Angus vs Prime: 3+ Key Differences You Should Know

Discover How Breed and Grading Impact Your Wallet: The True Cost Breakdown of Angus and Prime Beef.

angus vs prime Angus vs Prime: 3+ Key Differences You Should Know

Short version – Angus beef is from the Angus breed of cattle, while prime beef is a grade of beef awarded by the USDA.

Beef is the second highest consumed meat in the United States. Coming in second after chicken, Americans eat a lot of beef! The United States is the largest beef producer in the world, followed by China and Brazil. This beef-loving country produces 21% of the world’s beef production.

Beef is easy to come by in the United States, but it does get trickier when you get picky about your beef. Restaurateurs want the best beef on the market. Knowing what breed of cattle produces the best beef and understanding the grading scale allows barbecuers and restaurateurs to get the best beef on the market.

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Breed

Angus Cow

Angus beef is meat from the Angus cattle breed. Angus cattle are known for their quality meat with intramuscular marbling. This marbling develops a delicious flavor when the beef is roasted, grilled, or baked.

Angus cattle draws its origins from Scotland. Kincardine, Angus, Banff, and Aberdeen counties have favorable climates for growing good crops and pastures. Green grass and high grain production are the ideal temperaments for quality cattle.

The Angus breed came from this northeastern region of Scotland in 1873 by George Grant. Grant transported four Angus bulls from Scotland to the middle of Kansas prairies, where the Scotsman became a wealthy stockman.

There are two kinds of Angus: black Angus and red Angus. Black Angus beef has dominated the beef scene in the United States for years.

Cattle sell for a premium when they have a black coat because of black Angus. In reality, red Angus is identical to black Angus, outside of their coat color. Red Angus beef has the same marbling and flavor that black Angus has. 

Other breeds of cattle that produce high-quality steak are Wagyu and Kobe. One ounce of Kobe beef sells for $50 in the United States. The reason Kobe beef is so expensive is that it is rare to find. Kobe beef is raised in a specific area of Japan, whereas Japanese Wagyu is more widely produced.

Grading

USDA Steak Grades Angus vs Prime: 3+ Key Differences You Should Know

Angus is a breed of cattle, while Prime is a grading of beef by the USDA. The USDA is the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA provides leadership for agriculture, food, natural resources, nutrition, rural development, and related issues based on the best available science and effective management.

The United States Department of Agriculture grades the quality of beef on two different criteria. The degree of intramuscular fat (or marbling) of the beef, and the age or maturity of the cattle at the time of slaughter. Both of these things determine the flavor and quality of the beef.

The USDA has three levels of grading beef. USDA Select, USDA Choice, and USDA Prime are the three categories for beef. USDA Select beef is the lowest grade of beef. It has low marbling and lacks the texture and flavor of higher-quality beef.

USDA Choice beef is the middle-grade beef in the United States. There are large variations in USDA Choice beef, with some cuts more like USDA Select and some more like USDA Prime beef. It is the most common classification for beef.

USDA Prime beef is the highest rating for beef by the USDA. Prime beef has the highest degree of marbling. Less than 2% of the beef in the United States is labeled Prime beef. It is served at high-end restaurants and steakhouses. The high level of marbling delivers the best flavor. 

Prime Rib vs. Angus

Some people get confused between prime rib, prime beef, and Angus beef. These three things are all classifying something different. Prime rib is a cut of beef that can come from any breed of cattle and can have any USDA beef grading.

Prime beef is the grade level awarded by the USDA. Angus is a breed of cattle that produces high-quality beef. It is hard to compare these three things because they all talk about something different.

It is possible to have a cut of prime rib from an Angus cow that is rated prime beef! This would be a very expensive cut of meat. Prime rib is one of the most expensive cuts of beef on the market. Filet mignon is the most expensive cut of beef, with the ribeye steak and prime rib close behind.

Prime rib is cut from the primal rib section between ribs 6 and 12. The section of meat is known for its tender texture and high marbling. Be aware that not all prime ribs will score in the USDA prime beef section. It is important to keep these terms straight. 

Is Angus Choice better than Prime?

No, Angus choice is not better than Prime beef. USDA Choice beef is high-quality meat, but USDA Choice beef is lower grade than USDA Prime beef. Angus cattle produce high-quality meat, but not all of it will make the cut as USDA Prime beef. 

Is certified Angus beef the same as prime beef?

No, certified Angus beef is not the same as Prime. The term Angus beef refers to the breed of cattle the beef came from. It is high-quality beef, but scores in the USDA Select and USDA Choice categories, as well as USDA Prime. It is possible to have certified Angus beef which is USDA prime beef.

Which is better, prime rib or Angus beef?

