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.
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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.
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.
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."
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.
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!