Food Guide

Find Out Which Is Better: USDA Choice or USDA Prime Angus Beef?

These two terms are thrown around all the time, but many people don’t know what they exactly mean.

In this blog post, we will explore what makes the difference, between USDA Choice and USDA Prime Angus beef so that you can have a better choice when it comes to shopping for Angus beef from grocery stores.

What is USDA Prime Angus beef?

Pat LaFrieda USDA Prime Beef Ribeye Steak, 1 lb

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Many of us have mistaken that USDA Prime is a type of meat.

It is actually the classification made by the United States Department of Agriculture to qualify meat, in this case, the quality of Angus beef.

Prime Angus beef has more marbling than other grades, making it especially flavorful.

It is the highest grade of all USDA-graded meat and ranks as one of the top-quality meats in any grocery store or butcher shop.

That’s why you have to pay more for the cut of Prime Angus beef.

USDA Prime Angus beef is a type of high-quality, tender, and juicy beef that comes from cattle raised without the use of hormones.

This means you are getting a 100% natural product with no additives that mar its taste.

It’s an excellent choice for those who are looking for something ultra exceptional from regular grocery store beef.

What is USDA Choice Angus beef?

Just Bare® Natural Angus Beef | Top Loin Strip Steak | 10 oz. | USDA...

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USDA Choice Angus beef is the second-graded Angus beef, lower than Prime but higher than Select.

In order to be labeled a Choice Angus Beef by the USDA, cattle must undergo rigorous grading according to age, marbling of fat within muscle tissue (a sign of tenderness), the color of meat (darker is more desirable), and maturity or degree of ripeness at time of slaughter.

The cattle may not be entirely grass-fed like Angus cows that produce Prime beef, but they must receive a majority of their diet from grazing pasture land or other rangeland where permitted.

They should also have a controlled feed regiment which includes grain as well as hay at certain points in time throughout the animal’s life.

You will find USDA Choice Angus beef less marbling than the USDA Prime counterpart, but they still provide an excellent flavor and tenderness.

What are the differences between USDA Choice vs USDA Prime Angus beef?

When it comes to comparing these two kinds of certified Angus beef, you can go through their grades, popularities, texture, common uses, and prices.

The table below will provide you with a closer look at the differences between USDA Choice and USDA Prime Angus beef.

 USDA Prime Angus beefUSDA Choice Angus beef
PopularityUsually sold and served in hotels or high-end restaurantsServed in restaurants or sold in grocery stores
Texture and fat contentHigher fat content (the most marbling), making it perfectly moist and tenderHave less marbling, also contain lean cuts
UsePerfect for roasting, grilling, or broiling because the direct heat will render the fat and make the whole dish very juicy, tender, and flavorfulAlso suitable for roasting, grilling, or broiling The leaner cuts can be slow-cooked to reach the most tender texture and add extra flavors
PriceMore expensive because the meat is of the highest quality and often from young, small cows which produce fewer quantities than other gradesLess expensive

What are the similarities between USDA Choice vs USDA Prime Angus beef?

USDA Prime Angus beef and the lower grade USDA Choice counterpart are two kinds of classified Angus beef with different textures and prices.

However, you can also find numerous similarities between these two, as listed below:

1. They both come from Angus cows

Putting USDA Prime and USDA Choice Angus beef in comparison refers to the difference in the quality of the meat, not the breeds that they come from.

It is obvious that these two are just Angus beef that is produced from Angus cows.

The way these cows are raised and the time that they are slaughtered will define the quality of the meat, which results in other distinctions.

2. They are high-quality red meat

As already mentioned, to be labeled as USDA Prime or USDA Choice meat, Angus beef needs to meet plenty of standards, including the raising methods to the appearance and texture of the beef.

The result is high-quality beef sold at a higher price on the market.

3. They are perfect for roasting, grilling, and broiling

Thanks to the adequate amount of marbling, USDA Choice and USDA Prime Angus beef are perfect to cook under direct heat or at high temperatures like roasting, grilling, broiling.

This results in a crispy outer and a juicy and tender inside, and a bunch of flavors in your mouth.

Which one is better?

Product ComparisonPat LaFrieda USDA Prime Beef Ribeye Steak, 1 lbJust Bare® Natural Angus Beef | Top Loin Strip Steak | 10 oz. | USDA...
Product ImagePat LaFrieda USDA Prime Beef Ribeye Steak, 1 lbJust Bare® Natural Angus Beef | Top Loin Strip Steak | 10 oz. | USDA...
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In conclusion, both kinds of Angus beef are high quality and worth the price.

USDA Prime Angus beef is at a little higher grade and it is great for a steak dinner.

The only downside to this type of meat is that you will have to spend more money on your purchase than if you had bought USDA Choice Angus Beef.

If budget isn’t an issue, then prime would be ideal to satisfy even the pickiest eater.

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Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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