Understanding Steak Cuts and Grades, Steak Variations

Meatguy Steakhouse by   Leo Bisma chef April 19, 2023

To enjoying a succulent steak, understanding the different cuts and grades is essential to ensure a delicious and satisfying dining experience.

Understanding Steak Cuts and Grades, Steak Variations

At Meatguy Steakhouse, we pride ourselves on offering high-quality steaks, expertly prepared by our skilled chefs. In this article, we will delve into the world of steak cuts and grades, providing valuable insights for meat enthusiasts and steak connoisseurs alike.

What Grade Of Steak Is The Best?

The best grade of steak depends on personal preferences, as some diners may prioritize tenderness, while others might focus on flavor.

Generally, the highest grade of steak is USDA Prime, which represents the top 2-3% of beef produced in the United States. This grade is characterized by its exceptional marbling, tenderness, and flavor.

What Are The Different Grades Of Steak From USA Standard?

There are three main grades of steak to consider:

1. USDA Prime

The highest quality steak, with abundant marbling and superior tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.

2. USDA Choice

A high-quality steak with slightly less marbling than Prime. It still offers excellent tenderness, juiciness, and flavor but may be less consistent.

3. USDA Select

A leaner cut with less marbling than Choice, resulting in a slightly lower level of tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.

Read more: Steak Recipes: Classic Dishes, Tasty Marinades & More!

Grades Of Steak From Japan Standard

In Japan, the most renowned grading system for beef is the Japanese Meat Grading Association's system. The highest grade in this system is A5, which indicates exceptional marbling, meat color, texture, and overall quality. 

Steaks of this caliber are known for their unparalleled flavor and tenderness, making them highly sought-after by discerning diners.

In the Japanese grading system, steaks are graded on a scale from A1 to A5, with A5 being the highest quality. The system takes into account marbling, meat color, texture, and overall quality.

Grades Of Steak From Australian Standard

In Australia, the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) system is used to grade beef based on various factors such as marbling, tenderness, and flavor. The highest grade within this system is MSA 5 Star, which represents the pinnacle of quality in Australian beef.

The Australian MSA system grades beef on a scale from 1 Star to 5 Star. This system evaluates factors such as marbling, tenderness, and flavor to determine the overall quality of the meat.

What Do The Grades Of Steak Mean?

The grades of steak represent the quality of the beef based on factors such as marbling, tenderness, and flavor. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets these grades to provide consumers with a consistent and reliable system for evaluating the quality of beef. 

The more marbling a steak has, the higher its grade will be, as marbling contributes to the overall tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of the meat.

In both the Japanese and Australian grading systems, higher grades signify superior quality in terms of marbling, tenderness, flavor, and overall eating experience. A higher grade means that the steak has met stringent criteria, ensuring a truly exceptional dining experience.

Common Steak Cuts and Their Characteristics

When it comes to selecting the perfect steak, it is crucial to understand the different cuts and their unique attributes. Each cut comes from a specific part of the cow and possesses distinct characteristics that influence its flavor, tenderness, and texture.

In this section, we will provide an overview of some popular steak cuts and their unique attributes. Popular steak cuts and their unique attributes:

1. Ribeye

Cut from the rib section, ribeye steaks are known for their rich flavor and tenderness, thanks to the abundant marbling. They are perfect for grilling or pan-searing, delivering a juicy and succulent dining experience.

2. Sirloin

Sirloin steaks come from the back of the cow, just above the tenderloin. They offer a balanced combination of tenderness and flavor, making them a versatile choice for various cooking methods, including grilling, broiling, and pan-searing.

3. Tenderloin / Filet Mignon

Tenderloin steaks, also known as filet mignon, are cut from the tenderloin area, which is the most tender part of the cow. These steaks have a delicate texture and mild flavor, making them ideal for those who prefer a leaner, more tender cut.

4. T-bone

T-bone steaks are named for their distinctive T-shaped bone and contain both the tenderloin and the strip steak. They offer the best of both worlds: the tenderness of the tenderloin and the full-flavored strip steak.

5. Strip Steak

Also known as the New York strip or Kansas City strip, this cut is sourced from the short loin and is known for its robust flavor and tender texture. It is best enjoyed grilled or pan-seared.

Each of these cuts offers a unique dining experience, allowing you to choose the perfect steak based on your preferences. At Meatguy Steakhouse, we are committed to providing a range of exceptional, ensuring a memorable dining experience for all our valued guests.

Read more: Meat Marinades: Expert Tips for Flavorful Meat Dishes

What Grade Of Steak Is The Best?

the best grade of steak, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget. However, understanding the differences between the various grades of steak can help you make an informed decision.

