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Grade vs. Cost?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have not seen this discussed. Bear with me if it has.
I have trouble justifying an extra $2 a pound for "Choice" over "Select". How does everyone feel about the extra cost?
I know how the grade system works and understand the value of marbleing.
That being said, when you go all out and buy the "good" stuff, is it that much better then the "cheap stuff?
Or through your talents as Q'ers is it a wash?
post #2 of 13
I dont buy anything graded below "choice", and really like to get "prime" when I can, and sometime splurge, and get dry aged beef.

I can tell the difference. I dont smoke, or bbq my prime or above steaks. I grill them to be barely rare. I can really taste the difference, in the higher cuts of meat.
post #3 of 13
I also take into consideration the cooking method. If I am high heat grilling, I am more willing to spend a bit more for a "better quality" piece of meat. Since the meat won't be on the heat very long you will need it to already be a fairly tender cut with marbelling.

But smoking low & slow is all about taking what somebody considered a low quality piece of meat and letting heat & time work their magic to turn it into something yummy! As anybody can attest - undercooked brisket is a great chewing exercise... lol.... but give it 12 hours of low and slow and you got a whole differant story. biggrin.gif
post #4 of 13
My opinion is : it depends what your making, how your cooking it and are you adding anything to so call enhance the flavor or eating it with just salt and pepper. Just salt and pepper than the better the better if you know what I mean. No sense in using premium meat for stew, that is unless it's on sale.biggrin.gif
post #5 of 13
If buying a steak or roast (cooking med/rare) I go choice, select is a noticeably tougher cut. I buy most meat at the wholesale clubs were the cost of choice is less than buying select at supermarkets.
post #6 of 13
Here in middle America, the price spreads are often too small to really matter between Sel and Ch IMO, so I go with Ch. Lately with Pr getting into more retail outlets due to less restaurant demand, I have gone Pr on some ribeyes and strip loins if the price is reasonable. I have also found that I can cooler sort to find some Ch that is labelled Se to get a price break. But grade isn't my only factor, color and purge are two bigger factors in my decision making process.

Grade aside, I've still managed to get some terrible stuff no matter the grade because grade doesn't do anything to eliminate a tough piece of shoe leather.
post #7 of 13
Very good question!

Personally if I am smoking or barbecuing a piece of meat low and slow, it doesn't matter the grade, because it is a tough cut to begin with. That's the whole idea behind barbecue- to turn a tough hung of meat into something savor.

With that said, if I'm going to grill it, meaning direct high heat, then the better the cut, the better the result. As someone before me pointed out, here in the midwest the price spread isn't nearly anything near yours, and "choice" is about the lowest grade available at the grocery store.
post #8 of 13
I try to get prime only when I buy my prime/rib eye roast and I cut my own steaks. But sometimes we deal with choice. My advise is to get to know your butcher and you'll get what you want. The one I use will let me back to where the meat is kept and I can pick out my own meat. You know the old saying "if it's good praise the cook and if it's bad blame the butcher"
post #9 of 13
great advise, if you have a local or not local butcher get to know them, they will appreciate your business, and the fact that you dont go up the road to Wal-Mart, Sams, or Costco. Plus they are professional butchers.

Mine cuts to order, not by weight, but by how thick I want em'. Also if I go in near closing time on a saturday, they have a few beers(their beers) in back with me, and other customers.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Good stuff everyone.
I agree with the group.
Here is the deal with the question.
My wife and I went to the Restaurant Depot for some meat for my Father-in-laws wake. He passed away Tuesday. He fought the good fight and he is at peace.
Back to the reason. So, we are in the cooler freezing in our summer clothes and I pick up a 13# boneless loin roast. The new york strip cut comes from this roast. She is rushing me and we are both freezing. I grab a choice one its $7 a pound. She points to the select area and proclaims it is only $5. We grab it and run for the room temp air behind the plastic curtain.
I figure I am cooking it on the UDS over mesquit and all will be good. It will be sliced thin for sammies on Monday.
I think the crowd will be happy with the results. But I got to thinking about the more discrimenating crowd, me and my Q'en buddies. Will anybody know? Or will I be disappointed and everyone else polite?
So, thats the driver on the question. I agree low and slow does beautiful things to the tough part of a steer.
I'll post the Q-view and the crowd responce to my efforts.
post #11 of 13
Nobody will know if sliced thin. Heck you could even used a cheaper piec for sammies.

Also I have bought and picked over selects and found some good ones, it's all in the marbeling and white fat not yellow.
post #12 of 13


Ron i am not a butcher and didn't stay at a holliday inn last night.
White fat vs yellow fat? More info ,Please.
post #13 of 13

Maybe this will help. I was taught this by a meat guy years ago. There are other thoughts also on the internet.
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