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What's wrong with LOWER grade meat?


General Discussion 31

What's wrong with LOWER grade meat?

kerosundae | Jan 30, 2010 11:56 AM

I've been baffled by this for a long time and can't seem to find a solid answer anywhere, so I hope some hounds can enlighten me: I can't figure out why lower USDA graded beef is bad!

The way I understand it, USDA grade refers to the amount of intramuscular fat (aka marbling), the more fat, the higher the grade, with 11%+ of fat in Prime and 2.5%- in Standard (below Select!)
(see chart here: so MORE FAT=BETTER.

Well, what if I don't like fat? I personally can't stand Kobe beef, blekh! it feels too filmy in the mouth because of all the heavy marbling; I would much prefer a tenderloin or even a much less tender round cut (which I can still make very tender when i have the patience.) Isn't the USDA grading more of a personal choice-reference then? (i.e. steer away from Prime if you don't like fatty-buttery meet)?

What is even more confusing to me is all the praises/marketing ploys sung about the grass-fed beef containing less fat, so now LESS FAT=BETTER?

I just remembered another thing: when you buy ground beef, 75% lean is always many times cheaper than 97% lean. so again, LESS FAT = BETTER.

I guess I mostly wanted to point out the contradicting ways meat is marketed to consumers, but I do have one concern and I hope people know more about this subject: what is so bad about lower-grade meat other than the lack of fat (which to me is a good thing)?

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