Is Angus Beef Better Than Choice

What is Angus Beef?

Cattle of the Angus breed are well-known for their marbling, consistency, and juicy flavors. Although it frequently and easily fits into one of the top USDA classifications, Angus is a breed and not a type of meat or standard set by a third party. It’s something you should take into account in addition to the USDA classification rather than choosing a specific grade, such as USDA Prime.

How Do You Know Which Beef to Choose?

Finding a high-quality beef product only requires a little research on your part. Knowing the USDA beef classifications and the distinctions between the various varieties is a good place to start. Additionally, research beef brands and take into account their handling and feeding procedures.

At Aspen Ridge, we’re dedicated to producing USDA Prime and Choice-quality Angus beef. Because of this, the Angus genetics in our cattle can be independently verified, as can their age and source. Our cattle have plenty of space to roam around, and our ranchers adhere to tight feeding and handling guidelines. And, all of our products carry the Certified Humane designation.

The result? A truly natural product that provides unprecedented flavor.

Branded Beef

Due to the shortcomings of the USDA system—namely, that it does not distinguish between breeds, ages, diets, or methods of raising beef for consumers, or break out the amount of marbling within its grades—the private sector has stepped in to fill the informational gap and make it much simpler for consumers to identify and buy higher-quality beef.

Renowned Chicago steakhouse Gibsons is the first and only establishment in the nation to offer its own private-label Prime beef. It was created using a system known by the USDA as the Schedule G Certified Beef Program, in which a business develops its own grading standards, which are typically more exacting than the USDA’s requirements for a given grade, and then pays the USDA to verify and certify those standards. The takeaway is that there are two types of USDA Prime available: Gibson’s USDA Prime and USDA Prime, which the steakhouse says is superior. (Gibsons also has a private-label program for Choice beef. ).

“Not every Prime is made equal,” says Dan Huebschmann, chef at Gibsons. “The USDA doesnt regulate feed or regional specificity. Only carefully chosen farms in the Midwest provide our meat, and they raise, feed, and process it in accordance with the guidelines outlined in our certification. Our specifications for feed and its origin are extremely precise. Finding Prime is insufficient because there is commodity Prime and establishments like Holstein that process anything without utilizing Angus. Although the USDA’s GLA Anus certification is 551 percent black, ours requires 905 percent “.

Schedule GLA, the legal requirements for what producers can label Angus beef, is referred to as “GLA.” Descended from Scottish Aberdeen Angus, Angus is a highly sought-after breed of beef cattle that is more productive, better-marbled, and tastier than most other breeds. However, there is now very little pure Aberdeen Angus available; instead, most Angus is derived from hybrids. Since pure Angus cattle are typically black, the USDA bases its labeling qualifications on color rather than genetics. Gibson’s more stringent requirements stem from the belief held by Angus enthusiasts such as Huebschmann that black is better. Other physical requirements for acceptable cattle, like “no hump exceeding two inches in height,” are included in Schedule G-125, the guidelines that govern Gibsons Angus Beef (both Prime and Choice). These requirements are specifically meant to isolate Angus genetics and avoid dairy cattle and other breeds. Because hybrid Angus beef is so common in the US, standards like Gibsons aim to identify “purer” cattle that have higher Angus genetic content.

Is Angus Beef Better Than Choice

With particular standards intended to keep out undesirable non-Angus breeds, Gibson’s requirements largely mirror those of Certified Angus Beef, or CAB, which established the first private-label Certified Beef Program (and essentially invented the category) forty years ago. CAB also implemented age restrictions to guarantee older, more flavorful meat. Despite being designed initially for Choice beef, CABs and a few other purveyors now offer a Prime version of their branded product. Branded goods are frequently a customer’s best option for the best quality in both grades. According to Faison, “Otherwise, unless it’s in a branded program like Certified Angus Beef Prime, where you get older and more flavorful animals, the consumer can’t know anything more when they see Prime.” The differences can be dramatic. “.

The emergence of branded, private beef initiatives has prompted Smith It now purchases meat from the 70,000-acre Double R Ranch in Loomis, Washington, for its best-selling cuts. We’ll be running a single-source beef program for three years, and consistency is the most important thing to us. Every processor has some excellent meat as well as some inferior meat. These days, everything comes from a single location with the same feed, climate, and processing facility, according to King.

Private branded beef programs like Double R for Smith and CAB, Gibsons, Sterling Silver, Niman Ranch, Creekstone Farms, Allen Brothers, Seminole Pride, and dozens more can produce more consistently high-quality beef thanks to the standards they set. Some initiatives or brands, such as CAB’s “Natural” label and Niman Ranch, also include drug-free and natural farming methods in their standards.

However, even though improved consistency in quality is a positive thing, customers are still unable to effectively differentiate between the three marbling scores offered by Prime. There is so little “high Prime” that none of these brands have raised the standards for marbling in their Prime beef. The Choice grade, however, is a very different story.