately light red in color and is fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum small amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye muscle may be slightly soft. Carcasses in the older group range from those described above as representative of the juncture of the two groups, to those at the maximum maturity permitted in the Choice grade, which have chine bones tinged with red and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae are partially ossified. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused, the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are completely ossified, and the cut surface of the lean tends to be fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum modest amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye muscle is slightly firm

JUMP To TOP           3) SELECT: Pass Select grade by, it’s cheap for good reason. While prime and choice beef are nearly ALWAYS labeled as such, Select may or may not be labeled as to it’s grade AT ALL. If the package isn't labeled as either "prime" or "choice", it's a very high probability that it's therefore by default select grade. The minimum degree of marbling required is a minimum slight amount for carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the bullock class. The Ribeye muscle may be moderately soft and, in carcasses having the maximum maturity for this class, the Ribeye is slightly light red in color.

TECHNICAL: In carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the Select grade, the minimum marbling required is a minimum slight amount and the Ribeye may be moderately soft. Carcasses in the maturity group permitted range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class, to those at the juncture of the two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is slightly light red in color and is fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum slight amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye may be moderately soft.

JUMP To TOP           4) STANDARD: This CA 1800's grade is currently non- existent since today's cattle meat is not forced to "toughen up" on those long, hard western cattle drives to the railway’s any more. There was a standard “steak joke” in local restaurants in the middle 1800’s “It’s not great, it’s Longhorn”. The minimum degree of marbling required is a minimum practically devoid amount for carcasses throughout the range of maturity permitted in the bullock class. The Ribeye muscle may be soft and, in carcasses having the maximum maturity for this class, the Ribeye is slightly dark red in color.

Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the standard grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Minimum quality characteristics are described for two maturity groups which cover the entire range of maturity permitted in the Standard grade. carcasses in the younger group range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class to those at the juncture of the two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is slightly dark red in color and is fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, a minimum practically devoid amount of marbling is required and the Ribeye muscle may be soft. Carcasses in the older group range from those described above as representative of the juncture of the two groups to those at the maximum maturity permitted in the Standard grade, which have chine bones tinged with red and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that are partially ossified. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused, the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are completely ossified, and the cut surface of the lean is moderately fine in texture. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from minimum practically devoid to maximum practically devoid and the Ribeye muscle may be moderately soft.

JUMP To TOP           5) COMMERCIAL: Commercial grade beef carcasses are restricted to those with evidences of more advanced maturity than permitted in the Standard grade.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Commercial grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Minimum quality characteristics are described for the youngest and the most mature of these groups. The requirements for the intermediate group are determined by interpolation between the requirements indicated for the two groups described. Carcasses in the youngest group permitted in the Commercial grade range from those with indications of maturity barely more advanced than described as maximum for the Standard grade, to those with moderately hard, rather white chine bones and with cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that show considerable ossification but the outlines of the cartilages are still plainly visible. In addition, the rib bones are moderately wide and flat and the Ribeye muscle is moderately dark red and slightly coarse in texture. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from a minimum small amount to a maximum small amount and the Ribeye muscle is slightly firm. The youngest carcasses in the most mature group included in the Commercial grade have hard, white chine bones and the outlines of the cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae are barely visible, the rib bones are wide and flat, and the Ribeye muscle is dark red and coarse in texture. The range of maturity in this group extends to include carcasses from the oldest animals marketed. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from a minimum moderate amount to a maximum moderate amount and the Ribeye muscle is firm

JUMP To TOP           6) UTILITY: The Utility grade includes only those carcasses that do not meet the minimum requirements specified for the Standard grade.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Utility grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Carcasses within the full range of maturity classified as beef are included in the Utility grade. Thus, five maturity groups are recognized. Minimum quality requirements are described for three of these groups - - the first or youngest, the third or intermediate, and the fifth or the most mature. The requirements for the second and fourth maturity groups are determined by interpolation between the requirements described for their adjoining groups. Carcasses in the first or youngest maturity group range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class, to those at the juncture of the first two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is slightly dark red in color and fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, the Ribeye muscle is devoid of marbling and may be soft and slightly watery. Carcasses in the third or intermediate maturity group range from those with indications of maturity barely more advanced than described as maximum for the Standard grade, to those with moderately hard, rather white chine bones and with cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that show considerable ossification but the outlines of the cartilages are still plainly visible. In addition, the rib bones are moderately wide and flat and the Ribeye muscle is dark red in color and slightly coarse in texture. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from minimum practically devoid to maximum practically devoid and the Ribeye muscle may be moderately soft. The youngest carcasses in the fifth or oldest maturity group have hard, white chine bones, and the outlines of the cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae are barely visible, the rib bones are wide and flat, and the Ribeye muscle is very dark red in color and coarse in texture. The range in maturity in this group extends to include carcasses from the oldest animals produced. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from a minimum slight amount to a maximum slight amount and the Ribeye muscle is slightly firm.

