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    Beef Grading From Yesterday to Tomorrow

    Source: Natalie Jones, Certified Angus Beef Brand

    When you enjoy a great steak, it’s largely because of those little flecks of intramuscular fat (IMF).

    “Marbling is like butter in the pan of potatoes,” said Dale Woerner, Texas Tech meat scientist addressing the recent Feeding Quality Forum in Amarillo. “The more marbling in the beef, the more flavor and performance we get.”

    He reviewed the history of USDA beef grades, Prime, Choice, Select and Standard, wherein a combination of marbling and maturity determine quality grade. The measure of maturity has evolved from a study of chine bone ossification to dentition in 2017, with somewhat greater accuracy in the prediction of eating quality.

    The U.S produced a fair amount of Choice and Prime 50 years ago but in the 1990s, dietary consensus may have moved demand toward leaner beef.

    “Fortunately for all of us, the times have changed,” Woerner said. We have research that supports fat as part of a healthy diet and consumers demanding high-quality beef. So what we have seen in the last 20 to 25 years is a rebound of grade because of increased emphasis on genetics, Angus genetics perhaps.”