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Making the Grade

Updated: Feb 17, 2018

The basic grades of beef are Select, Choice and Prime. We strive to provide consistent quality product with a distinct, wonderful flavor that our customers are sure to enjoy.



With USDA beef quality grading, consumers can have a better understanding of the beef they are purchasing and consuming. The basic grades of beef are Select, Choice and Prime. Quality grading is based on two factors: Marbling and Maturity.


Marbling and Maturity

Marbling is the fat you see intermingled with the muscle of the beef. This is what determines the tenderness and flavor of the beef. The amount of marbling is determined by looking at the cut at the 12th and 13th rib. The more the marbling in the cut, the higher the grade will be. The higher the grade, the more expensive the product will be as well.


Maturity is the physiological age of the beef.  The younger the beef the better the grade. A 9-30 months, B 30-42 months, C 42-72 months, D 72-96 months, and E is over 96 months.  So, if you want an A on your report card, you will want a beef under 30 months of age! 


We strive to provide consistent quality product with a distinct, wonderful flavor that our customers are sure to enjoy.

Making the Grade

Prime grade beef has abundant to slightly abundant marbling, is produced in smaller quantities than other grades and is a rare catch. Prime cuts are often served in restaurants.


Choice grade beef is high quality, with moderate to small amounts of marbling and is produced in highest quantity. Choice roasts and steaks, especially from the rib and loin, will be very tender, juicy and flavorful.


Select grade beef has slight marbling which makes it leaner than Prime or Choice, but can also be less tender and flavorful.


We strive to provide consistent quality product with a distinct, wonderful flavor that our customers are sure to enjoy. For this reason, we guarantee our beef to be at the very minimum, Choice grade. At Bear Paw Meats, bringing quality, Montana Bred, Montana Fed beef to your table is what we do.




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