It’s Prime Time to Buy Beef

Steak lovers rejoice! Prime rib eye steaks with the buttery flavor and soft texture so common at great steakhouses around the country are now becoming more accessible to the home-cooking public.

While prime cuts of beef certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have previously been available to restauranteurs and rarely at grocery stores, the best grade of beef for meat lovers is now more readily available at supermarkets including Costco Wholesale (Stock Quote: COST), notes The Wall Street Journal.

Making the Grade

Grocery stores tend to carry USDA Choice beef, which is the second-highest graded beef after Prime, according to the USDA. Choice steak is cut from the loin or rib areas, and while it can be good, it may be a bit tougher and less juicy and flavorful than Prime beef.

Steakhouses have historically snapped up most of the USDA Prime beef, and average consumers had to go to gourmet food stores or a butcher shop to find Prime beef. But now, since Americans have cut down on restaurant outings, and some steakhouses have added Kobe and grass-fed beef to their menus, there’s more Prime beef, which comes from corn-fed steers and heifers, for retail grocery stores to carry. That’s good news for beef lovers on a budget.

Where To Get It

Besides at a gourmet food store or butcher shop, USDA Prime beef can now be found at Wegmans stores, Costco online and in some Costco stores. And chances are, if steakhouse outings continue to lag, and Kobe and grass-fed beef along with buffalo gain in popularity, more local grocery stores will offer USDA Prime cuts.

How You Save

Instead of paying $40 or more at a high-end steakhouse you might be able to get USDA prime cuts for as little as $7 per pound if you buy in bulk. And if you know how to cook it up right, it will be just as good as what you’d get at a steakhouse… maybe even better.

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