The grayish-brown color of our fresh ground beef is completely normal! Unlike some of the big box stores, we do not add any preservatives or gases to our ground beef. We grind it fresh every single day, but don’t just take our word for it – the USDA has a more scientific explanation. Below is their explanation and you can get more great information on handling ground beef on their website at www.fsis.usda.gov under the topics section
“Oxygen from the air reacts with meat pigments to form a bright red color which is usually seen on the surface of meat purchased in the supermarket. The pigment responsible for the red color in meat is oxymyoglobin, a substance found in all warm-blooded animals. Fresh cut meat is purplish in color. The interior of the meat may be grayish-brown due to lack of oxygen; however, if all the meat in the package has turned gray or brown, it may be beginnning to spoil”
– USDA Website
Grading is the way that the USDA informs customers about the quality of meat. The four grades that we carry in our store are: Prime, Choice, Select and A-Grade (our standard grade). For the most part, we use these to highlight the difference in cuts that you would cook as steaks. The prices of the steaks or whole loins reflect the grade (i.e. Prime is the most expensive and A-Grade is the least expensive). Here is how we describe the cuts:
Prime: This is the very best beef and the quality that you would find in the most expensive and fanciest steak houses. It’s definitely a special occasion steak (unless you’re Bill Gates). We typically have prime New York strip steaks and rib eye steaks.
Choice: This is a very high quality beef that is consistently flavorful and tender. This is ideal for gatherings where you want to impress, but not break the bank.
Select: This is a high quality beef and is typically flavorful and tender. We would suggest this grade for everyday meals and cookouts.
A-Grade: This is a good quality beef that offers the best value. The consistency in tenderness is lower than select, but it makes a great weeknight dinner option. It’s also great when you’re feeding a crowd. We’re always happy to suggest some great steak seasoning to take your steak up a notch!