One of the things that you should pay close attention to is the USDA grading system. It’s broken down into three main classifications:
Prime - Best
Choice - Second Best
Select - Worst
The main aspect that separates each score is marbling. The best way to describe marbling is the white streaks that flow in your steak. The more streaks of fat the better the grade.
When shopping you may notice meats that don’t fall in this category. One example is Certified Angus Beef or CAB.
Certified Angus beef is a brand that has its own grading scale. CAB comes mostly from black Angus cattle. When graded on the traditional USDA system, CAB typically falls somewhere between Prime and Choice.
Another example of something outside of the USDA classification system is Kobe/Wagyu. When it comes to these two categories it is good to have an educated butcher in your back pocket.
Alight, so here it goes…. Kobe beef is actually a place in Japan that is known for its Waygu or translated to “Japanese Cattle.” True Kobe beef is very very hard to come by in the US. Maybe, just maybe the high-end, big-city steakhouse might carry it. If they do, ask for documentation before buying it.
American Waygu is probably what most people are commonly seeing at their local Costco or maybe on TV. American Waygu is typically a breed of Japanese Waygu crossbreed with an American Black Angus.