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Choice vs. Select Beef: What’s the difference?

Randy Perkins


Jan 18th, 2016

What the beef

You’re at the grocery store and it’s time to grab some meat for tonight’s dinner plans. You walk up to the meat department with a plethora of choices in front of you. As you browse over a few different beef options, you notice words such as “Choice” or “Select” on the packaging. What does this mean? It must be the same thing, right? It’s just a couple of fancy words, and all of the choices look delicious. 

Beef is graded based on taste, tenderness and safety. The overall quality is determined based on two prominent factors – the amount and dispersion of marbling and the age of the steer. Marbling is the amount of fat specs throughout the lean portions. This also determines the levels of juiciness and flavor, while the age of the meat is responsible for firmness, texture and color.

Read below about the difference between “Choice” and “Select,” so you can shop smarter.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), beef grades are described as the following:

Choice beef is high quality and contains more marbling than Select. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy and flavorful. Choice beef is well suited for broiling, roasting or grilling. Less tender cuts are perfect for braising, roasting or simmering on the stove top with a small amount of liquid.

Select beef is uniform in quality and normally leaner than Choice. It is fairly tender, but because it has less marbling, it may not have as much juiciness or flavor. Select beef works well for marinating or braising.

Albertsons only carries the finest of USDA Choice products. Visit the Butcher Block for more information and give these recipes a try:

Red Wine and Mustard Sirloin with Artichokes and Potatoes



Big Beef and Bleu Cheese Salad with Red Onion Vinaigrette 



Lemon-Herb Beef Pot Roast



Killer Beef Chili


KillerBeefChiliSpeak with your local Albertsons’ butcher for guidance and assistance when selecting the best meat for your meal planning!

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    • Customer Support 23/02/2016 at 2:13 pm

      Hello, we suggest visiting the Butcher Block at your local store for more information. -Julio

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