When it comes to steak, quality is key. And for those who have dined at Longhorn Steakhouse, it’s clear that they take their beef seriously.
But what exactly is the grade of beef used by this popular restaurant chain? Is it the top-tier Prime grade, or something lower down the scale?
In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question and delve into why the grade of beef matters when it comes to creating a delicious and satisfying steak experience.
So sit back, grab a drink, and get ready to learn all about the beef at Longhorn Steakhouse.
What Grade Of Beef Does Longhorn Steakhouse Use?
Longhorn Steakhouse is proud to use USDA Choice grade beef for all of its steaks. This is the middle grade in the three-tier government steak system, with Prime being the highest and Select being the lowest.
While some may wonder why Longhorn Steakhouse doesn’t use the top-tier Prime grade, it’s important to note that USDA Choice is still a high-quality grade of beef. It’s known for its marbling, tenderness, and flavor, making it a great choice for steak lovers.
In fact, Longhorn Steakhouse believes that using USDA Choice beef allows them to offer their customers a delicious and affordable steak experience. And with their commitment to never using frozen steaks, customers can be sure that they’re getting a fresh and flavorful cut every time.
Understanding Beef Grading
Beef grading is a system used to determine the quality of beef based on factors such as marbling, animal age, and texture of the muscle. The USDA is responsible for administering the beef grading program, which is voluntary and paid for by beef packers. The grade of beef is primarily determined by the degree of marbling, which provides flavor, tenderness, and juiciness to the beef.
The USDA has established eight total quality grades for beef: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner. The first three grades – Prime, Choice, and Select – are the most commonly recognized by consumers and are considered food-grade labels by the USDA.
Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed cattle with abundant marbling and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels. Choice beef is also high quality but has less marbling than Prime. Select beef is very uniform in quality and normally leaner than higher grades. It is fairly tender but may lack some of the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades.
Standard and Commercial grades of beef are frequently sold as ungraded or as store-brand meat. Utility, Cutter, and Canner grades of beef are seldom sold at retail but are used instead to make ground beef and processed products.
Longhorn Steakhouse uses USDA Choice grade beef for all its steaks. While some may prefer the highest grade of Prime beef, Longhorn Steakhouse believes that using Choice allows them to offer their customers a delicious and affordable steak experience while still maintaining a high level of quality.
The Different Grades Of Beef
When it comes to beef grading, the USDA uses a two-part system based on the degree of marbling and the age of the animal at slaughter. There are eight total grades, but for steaks, the focus is primarily on Prime, Choice, and Select.
Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle with abundant marbling and is typically sold in high-end restaurants and hotels. Choice beef is also high quality but has less marbling than Prime. Select beef is leaner than the higher grades and lacks some of the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades due to less marbling.
Standard and Commercial grades of beef are frequently sold as ungraded or as store brand meat. Utility, Cutter, and Canner grades of beef are seldom, if ever, sold at retail but are used instead to make ground beef and processed products.
At Longhorn Steakhouse, they use USDA Choice grade beef for all of their steaks. While it’s not the highest grade available, it’s still a high-quality grade known for its marbling, tenderness, and flavor. Longhorn Steakhouse believes that using USDA Choice allows them to offer their customers a delicious and affordable steak experience.
Longhorn Steakhouse’s Beef Grading System
Longhorn Steakhouse’s beef grading system is based on the USDA’s three-tier government steak system. The system grades beef based on its marbling, tenderness, and flavor.
The top tier is Prime, which is known for its high level of marbling and rich flavor. However, Prime beef is also the most expensive and can be hard to come by.
The middle tier is Choice, which Longhorn Steakhouse uses for all of its steaks. Choice beef has less marbling than Prime but still offers great flavor and tenderness. It’s also more affordable than Prime, making it a popular choice for many restaurants.
The bottom tier is Select, which has the least amount of marbling and is often used in ground beef or lower-end cuts of steak.
The Benefits Of Using High-Quality Beef
Using high-quality beef, such as USDA Choice grade, offers numerous benefits for those who consume it. For starters, beef is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for the growth and repair of all tissues in the body. High-quality beef contains all the necessary amino acids that the body needs to maintain muscle mass and promote overall health.
Furthermore, beef is rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron and zinc. Iron helps the body produce hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Zinc is necessary for healing damaged tissue and supporting a healthy immune system. By consuming high-quality beef, individuals can ensure that they are getting these important nutrients in their diet.
Additionally, grass-fed beef, which is often considered a high-quality option, contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This naturally occurring trans-fat has been shown to have potential health benefits, including improving heart health and replenishing electrolytes.
Choosing high-quality beef also means that individuals are consuming meat from animals that were raised in a healthy and sustainable manner. By avoiding meat from animals that were given antibiotics or hormones, individuals can reduce their exposure to potentially harmful substances.
How Longhorn Steakhouse Prepares Their Steaks
Longhorn Steakhouse takes great care in preparing their steaks to ensure that they’re cooked to perfection every time. The first step in the process is selecting a high-quality cut of USDA Choice beef, which is hand-cut every morning and kept in a walk-in fridge until it’s ready to be cooked.
Before cooking, the steaks are taken out of the fridge and allowed to come to room temperature. This helps ensure that the steak cooks evenly and doesn’t become tough or dry. Once the steak is at room temperature, it’s seasoned with a blend of salt, pepper, granulated onion powder, and granulated garlic powder, known as “The Big Four.”
For boneless cuts, Longhorn Steakhouse sears the steak in a hot nonstick or cast iron skillet for a melt-in-your-mouth texture. For bone-in cuts, the steak is fire-grilled to lock in all the juicy flavor. The cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the steak and how well-done the customer wants it, but Longhorn Steakhouse always grills the steak to the customer’s desired level of doneness.
After cooking, the steaks are allowed to rest for 2-3 minutes before being served. This allows the juices to distribute throughout the meat, resulting in a tender and flavorful steak. Longhorn Steakhouse also offers additional butter, lemon juice, and seasoning for customers to add to their liking.
Other Factors That Affect The Quality Of Steak At Longhorn Steakhouse
While the grade of beef used at Longhorn Steakhouse is important, there are other factors that also affect the quality of their steaks. One such factor is the size of the steak. As the demand for steak grew after the pandemic, Longhorn made an effort to increase steak sizes to compete with other chains. The chain has been investing in the quality of its food, including increasing the size of its steaks. This means that customers can enjoy a heartier portion of steak without sacrificing quality.
Another factor that affects the quality of steak at Longhorn Steakhouse is their commitment to using fresh, never frozen, beef. While frozen steaks may be cheaper and last longer, they sacrifice the quality of the beef. Freezing a steak can lead to ice crystals or freezer burn, and improper thawing can make it hard to cook a steak to the desired temperature. Chef Michael Senich of Longhorn Steakhouse recommends always going with fresh steak for best results.
Lastly, Longhorn Steakhouse believes in using high-quality ingredients in all aspects of their dishes. This includes their seasonings and cooking methods. They use a proprietary seasoning blend on their steaks and grill them over an open flame to enhance their flavor and tenderness. By paying attention to these details, Longhorn Steakhouse is able to provide customers with a delicious and memorable dining experience every time they visit.