USDA Grading

raw meat stock yards

Learn how to shop for the best quality steaks using official USDA standards.

–          USDA Prime

–          USDA Choice

–          USDA Select

Always look for this grading when buying premium meat.  If you don’t see an official USDA certified stamp on your delivery, and one of these grades, then it’s likely not top quality meat.

You will always find a certified USDA stamp of approval on our gifts and the Stock Yards difference is that we only sell the very best grades of meat: USDA Prime and Choice.

From there, all of our meat is hand-trimmed by our master butchers and then expertly wet-aged for tenderness and flavor. While steaks of this quality are usually sold only to restaurants and steakhouses, Stock Yards is one of the very few providers who can deliver them directly to you. We take pride in applying the same high standards to your personal orders and gifts, which we do to our leading restaurants and resorts.

USDA Prime

Only the top 2% of all beef produced in the U.S. qualifies for the USDA Prime grade. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspects meat and provides grades; Prime being the highest, then Choice, Select, and Other graded (which is of lower quality). The USDA provides its shield of authenticity that beef meets certain standards by an inspection system used to determine the quality. Two major criteria used are Marbling and Maturity. Marbling refers to the amount of “fat specs” within the muscle of the animal that determines the tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of the meat. Younger beef tends to have the highest ratios of marbling and therefore better flavor and texture. Prime will have a higher concentration of marbling than other grades of beef.

USDA Choice

This is the most popular grade of beef for its well-marbled texture and buttery-rich flavor, giving it an exquisite tenderness and taste. Just over 50% of the beef graded each year earns a grade of Choice. It is the second highest grade given to beef by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) after inspection for marbling and maturity. USDA Choice has less fat marbling than USDA Prime. Because of its marbling ratio, USDA Choice will generally be less tender than Prime but will still maintain many of the great qualities found like a juicy, rich-buttery flavor. Quality Choice steak is cut from the loin and rib areas of the beef, and we only choose the highest quality USDA Choice available.

We care about the quality of our products because you care. Enjoy the taste of perfection.


Categories: Meat Guide


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