From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Suspected case of Mad Cow Disease in WA State
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 04:23:11 -0500
On 25 Dec 2003 22:03:56 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Janet Wilder) wrote:
>Has anyone else noticed that it is getting harder and harder to find *choice*
>grade beef in the supermarkets? Most of the stuff I've been seeing is *select*
>grade. The choice stuff is now labled "Angus" or something a lot more pricy.
Yup. Catering to that class which "draws" each month. What annoys me is that
"choice" covers a huge range and is further divided at the wholesale level
into "high choice" and "low choice". High choice ribeye is almost
indistinguishable from prime. Low choice is barely distinguishable from
select or lower. Meat grading is very subjective. I serve Prime grade steaks
in my restaurant and have learned that I have to be VERY careful about the
source of my prime meat. The IBP brand is the red label wrapper is very good.
So is the beef sold by Allen Brothers out of Chicago.
There's been so much hysteria about the bad effects of red meat that much of
the marbling had been bred out of the mainline production breeds. Only
special herds of Black Angus bred for the purpose now supply the prime and
high choice in the US. The supply of prime is very limited and sometimes I
just flat can't get it. I substitute high choice (and tell the customers, of
course). I really can't tell the difference other than a side-by-side
comparison and sometimes not even then.
BTW, if you've never had a properly aged Prime grade steak, you really ought
to seek one out. It's a steak experience unlike anything else. You do have
to be careful, though. I've had some pretty bad meat served up as USDA Prime
at Prime prices. Ruth's Chris does a pretty good job. So do I :-) In fact,
I've spoiled myself for eating steak in any other restaurant.