You cannot compare prime rib and Angus beef. Prime rib is a cut of beef while Angus beef is beef from the Angus breed of cattle. Angus beef is high-quality beef. The prime rib cut from Angus cattle will be very high quality.

Is Angus brisket better than prime?

Brisket is a cut of beef from the breast area of the cow. Brisket is one of the best cuts of meat to cook slowly at a low temperature. When cooked correctly, brisket is unbeatable in tenderness and flavor. A brisket can be graded as USDA Select, USDA Choice, or USDA Prime. 

More FAQs

What’s the most expensive cut of beef?

The most expensive cut of beef is typically the Japanese Kobe steak, known for its exceptional marbling that is widely regarded as the finest in the world. Due to rigorous grading procedures and a limited supply of only 3,000 cattle meeting the criteria each year, authentic Kobe beef is considered a costly choice.

Why is Angus beef so popular?

Angus beef is popular because of its smaller size, which is advantageous in cooler climates and leads to a more compact beef carcass with higher proportions of choice and prime cuts compared to other breeds. The meat’s popularity stems from its excellent fat marbling qualities, as it is the superior marbling that gives Black Angus beef its remarkable flavor, tenderness, and juiciness.

Is Prime beef worth it?

Prime beef is definitely worth it. It is renowned for being the highest quality meat available, known for its exceptional tenderness and rich flavor. However, it can be quite challenging to come across as it is typically reserved for upscale dining establishments.

What is the most expensive cut of meat?

The most expensive cut of meat is typically regarded as the Japanese Kobe steak, renowned for its exceptional marbling that is widely acknowledged as the finest in the world.

What is better than Angus beef?

Angus beef is highly regarded in the USA, but there is one cattle breed that surpasses its popularity – Wagyu. Originally from Japan, Wagyu cattle produce beef that is incredibly marbled and considered a delicacy. Our in-depth examination of Wagyu beef reveals that it consists of four sub-breeds: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Polled.

Is Angus beef tougher?

Angus beef is not tougher. In fact, Angus cattle are renowned for their exceptional marbling ability, which ensures that the fat is evenly distributed within the muscle. As a result, Angus beef is juicier and more flavorful. Moreover, the higher protein content in Angus beef contributes to its remarkable tenderness.

What is the difference between prime Angus and choice Angus?

The difference between prime Angus and choice Angus is that prime roasts and steaks are ideal for dry-heat cooking methods like broiling, roasting, or grilling, while choice beef, although still of high quality, has less marbling than prime. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib are exceptionally tender, juicy, and flavorful, making them well-suited for dry-heat cooking.

Why is Angus beef more expensive?

Angus beef is more expensive due to its high quality and strict standards for marbling and texture. The price of Certified Angus Beef may vary among retailers, but it is generally higher than other types of beef. However, you can often find discounts or sales on Certified Angus Beef at your local grocery store or butcher shop.

Which is better Angus choice or prime brisket?

Angus choice and prime brisket are both excellent options, but when it comes to tenderness, prime brisket takes the lead. Prime briskets have a higher fat marbling content, making them more tender and flavorful. Additionally, prime briskets are often sourced from younger cattle, further contributing to their tenderness. However, it is worth noting that USDA-certified Angus beef briskets are also of high quality and offer a delicious dining experience.

What does prime mean in beef?

Prime in beef refers to the highest grade that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assigns to meat. USDA prime steak is renowned for its juiciness, flavor, and tenderness. It is distinguished by its abundant marbling and is typically sourced from younger cattle.

Is Angus beef more expensive?

Angus beef tends to be more expensive compared to other types of beef due to its high quality and strict standards for marbling and texture. However, the price of Certified Angus Beef can vary among different retailers. It is worth noting that you may often come across discounts or sales on Certified Angus Beef at your local grocery store or butcher shop.

Does Angus beef taste different?

Angus beef does taste different due to the strict diet of grains and hay that the cattle are fed. This specialized diet ensures they receive all the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal growth and health, resulting in a more robust flavor profile compared to other types of beef available on the market today.

What are the different grades of beef?

The different grades of beef include prime, choice, select, standard, commercial, utility, cutter, and canner. However, it is important to note that only the first three grades are considered significant. While all beef undergoes USDA inspection for safety, not all of them are evaluated for their quality.

Is the Black Angus worth it?

The Black Angus is definitely worth it. Certified Angus Beef provides exceptional value with its outstanding marbling and flavor. The beef’s high-grade quality ensures less shrinkage during cooking, allowing you to stretch a pound even further and make your meals last longer.

What are the grades of meat from highest to lowest?

The grades of meat from highest to lowest are Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner. These quality grades have been utilized by the beef industry since 1927 and are recognized by consumers. The first three grades, Prime, Choice, and Select, are widely known and considered as food-grade labels by the USDA.

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