JUMP To TOP           7) CUTTER: This grade is from older cattle with no marbling, and used for really cheap ground beef, processed meat products like hot dogs, even dog food.

TECHNICAL: Depending on their degree of maturity, beef carcasses possessing the minimum requirements for the Cutter grade vary in their other indications of quality as evidenced in the Ribeye muscle. Carcasses within the full range of maturity classified as beef are included in the Cutter grade. Thus, five maturity groups are recognized. Minimum quality requirements are described for three of these groups - - the first or youngest, the third or intermediate, and the fifth or the most mature. The requirements for the second and fourth maturity groups are determined by interpolation between the requirements described for their adjoining groups. Carcasses in the first or youngest maturity group range from the youngest that are eligible for the beef class to those at the juncture of the first two maturity groups, which have slightly red and slightly soft chine bones and cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that have some evidence of ossification. In addition, the sacral vertebrae are completely fused and the cartilages on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified. The rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat and the Ribeye muscle is slightly dark red in color and fine in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, the Ribeye muscle is devoid of marbling and may be very soft and watery. Carcasses in the third or intermediate maturity group range from those with indications of maturity barely more advanced than described as maximum for the Standard grade, to those with moderately hard, rather white chine bones and with cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae that show considerable ossification but the outlines of the cartilages are still plainly visible. In addition, the rib bones are moderately wide and flat and the Ribeye muscle is dark red in color and slightly coarse in texture. In carcasses throughout the range of maturity included in this group, the Ribeye muscle is devoid of marbling and may be soft and watery. Carcasses in the fifth or oldest maturity group have hard white chine bones and the outlines of the cartilages on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae are barely visible, the rib bones are wide and flat, and the Ribeye muscle is very dark red in color and coarse in texture. The range in maturity in this group extends to include carcasses from the oldest animals produced. The minimum degree of marbling required increases with advancing maturity throughout this group from minimum practically devoid to maximum practically devoid and the Ribeye muscle is soft and slightly watery.

JUMP To TOP           8) CANNER: This grade of beef is seldom, if ever, sold at retail but is used instead to make ground beef and processed products.

TECHNICAL: The Canner grade includes only those carcasses that are inferior to the minimum requirements specified for the Cutter grade.

JUMP To TOP           THE FIVE USDA BEEF YIELD GRADES:

The USDA also has 5 “Yield Grades” which determine the amounts of meat vs fat (flavor) within a certain weight of carcass, or it’s “Yield”. The higher the Yield Grade Number, the better the grade of meat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 1: A carcass in Yield Grade 1 usually has only a thin layer of external fat over the ribs, loins, rumps, and clods, and slight deposits of fat in the flanks and cod or udder. There is usually a very thin layer of fat over the outside of the rounds and over the tops of the shoulders and necks. Muscles are usually visible through the fat in many areas of the carcass. A 700-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 1 and 2, might have two-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 12.5 square inches of Ribeye, and 1.5 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat. A 1,100-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 1 and 2, might have four- tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 19.1 square inches of Ribeye, and 2.0 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 2: A carcass in Yield Grade 2 usually is nearly completely covered with fat but the lean is plainly visible through the fat over the outside of the rounds, the tops of the shoulders, and the necks. There usually is a slightly thin layer of fat over the loins, ribs, and inside rounds and the fat over the rumps, hips, and clods usually is slightly thick. There are usually small deposits of fat in the flanks and cod or udder.

A 700-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 2 and 3, might have five-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 12.3 square inches of Ribeye, and 2.5 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

A 1,100-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 2 and 3, might have six-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 18.1 square inches of Ribeye, and 3.0 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 3: A carcass in Yield Grade 3 usually is completely covered with fat and the lean usually is visible through the fat only on the necks and the lower part of the outside of the rounds. There usually is a slightly thick layer of fat over the loins, ribs, and inside rounds and the fat over the rumps, hips, and clods usually is moderately thick. There usually are slightly large deposits of fat in the flanks and cod or udder.

A 700-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 3 and 4, might have seven-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 11.0 square inches of Ribeye, and 3.0 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

 1,100-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 3 and 4, might have eight-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 16.9 square inches of Ribeye, 3.5 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 4: A carcass in Yield Grade 4 usually is completely covered with fat. The only muscles usually visible are those on the shanks and over the outside of the plates and flanks. There usually is a moderately thick layer of fat over the loins, ribs, and inside rounds and the fat over the rumps, hips, and clods usually is thick. There usually are large deposits of fat in the flanks and cod or udder.

