Difference Between Choice & Select Beef Tenderloin

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Beef lovers know what a great meal awaits.
Beef lovers know what a great meal awaits. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Rexipe Rexipe)

There’s nothing quite like a satisfying, juicy cut of beef to enjoy for dinner with family and friends. Whether it’s beef kabobs on the grill during summer or stew in winter, beef is enjoyed by all ages. Choosing the right cut is an important first step, and sometimes is confusing for the consumer. It doesn’t have to be.

Marbling

In general, the difference between choice and select beef tenderloin is very small, as the muscle already is very lean. Choice cuts tend to have more marbling in them and cost more, while select is preferred by those who eat leaner cuts.

Beef is enjoyed using a variety of cooking methods depending on the season.
Beef is enjoyed using a variety of cooking methods depending on the season. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Rick Audet)

Choice or Select Tenderloin?

The tenderloin is the leanest beef, and is a preferred cut with choosy beef lovers, according to meat department experts at Hy-Vee, a Midwest-based grocery store chain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture determines the labeling, depending on the amount of marbling, or fat, in the cut. Whether you chose choice or select, you're getting a good quality meat.

With the right select cut of beef, you can dine in like you're dining out.
With the right select cut of beef, you can dine in like you're dining out. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Steve Jurvetson)

Enjoy at Home the Best of the Best

"Choice used to be the 'go-to' cut for most everyone, until the concern for fat a few years back became an issue, and then we went more select," says Jeremy Gray, meat specialist at Hy-Vee. When asked his preference for taste, he said, "There is really very little difference. Tenderloin just is the creme de la creme and you can't go wrong with either cut."

Beef is enjoyed in variety of dishes, both formal and casual.
Beef is enjoyed in variety of dishes, both formal and casual. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jeremy Keith)

For Lunch or Dinner Year Round

Beef tenderloin can be used for a variety of dishes, either by preparation in a slow cooker or oven, using plenty of your favorite flavoring and served with sauce and side dishes. Or slice it thin and place it on a bun with fries on the side.

Beef can be dressed down and served for more casual meals.
Beef can be dressed down and served for more casual meals. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of velkr0)

Seek Out the Professionals

If you’re unsure which would make the better cut for your meal, talk to your meat department representative or local butcher. You also can visit the USDA’s website to learn more about how meat is graded before it reaches your market. Bon appetit!

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