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Steak is a high-quality slice of meat cut from the hindquarters of a cow. According to cave paintings, humans have been consuming beef since pre-historic times. Cooking a tender, juicy, perfectly done steak is an essential life skill. Everyone from professional chefs to home-cooks should know how to make and serve this delicious food. Learning how to perfectly cook a steak begins before the meat even touches the pan.

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1. Grades of Beef

In the United States beef comes in five grades.

  • Prime Grade: the highest grade, heavy marbling.
  • Choice Grade: high quality but has less marbling than prime.
  • Select Grade: generally leaner leading to less flavor and juiciness due to lower fat content.
  • Standard Grade: usually sold as a store brand, it is lower quality than the previous grades of beef.
  • Utility Grade: used for ground beef and canning products, too low quality to use for steak or retail.
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