Angus Beef Steak: Understanding Quality and Grades

Angus Beef Steak: Understanding Quality and Grades

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At Simpson's Meats, our sterling reputation for sourcing the finest cuts is evident in every product we offer, particularly our acclaimed Angus beef steak. Known for its exceptional marbling, tenderness, and rich flavor, Angus beef steak holds a celebrated place in the local Knoxville and Nashville culinary community for both home cooks and professional chefs alike.

The Heritage of Angus Beef

The heritage of Angus beef traces back to the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland in the early 19th century, where the breed originated. Known for their solid black or red color and naturally polled (hornless) heads, Angus cattle were initially prized for their robust builds and resilience.

Over time, these cattle gained popularity due to the exceptional quality of their meat, leading to their introduction to the United States in the late 1800s. The breed quickly became a favorite among American ranchers, flourishing in various climates and contributing to the nation's growing beef industry.

Angus Beef Quality: What Makes It So Special?

A combination of different factors determines the quality of Angus beef steak:

Natural Marbling

The Angus breed's genetic makeup is one of the most significant contributors to its superior quality. Angus cattle are genetically predisposed to develop excellent marbling, which leads to the juicy, tender Angus beef steaks prized by chefs and food enthusiasts. 

At Simpson's Meats, we are continually searching for the finest Angus genetics in the country and are happy to use leading genetics from Garner Angus Ranch in Ashland, Kansas and 44 Farms in Cameron Texas.

Marbling, or the distribution of intramuscular fat, is key to Angus beef's renowned flavor and tenderness. This fat melts during cooking, infusing the meat with a rich buttery taste while keeping it juicy and tender. Notably, the more finely distributed the marbling, the more superior the steak's quality—something consistently achieved in our Angus beef steaks at Simpson's Meats.


Diet is another critical component in the quality equation. At Simpson's Meats, our premium Angus cattle are finished on an all-vegetarian diet. Our grass-fed cattle are never supplemented with feed and eat grass their entire lives. This diet not only supports healthy growth but also enhances the marbling, resulting in Angus beef steaks with an exceptional flavor profile.


Additionally, the ethical treatment and handling of the cattle play a crucial role. Stress-free environments and humane practices contribute to better meat quality, as cattle raised in such conditions typically produce more tender and flavorful Angus beef steaks.

Simpson's Meats ensures the highest quality Angus beef through sustainable farming practices. We also partner with local ranchers who share our dedication to sustainable agriculture and the ethical treatment of livestock.

By adhering to our stringent quality control measures and promoting environmentally friendly farming techniques, we ensure that each Angus beef steak meets our rigorous standards, providing an unparalleled dining experience for our customers.

The Grading System of Angus Beef

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established a grading system that evaluates beef based on key factors such as composition, maturity, and texture. This system ensures transparency and consistency for consumers and helps them make informed choices.

Marbling scores, particularly, are a critical aspect of the USDA grading system, especially regarding Angus beef.

The Significance of Marbling Scores

Higher marbling scores indicate more intramuscular fat, which ensures the meat remains moist and flavorful during cooking. For home chefs, this means a superior steak-eating experience, as the fat melts and bastes the meat from within.

By understanding the USDA beef grading system and the importance of marbling scores, you can make the most informed choice when selecting an Angus beef steak.

USDA Beef Grades for Angus Steak


Prime is the highest meat quality grade awarded by the USDA and represents only a small percentage of all beef produced. Prime-grade Angus beef steak is characterized by abundant marbling, which translates to exceptional juiciness, tenderness, and rich flavor. These steaks are often sought after for premium dining experiences, whether in high-end restaurants or special home-cooked meals.

Prime Angus beef steaks' significant intramuscular fat content ensures they remain succulent and flavorful after cooking, making them the top choice for steak enthusiasts.


Choice-grade Angus beef is high quality and has slightly less marbling than Prime. However, Choice Angus beef steaks are still tender, juicy, and flavorful, making them an excellent option for everyday meals and special occasions alike. Choice Angus beef steaks are versatile and perform well with various cooking methods, delivering a well-rounded dining experience.


