Paying extra for "USDA Prime" or "Kobe" ground beef: worth it?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by TheGoodTexan, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    (Preface: USDA Prime steaks are always worth the extra money, in my opinion. My question is whether paying extra for Prime or Kobe ground beef is worth it... in your opinion.)

    The supermarket I've been going to for 12 years just got two new offerings of ground beef.

    75/25 USDA Prime

    -and-

    80/20 Certified Kobe


    Both are $9.99 / pound.

    I cook a whole lot of beef, chicken, and pork.

    When I get USDA Prime steaks, I can certainly say that it's "worth it" as the increase in quality is always evident. I've never bought and grilled Kobe steaks myself, but I've eaten a ton of them. Not sure I could taste the difference between Prime and Kobe.

    BUT!!!!

    I just bought a pound of the Kobe ground beef to try in my spaghetti tonight. Regular 80/20 is roughly $3 / pound... the Kobe was $10. I guess I had an extra $7 to waste on an experiment.

    Usually I make my spaghetti with 2 parts beef, 1 part sausage, 1 part veal. But the wife wanted turkey spaghetti tonight, so I made my own side dish with the Kobe beef... and ended up spending less in the long run actually.

    I'll post results after we eat, later tonight.
     
  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Prime beef is tons better than Choice. In hamburger I doubt it makes much difference. But in hamburger I buy Ground Chuck. it's ground chuck steak supposedly by rule, so not all that offal in it!
     
  3. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    No argument here... as it relates to steak cuts.

    But this is the question.
     
  4. 1293

    1293 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not worth it. I buy chuck roast on sale, portion and freeze it and grind it just before cooking. If I feel like getting fancy, I use 2:1:1 chuck, shortrib, brisket.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  5. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I need to start doing this.

    I have a grinder attachment for my mixer. I hear that adding brisket fat into any lean beef cut is a good thing to try.
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    "If your meat is ground round or ground chuck, then all of it must come from the specific primal cut. Chuck is cut from the shoulder, which contains enough fat to add flavor and juiciness and is a good choice for hamburgers. Round cuts of beef come from the hind leg."
    "The greatest difference between the two is that ground beef is from inexpensive cuts whereas ground chuck is from the shoulder area, a primal cut. This also means that ground beef is cheaper than ground chuck."
     
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  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Maybe worth it for a burger if you are going to keep it real simple. Burger. Salt and pepper. Bun. No cheese. Minimal condiments.

    My gut says not worth it (or their than a fun experiment) for use in a Sauce, which might mask delicate flavor and texture differences?
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  8. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Holic

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    The USDA grading system does not test nor denote the subjective quality of meat, it simply grades according to the age of the animal at time of slaughter, and the amount of intramuscular fat marbling in one standard place on the animal that they check. There is no distinction for how the animal was raised, what it was fed or what particular breed it might be.

    For this reason, a careful shopper is wise to pick through all of the steaks marked Prime or Choice--the two highest grades. There are times when a careful shopper might find a steak marked choice that has a higher degree of marbling than nearby steaks marked prime. A likely analogy is that two guitars are made of swamp ash, yet they sound and weigh completely different because of the nuances between individual trees, and also location within that particular tree. So an animal that is marked prime because it had a lot of intramuscular marbling in the rib area that was checked for grading might have more or less marbling in another area.

    In general, Prime yields a nicer steak than Choice--though Choice is a fine grade of meat as well.

    When it comes to ground beef, it may or may not make a difference. Since ground beef is sold by percentage of lean to fat, the distinction so apparent in a steak might not be as clearly apparent.

    To me, beef is a luxury, so I tend to buy the best that I can get. I won't eat anything below Choice grade. What is more important to me is that I buy most of my beef from a local family farm. I know the farmers, I've been to the farm and I've walked the pastures with the cows. I know what they eat--which is mainly grass and wild forage. To me, this is the best beef I can get. But if you twist my arm, I've been known to buy the occasional Costco pack of Prime beef when I can't find what I need from my local guy.

    I'm interested to see what you think @TheGoodTexan since I know that you know what you're talking about when it comes to beef and food. I've never done an actual side by side with Prime and Choice ground beef.
     
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  9. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

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    All I know is grass fed beef is much healthier than grain fed beef. Albeit harder to find and much more expensive.
     
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  10. Guitarzan

    Guitarzan Poster Extraordinaire

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    No, it is not worth it for ground beef.

    As others have said, if one wants to get fancy with ground meat, buying meat and fat and grinding it at home is a better use of time and money.

    The prices you quoted are more ambition than Akaushi, but I suppose the shipping on the Akaushi would ultimately drive the price higher.

    https://heartbrandbeef.com/shop/

    If I come to your house, I expect only Akaushi beef, Fiji or Pellegrino water, hydroponic green lettuce, and organic greenbeans and asparagus from a local farmer's market, or I am not going to let you sponsor another one of my mission dinners. ;)

     
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  11. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    As promised, reporting in:

    The Kobe 80/20 Ground Beef in spaghetti tastes noticeably better to me than the regular, run-of-the-meal 80/20 that I have previously purchased.

    That being said, at $10 / pound, it’s not so much better that I would buy it every time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  12. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Friend of Leo's

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    I always wanted to be a cowboy, I envy anyone who makes his living on horseback.
    Probably watched too many westerns as a young kid.
    The guys in this outstanding video are modern day cowboys and they uphold all the traditional traits of what a cowboy should be.
    Very enjoyable video, thanks for posting it.
     
  13. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Kobe Beef - How does something that hangs around all day getting a massage and drinking rice wine end up as hamburger? Must have violated the Kobe Beef code.

    That being said the best meal I have ever had was in Tokyo in 1966 having Kobe Beef at a restaurant called Suihiro's. Steak, one small skinless potato, bamboo shoots and Peach Wine. The meal may have been biased by me being 18 and the Wine.
     
  14. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Prime and Kobe beef are excellent, but worth the price? I say no. I'd go for an elk steak of just about any cut over a beef steak just for the flavor.
     
  15. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Just don't buy it at Meijers. That butcher will shame you again.
     
  16. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    That guy is always trying to get me to spend less money on meat. He’s meat shaming me. The nerve.
     
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  17. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    もったいない!
     
  18. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    80/20 is best for hamburgers, but I prefer phosphor bronze on my acoustic.

    I had a kobe hamburger at a restaurant not long ago. Tasted like a hamburger.
     
  19. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Holic

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    I just remembered something that might be relevant. We have a local burger chain here in Pittsburgh that has a few locations around the city. They specialize in "fancy" burgers with dozens of choices for meat, rolls, toppings, rubs, sauce etc. I've only been a couple of times, but I have only ordered the Kobe style burger once. After the rub, sauce and toppings I couldn't tell it apart from the regular beef. So I skip the three or four dollar premium and just get the regular beef now.

    That being said, if I were to do this at home, I'd do it with just salt and pepper so that I could taste the beef. Part of the appeal of going out to this place is all of the choices they have. At home I like to focus on the meat and keep it simple.
     
  20. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    73/27 is best for hamburgers, 80/20 is too lean.
     
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