What’s the most expensive cut of beef? Is it a Ribeye? Filet? Brisket? Something else? There are three main reasons why some cuts are more expensive than others.
What’s the most expensive cut of beef? Is it a Ribeye? Filet? Brisket? Something else?
It’s true that some cuts are more expensive than others. There are three main reasons why:
- Supply and demand
- Tenderness of beef
- Marbling of beef
Supply and demand: The best cuts of beef all come from the same area
The prime cuts of beef that most people desire – like Ribeye, Tenderloin, and T-Bone – only make up about 8% of the entire animal. The rest of the carcass is made up of ground beef, roasts, stew meat, bones, etc.
It’s important to note that these high demand cuts all come from the same area on the animal (more on that later), and they can be divided up in a variety of ways.
For example, a T-bone, can be divided up as both a tenderloin and a strip. That means the butcher has to choose how they’re going to cut it, and they’ll most like choose whatever they know will sell best in their region.
Tenderness of beef
Tenderness of beef is directly attributed to how much the animal’s muscle was worked. The most tender cuts of beef are the ones farthest from the horn and hoof. And the most tender area of all can be found beneath the steer’s ribs and next to the backbone.
As its name implies, the tenderloin is the most tender cut of beef. It’s also known as a filet. It’s the most expensive cut there is because of its tenderness. However, it’s also very lean and doesn’t have any marbling and beefy flavor that other high-end cuts have. That’s why the tenderloin is often served with a sauce to compliment the steak.
Marbling of beef
Beef marbling runs throughout the muscle fibers of beef and is small flecks of fat. It sometimes looks like fine white “lines” running through a steak.
Marbling is what gives beef its flavor and tenderness. It’s also one of the ways that beef gets its USDA grade of Prime, Choice or Select.
The USDA Beef Grades – Prime, Choice, and Select – have a direct correlation to beef marbling. The steaks with the highest grades are those with the highest amount of marbling.
When ranking beef from the most marbling to least, Prime has the most marbling interspersed throughout. Next, there’s Choice with less marbling than Prime. Lastly, is Select with the least marbling of all.
When the USDA is grading beef, they specifically look at amount of marbling in the ribeye muscle between the 12th and 13th ribs. Based on that one location of the cow, they can then determine if the beef in the entire cow is Prime, Choice or Select.
The most expensive cut of beef?
The most expensive cuts of beef are always from the center of the steer, which is the loin and rib section. The reason for this is because beef gets more tender as the distance from horn and hoof increases.
Expensive cuts of beef from this area of the steer are the Tenderloin (Filet), Ribeye Steak, T-bone and/or Porterhouse Steak, and Strip Steak.
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