How does the USDA grading system work?
ANSWER – There are two parts to the USDA grading system. The first is called quality grading. It shows the degree of marbling fat of the meat. Marbling is the thin white traces of fat found in the red muscle parts of the meat. The grades of marbling are USDA Select, Choice and Prime. Select is the leanest and Prime has the most fat. Today, consumer surveys show that 70% prefer the Select grade. The second type of grading is called yield grading which measures the ratio of red meat to fat. It is an indicator of back fat, rib eye area, kidney, pelvic and heart fat as well as carcass weight. Yield grades are 1 through 5. Yield Grade 1 has the most red meat and the least amount of fat. Only 5% of all cattle make Yield Grade 1 (YG1). At Maverick Ranch, 99% of the cattle we use in our beef program are YG1 and YG2. This beef specification is the foundation of our amazing nutritional values.