Why You Should Stop Buying Choice Cut Steak, According To Jeremy Ford - Exclusive

One does not need to be on the carnivore diet to appreciate well-cooked meat. While many people can cook, not everyone can cook a delicious rack of ribs, juicy steak, or savory roast. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when it comes to cooking beef, and there are few better to ask about cooking meat than Chef Jeremy Ford, who owns the restaurants Butcher's Club and Beauty and the Butcher.

Ford truly knows how to treat meat, with his menus featuring beautiful cuts of beef, each prepared to perfection. That is why when Mashed got the chance to speak with him in an exclusive interview following this year's South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Ford spoke about preparing meat and some of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to cooking beef. For Ford, the biggest mistake people make happens before the beef ever hits the pan.

Just say no to choice

Jeremy Ford wasted no time in telling Mashed the mistake he sees people making most often with their meat. 

"The biggest problem is you don't want to always choose choice, which is a select — that's a grading." The American beef grading system ranges from select, the lowest form, then moves up to choice, and then prime. Additional variations include Wagyu, a Japanese type of beef that typically scores as prime or above. 

This grading tells consumers primarily what the marbling of the meat will be, which in turn helps to determine how flavorful and tender the overall beef ends up being. According to Ford, buying lower-quality beef is not worth it. 

"Either you go prime, or you go Wagyu," Ford said. "If I'm going to put in the effort to make a good steak with good sides and a good sauce, I'm going to be spending money either way. If I'm going to make one, I have to start with a good product." 

Ford makes a compelling argument for starting with quality ingredients. With one of his restaurants having a Michelin star, one can trust him in regard to the importance of quality. 

Sometimes you should splurge

Jeremy Ford was clear in saying that a USDA choice cut is not bad, but it comes with certain disadvantages. One such disadvantage is how it has less marbling than other options.

"A lot of people go and buy USDA choice, which is not a bad piece of meat — it's still good," Ford said. "That grading doesn't say it's not as good; it just doesn't have as much marbling. If I want a really juicy steak, I'm looking for that fine web of fat that's running through the steak. You don't have as much on the choice line. You can make a good cut of meat out of choice, but it's not going to be a prime or a cut of Wagyu." 

If planning a nice steak dinner in the near future, trust Ford. If it's in the budget, splurge for the prime or Wagyu. Cooks will be happier with the tender result, and they will never want to go back to choice again.

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival takes place annually in South Beach, Florida.