you with everything you need for delicious, nutritious and economical meals. To do that, we have started with some of the “beef basics” on this site, including a description of beef cuts and recommended preparation methods.
This is only the beginning, however. Where we really serve you best is in the stores, by having experienced, professional meat cutters on staff who are happy to help with any questions you have. Nutrition is important to everyone so we carry a wide variety of products that will satisfy your daily and weekly needs. And, finally, when you buy good, quality beef it will always be the most economical because you enjoy the maximum amount of flavor and tenderness with the least amount of waste.
There are 8 quality grades for beef, but the top three grades are the best known and most applicable for grocery shoppers. "Grade" refers to the amount of marbling (flecks of fat throughout the lean meat) and also the age of the animal. The higher the grade specified, the more tender, juicy and flavorful the meat should be.Prime - The highest grade in the U.S. meat grading system. Prime has the most marbling and is produced in limited quantities. Prime beef is most commonly sold in fine restaurants, specialty meat markets and is exported to upscale restaurants in foreign countries.
Choice - Choice has less marbling than Prime but more than Select. It is typically found in the service meat case at your local grocery store. At Super One Foods, U-Save and Woodland Marketplace Foods, we sell exclusively USDA Choice Black Angus beef.
Select - Select has the least amount of marbling of the top three grades, making it leaner but possibly less tender, juicy or flavorful than Prime or Choice. Select is most commonly found in the self-service meat cases of your local grocery stores -- but not at Super One, U-Save and Piggly Wiggly were we sell exclusively USDA Choice Black Angus beef.
Quality Grades are excellent keys in determining the eating satisfaction of middle meats - T-bones, ribeyes, tenderloin. The higher the grade, the higher the chance that the steak will be perfect. When it comes to end meats - the chuck and the round cuts - quality grade is not as meaningful. In other words, purchasing a Select brisket generally will provide as much eating satisfaction as a Choice brisket if both are cooked the right way. That's because proper cooking methods can equalize these end meats regardless of quality grade. This tip means you can buy Select roasts, briskets, and round steaks and get great eating satisfaction at lower costs simply by knowing how to prepare them properly.
Do´s and Don´ts to Safely Prepare MeatDO:
- Wash hands, surfaces, cutting boards and towels often with hot soapy water.
- Defrost food in the refrigerator or in the microwave.
- Separate raw meat products from ready-to-eat and perishable foods.
- Marinate foods in the refrigerator.
- Use a clean instant-read thermometer to accurately measure proper doneness of meat and poultry.
- Place the instant-read thermometer at the thickest part of a roast or horizontally into steaks and burgers.
- Ensure the instant-read thermometer reads at least 160F when cooking ground beef.
- Make certain the instant-read thermometer reaches at least 145F when cooking steak and roasts.
- Reheat leftovers to at least 160F or until boiling, if appropriate.
- Refrigerate foods quickly, at least within two hours or sooner in warm weather.
- Cross-contaminate. Use separate plates for raw, cooked and ready-to-eat foods.
- Defrost food at room temperature.
- Let the instant-read thermometer touch bone or rest on or touch the cooking pan.
- Cool leftovers on the kitchen counter.
- Leave an instant-read thermometer in food while it is being cooked.
At Home StorageLike all perishable foods, beef must be handled and stored properly to avoid spoilage and foodborne illness. Follow these food-safe practices:
- Refrigerate or freeze beef as soon after purchasing as possible. (If it will take longer than 30 minutes to get it home, keep it cold in a cooler in your car.)
- If refrigerating beef, place it in the meat compartment or in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
- If purchased beef is wrapped in transparent film, it can be refrigerated without re-wrapping. It can also be frozen up to 2 weeks without rewrapping. For longer freezer storage, to prevent freezer burn, repackage in heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper or plastic freezer bags, removing as much air as possible.
- Label and date frozen beef packages, including weight and/or number of servings. Practice the FIFO inventory system – first in, first out.
- Do not defrost frozen beef at room temperature. Defrost frozen beef in the refrigerator, to prevent bacterial growth. Place package on a tray to catch any drippings and place in refrigerator the day before it is needed.
- Allow about 24 hours to defrost a 1 to 1-1/2-inch thick package of ground beef or beef pieces.
- Allow 12 hours to defrost 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick patties.
- Allow 12 to 24 hours to defrost steaks, depending on thickness.
- Allow 4 to 7 hours per pound to defrost large oven roasts or thick compact pot roasts.
- Allow 3 to 5 hours per pound to defrost small oven roasts or thin pot roasts.
- Cook ground beef as soon as possible after defrosting.
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly after serving, within 2 hours after cooking. To speed up the chilling, divide large quantities into smaller portions or spread food out in shallow container.
Remember that ground beef, beef for stir-fry, beef for stew and beef for kabobs are more perishable than whole muscle cuts (roasts and steaks). During the grinding process for ground beef, any bacteria on the surface are mixed throughout. Cutting into strips or cubes creates more exposed surface area for bacteria to grow on. Both processes result in shorter shelf life. The chart below lists recommended storage times for preservation of wholesomeness and quality in beef.
|Type of Beef||Refrigerator|
(35° to 40°F)
(0°F or colder)
|Fresh Beef||Steaks, Roasts, Pot Roasts||3 to 4 days||6 to 12 months|
|Beef for Kabobs, Beef for Stew,|
Beef for Stir-Fry
|2 to 3 days||6 to 12 months|
|Ground Beef||1 to 2 days||3 to 4 months|
|Leftover Beef||All||3 to 4 days||2 to 3 months|
|Cured, Smoked and|
|Corned Beef, ready to cook||1 week||2 weeks|
|Frankfurters, Deli Products||3 to 5 days||1 to 2 months|
|Smoked Sausage, Dry and Semi-Dry||1 week||no|
|Sausage, unsliced||2 to 3 weeks||no|