A 700-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 4 and 5, might have nine-tenths inch of fat over the Ribeye, 9.8 square inches of Ribeye, and 3.5 percent of its carcass weight in kidney, pelvic, and heart fat.

A 1,100-pound carcass of this yield grade, which is near the borderline of Yield Grades 4 and 5, might have one inch of fat over the Ribeye, 15.6 square inches of Ribeye, and 4.0 percent of its weight in kidney, pelvic and heart fat.

JUMP To TOP           YIELD GRADE 5: A carcass in Yield Grade 5 usually has more fat on all of the various parts, a smaller area of Ribeye, and more kidney, pelvic, and heart fat than a carcass in Yield Grade 4

JUMP To TOP           BEEF TENDERLOINS:

While relatively low in flavor, but unbelievably tender. Again, if spending this much money, search for a prime grade roast. If you purchase a whole beef tenderloin, it will most likely come in a very heavy plastic bag (Cryovac) and be untrimmed. You need to "prepare" it properly before cooking. Trimming your own saves BIG $.

TRIMMING A TENDERLOIN: 

Remove the tapered tenderloin from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. Use your hands to pull off and discard any large pieces of loose fat. Some of the transparent membrane will also peel easily off. As you probe the tenderloin with your fingers you will discover that there is one main long muscle and a small sinewy, fatty piece that runs the length of the entire tenderloin. The fatty piece is called the chain and it is attached most securely at the head (the thicker end) of the tenderloin. Force your thumb down between the two muscles and slide it end to end to separate them as much as possible before beginning to cut. The chain has some meat, but it is mostly fat and sinew. Trimming away the visible fat and sinew and then slicing the chain very thin will make you the best Philly Cheese Steak you EVER had! To release the chain from the tenderloin, starting at the narrow end (the tail) and using the tip of your knife and make short, careful strokes between the chain and the tenderloin. Use your free hand to pull the chain away from the tenderloin as you cut. Until you reach the head, it should come away very easily. You should only be using your knife to cut through membrane and fat. When you reach the head, be careful about where you cut. The separation between the chain and the main tenderloin is not so apparent at the head end. Examine the head where the chain is attached and cut the chain away being careful not to cut too much into the good meat of the tenderloin. There will be a narrow flap of meat left alongside the head of the tenderloin that is not part of the chain. Flip the tenderloin over. Begin to cut away the thick chunks of fat by carefully sliding your knife along the length of the tenderloin (again, use knife strokes that run in the head to tail direction). There is generally a big chunk of fat under the head that should be pulled away. Doing so will create a bit of a flap, but that is normal. After scraping and slicing the most apparent fat away from the tenderloin, there will still be some fat that is visible, but removing it would involve digging into the meat, which is not something you want to do. Turn the filet back over and remove the most apparent fat from the top of the tenderloin. All that should be left to remove now is the long thick membrane that runs about two-thirds of the way down the tenderloin from the head. This membrane is called the silverskin. This silverskin MUST be removed. When it is subjected to the heat of the oven, sauté pan or grill, it shrinks and will cause the filet to curl. It is also tough and inedible. Because the silverskin is tough and sinewy it is fairly easy to remove Slide the tip of your knife under a portion of it, starting at the head end, and holding your knife at an angle so that it lightly scrapes the underside of the silverskin (your blade should NOT be angled in towards the meat), run the blade down the length of the filet, removing the silverskin in long thin strips. When the silverskin has been completely removed, look over the whole Tenderloin and remove any stray bits of fat, sinew and silverskin that remain on the surface. When you are done, you will have a cleaned whole filet. The usable meat can be cut into the center cut filet , the thin tail and the large and oddly- shaped head. I like to use the center cut filet (named a Chateaubriand Cut) for roasting whole. A roasted center cut filet produces beautiful, uniformly shaped slices that are perfect for serving at formal dinners. A 5 1/2 lb. tenderloin will yield roughly a 2 lb. center cut filet.

