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Beef General Information

What is meant by the yield grade on beef?

By Bob Oros

There are 10 different yield grades on beef, each one representing a different meat to fat and bone ratio. The best yield grade is a 1 and the least desirable is a 10.

Yield grade will have a lot to do with an operator's portion cost. Most of the beef sold in food service is yield grade 2 or 3, however, yield grades 4 and 5 sometimes find their way into the market. The higher yield grades are normally sold to other processors who cut them into steaks and other cuts where they can trim off the excess fat.

If you bought a yield grade 2 or 3 at a cost of $4.00 lb, and a yield grade 4 or 5 at a cost of $3.42 lb, the finished product would end up costing the same - $5.70 lb. This is a good example of thinking that you are getting a great buy if the yield grade 4 or 5 was priced at $3.50 or even $3.75, when it would actually end up costing more due to the amount of fat that has to be trimmed.

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