The three most common grades of beef in the United States are Select, Choice, and Prime. 

  • Prime grade is the highest quality and most expensive, with excellent marbling and tenderness.

  • Choice grade is the middle range and offers good quality and marbling at a more affordable price.

  • Select grade is the lowest quality and least expensive, with less marbling and tenderness.

1. Select grade

Select grade beef is the lowest grade and is often less tender and less marbled than higher grades.  

2. Choice grade

Choice grade beef is a step up from Select and is known for its good flavor and tenderness. Prime grade beef is the highest grade and is known for its excellent marbling, tenderness, and flavor.

3. Prime grade

While Prime grade beef is considered to be the best, it can also be the most expensive. For those on a budget, Choice grade beef can still provide a delicious and tender eating experience. Select grade beef is often less expensive, but may require additional tenderizing methods to achieve the desired texture and flavor.

It's important to note that the grading system for beef varies by country, so if you're dining outside of the United States, the grading system may be different.

Japanese Steak Grades

The different grades of Japanese beef are highly coveted for their quality and flavor. The grading system for Japanese beef is different from that used in the United States, and it is based on a combination of factors such as marbling, meat color, and fat quality. Here are some of the most popular grades of Japanese beef:

1. Kobe beef

This is perhaps the most well-known Japanese beef, and it comes from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle raised in the Hyogo Prefecture. Kobe beef is characterized by its intense marbling, rich flavor, and tender texture.

  • Grade 5: Exceptional marbling and tenderness, the highest grade.

  • Grade 4: Excellent marbling and tenderness.

  • Grade 3: Good marbling and tenderness, but less than higher grades.

  • Grade 2: Average marbling and tenderness.

  • Grade 1: Below average marbling and tenderness.

2. Matsuzaka beef

This beef comes from Matsusaka City in the Mie Prefecture and is known for its high-fat content and rich flavor. Matsuzaka beef is often compared to Kobe beef and is considered one of the top grades of Japanese beef.

  • A5: The highest grade with abundant marbling, a beautiful red color, and high-quality fat.

  • A4: High-quality marbling, beautiful red color, and firm texture.

  • A3: Good marbling, a bright red color, and moderate-quality fat.

  • B3: A lower grade than A3, but still has good marbling and a decent taste.

3. Omi beef

This beef comes from the Shiga Prefecture and is known for its tender texture and mild flavor. Omi beef is often served in high-end restaurants in Japan and is a popular choice for shabu-shabu, a Japanese hot pot dish.

  • A5: The highest grade with excellent marbling and tenderness.

  • A4: Good marbling and tenderness, but slightly lower than A5.

  • A3: Average marbling and tenderness.

4. Hokkaido beef

This beef comes from the Hokkaido Prefecture and is known for its sweet and rich flavor. Hokkaido beef is often used in yakiniku, a Japanese style of barbecue.

  • Grade 5: The highest grade with abundant marbling, red meat, and a firm texture.

  • Grade 4: Good marbling and flavor, but slightly lower than Grade 5.

  • Grade 3: Average marbling and flavor.

  • Grade 2: Below average marbling and flavor.

5. Sendai beef

This beef comes from the Miyagi Prefecture and is known for its firm texture and clean taste. Sendai beef is often used in sukiyaki, a Japanese hot pot dish.

  • A5: The highest grade with excellent marbling and a soft texture.

  • A4: Good marbling and a soft texture, but slightly lower than A5.

  • A3: Average marbling and a firm texture.

  • B3: Lower marbling and a firm texture.

6. Other regional brands

There are many other regional brands of Japanese beef, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics. Some of these include Hida beef from Gifu Prefecture, Saga beef from Saga Prefecture, and Kumamoto beef from Kumamoto Prefecture.

Overall, the best Japanese steak grade for you will depend on your personal preferences and budget. If you are looking for a rich and buttery flavor, Kobe beef or Matsuzaka beef may be the best option for you. 

However, if you prefer a milder flavor or are looking for a more affordable option, Hokkaido beef or Sendai beef may be a better choice. It's always a good idea to try different Japanese steak grades to determine which one is your favorite.


In conclusion, understanding steak grades is crucial for both a steakhouse restaurant and its customers. Knowing the differences in quality and grading can help consumers make informed decisions when choosing their steaks and ensure they receive the best quality for their budget. 

At Meatguy Steakhouse, we are committed to serving only the highest quality steaks and providing our customers with a dining experience they won't forget. We encourage our customers to ask our knowledgeable staff any questions they may have about our steaks and to take the time to choose the perfect cut for their taste preferences and budget.

Copyrights ⓒ 2024 Meatguy Steakhouse | PT. Daging Grup Jakarta