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Friday, June 16, 2006

Prime vs. Choice

I decided to take a look at the price differential between prime and choice grades for the popular beef cuts. The NAMP numbers for the 5 cuts are 112A, 174, 180, 184 and 189A. My source is and I used market data from early 2005 through this month. The sample includes every fourth report and my prices represent the averages. The chart shows average market cost per pound for each cut.

Porterhouse Steaks cut from prime Short Loin 174 cost 80% more than choice. New York Strip Steaks cut from prime Strip 1x1 180 cost 62% more than choice. Tenderloin looks like a bargain. Prime Tender 189A costs about 34% more than choice. Finally, a prime Sirloin Steak cut from a Top Butt 184 will cost about 8% more than choice.

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aburitoro said...

I seem to recall reading that there isn't much difference in the quality of a prime vs choice tenderloin, since the fat marbling determines grade, and since tenderloin is fairly lean. Which would explain why there isn't much of a price difference.

Joe Dunbar said...

The difference can be really small if you compare the very top choice with the lower prime grades. OTOH, top prime is handled by packers who may age the meat to client specs and offer other value added features.

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