JUMP To TOP            KOBE / WAGYU BEEF:

Japanese bred and traditionally raised Kobe Beef comes from the Wagyu Beef Steer. True Kobe Beef is NOT available anywhere in the WORLD but in Japan if they tell you it’s Kobe Beef, THEY ARE LYING - Much like the most 'favored" types of Japanese grown Rice's are not available elsewhere. In the U.S.A., Japanese Black Wagyu cattle were crossbred with Black Angus cattle (1 Wagyu Bull and 20K Angus Cows equals an instant giant Wagyu Beef herd). This crossbreed has been named by a few as "American Style Kobe Beef". These Wagyu Steers are NOT raised in the traditional Japanese Kobe way, where they are massaged daily, fed special, “secret” blends of feed and slaughtered without stress (NO Adrenalin in the meat). Still, Wagyu is a VERY flavorful breed of Steer. This crossbreed is usually sold and served in this country under the true name of "Wagyu Beef". Sometimes, completely erroneously sold by different, unscrupulous wholesalers and restaurateurs, under the false "shortened" name of “Kobe Beef”. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with Wagyu Beef Meat - It is expensive, flavorful, tender, well marbled and well worth a celebration dinner with loved your ones. It is DIFFICULT to find in retail butcher shops and if you do find it, be prepared for sticker shock.

JUMP To TOP           BROWNING MEATS:

To effectively brown ANY meat which ends up giving you that much-sought after caramelized, flavorful exterior is NOT difficult to achieve. There are only three hard rules:

#1): Brown over medium high to high heat with as little added oil as possible.

#2): Do NOT crowd the meat in the pan, if necessary, do it in small batches.

#3): Wet meat will NEVER brown, Always pat the meat dry with paper towels before beginning to cook. Blood WILL brown, moisture WILL NOT!

You always want to brown meats that are NOT touching each other in the pan. Crowding the meat causes the meat to steam itself instead of braise itself. Steamed meats are ALWAYS an unappetizing gray color. Braised meats are always GB&D! “Golden Brown and Delicious” - not to mention creating that wonderful "fond" in the bottom of the pan, just WAITING for you to quickly transform it into a multitude of wonderful pan sauces and gravies. Now you know why your ground beef for chili & spaghetti always comes out gray instead of brown.

JUMP To TOP           CORN FED VS GRASS FED BEEF:

It used to be that a steak was a steak was a steak. Today, it's not that simple. A quick glance at the Butcher's counter will reveal all kinds of cuts you never knew about along with fancy breeds like Angus, Wagyu and Kobe. Then, just when you thought you came to a decision, suddenly you're faced with grass fed vs corn fed beef. Is there actually a difference between these two types of meat, other than the obvious price difference?

GRASS-FED BEEF:

Grass-fed beef is exactly what it sounds like: cattle that have grazed on grassy pastures THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. The first thing you'll notice about this type of beef is its price tag: at my local grocery store, the grass-fed Ribeye steak was just shy of $4 more per pound than the corn-fed Ribeye. Why is it so much more? Well, it takes longer for grass-fed cattle to reach their processing weight, and they weigh less without grain or corn to bulk up their diet. Raising beef this way is thought to be more sustainable, but it's also more expensive for the rancher. Are those extra dollars worth it? When it comes to nutrition, grass-fed beef is higher in key nutrients, including antioxidants and vitamins. It also has twice as many omega-3 fatty acids as regular beef. As far as flavor goes, this leaner beef has a slightly gamy taste. Because it has less intramuscular fat, it tends to eat a bit meatier than the corn-fed kind, too. Some people describe the texture as chewy, but it's all about how you cook it! Since it has less fat content, it tends to cook faster than regular beef and can easily overcook if you're not careful. We recommend letting grass-fed beef come to room temperature before cooking it to increase the chances of even cooking.

CORN-FED BEEF:

All cattle are started on grass as youngsters, but most of the industry finishes their beef on corn or grain. This quickly bulks the cattle up, increasing the fat to muscle ratio. While this type of diet adds a ton of flavor to your steaks, it's also sort of like feeding candy and cake to cattle; they'll eat their greens if they have to, but they also love filling up on junk food! Since these foods aren't typical feed for cattle, many feedlots end up using preventative antibiotics to keep the herd from getting sick. Most people love the flavor of corn-fed beef, with its buttery, slightly sweet flavor and a texture that most people describe as melt-in-your-mouth tender. It's also more forgiving to cook with its higher fat content. If you love the flavor of corn-fed beef but don't love the additives the cattle are given, look for beef labeled as antibiotic- and hormone-free. Whether you go grass-fed or corn-fed beef, the basic cooking principles apply. Salt it generously before cooking it, and always let your steak rest at least 15 minutes before slicing it.

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== Dry Aging Beef == Prime Rib == Your Eight USDA Beef Grades -- -- (Prime -- Choice -- Select -- Standard -- Utility -- Commercial -- -- Cutter -- Canner) == The Five USDA Beef Yields: (Grade 1 -- -- Grade 2 -- Grade 3 -- Grade 4 -- Grade 5) == Beef Tenderloins == == Kobe / Wagyu Beef == Browning Meats == == Corn Fed VS Grass Fed Beef ==
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