USDA Select beef is what you'll commonly find in grocery stores, but it tends to be less tender, juicy, and flavorful compared to higher-grade Angus beef. Select-grade beef is leaner than both Prime and Choice, with less marbling. While this grade offers a lower fat content, it can still provide a tender and flavorful meal if cooked with care. The key to enjoying Select-grade steaks lies in proper cooking techniques, such as marinating and avoiding overcooking, to maintain tenderness and enhance flavor.

How Simpson's Meats Ensures Premium Quality

At Simpson's Meats, we take pride in offering only the highest-quality Angus beef steaks that meet stringent USDA inspection standards. Our commitment to excellence ensures that every cut of beef we provide is 100% USDA-inspected, guaranteeing that we adhere to the industry's highest safety and quality guidelines.

We offer a wide selection of premium USDA Choice meats or higher, ensuring a premium dining experience for our customers. Our extensive range includes Prime and Choice-grade Angus beef, allowing you to choose the right cut for any occasion.

Whether you're planning a gourmet meal or a casual family dinner, Simpson's Meats delivers top-tier, delicious, and juicy beef that meets the needs of many homes in Knoxville and Nashville, TN.

Preparing Angus Beef Steak

Basic Preparation Tips for Angus Beef Steak

Achieving the full potential of Angus beef steak in terms of flavor and tenderness starts with proper preparation. Here are some essential tips:

  1. Bring to Room Temperature: Before cooking, let the steak sit covered at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This ensures even cooking.
  2. Season Generously: Use a generous amount of Simpson’s Appalachian Sea Salt & Pepper Blend to season the Angus beef steak. You can also add onion or garlic powder or your favorite herbs and spices for additional flavor.
  3. Preheat Your Cooking Surface: Whether you're using a grill, skillet, or oven, make sure you preheat it to the right temperature. A hot cooking surface helps to sear the steak quickly, locking in the juices.
  4. Rest the Steak After Cooking: Let the steak rest for a few minutes after cooking. This process allows the steak's natural juices to redistribute all over, resulting in a more tender and flavorful meal.
  5. Use a Meat Thermometer: To ensure that a perfect cook for your Angus beef steak to your desired doneness, use a meat thermometer. For a medium-rare steak, aim for an internal temperature of about 135°F (57°C).

Cooking Methods for Different Cuts of Angus Beef Steak

Select the appropriate cooking method to maximize the qualities of various cuts of Angus beef:

  • Ribeye: Known for their marbling, Angus ribeye steaks are best cooked with high-heat methods like grilling or pan-searing. Cook until a good crust forms on both sides.
  • Filet Mignon: This tender cut benefits from grilling or pan-searing, which is then finished in the oven. Keep cooking time short to avoid drying out this lean cut.
  • Skirt Steak: Skirt steak is perfect for grilling or broiling and should be cooked quickly over high heat to prevent it from becoming tough.
  • T-Bone: Angus T-bone steak is ideal for grilling, as the T-shaped bone helps to retain moisture and flavor while cooking. Aim for medium-rare doneness.
  • Flank: Angus flank steak is best cooked over high heat, such as grilling or broiling. Make sure to slice against the grain for optimal tenderness.

Pairing and Serving Suggestions

Wine Pairing Suggestions for Angus Beef Steak

Pairing the right wine with Angus beef steak can significantly amplify the flavors and enhance the overall dining experience. Here are some timeless wine pairing recommendations based on different cuts of Angus beef steak:

  • Ribeye: The rich, marbled texture of ribeye pairs well with a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine's tannins balance out the steak's fat content, creating a harmonious flavor on the palate.
  • Filet Mignon: A lighter but still elegant red wine like Pinot Noir or Merlot complements the tenderness of filet mignon.
  • T-Bone: This cut is best with bolder wines such as Zinfandel or Syrah/Shiraz. The robust flavors of these wines can stand up to the hearty portions and varying textures of the T-bone.
  • Skirt Steak & Flank Steak: For these more flavorful yet leaner cuts, opt for Malbec or Tempranillo. These wines offer a good balance between acidity and body, enhancing the steak's natural flavors without overwhelming them.

Side Dish Recommendations for Angus Beef Steak

A well-chosen side dish can complement the rich flavors of Angus beef steak and provide a balanced meal. Here are some recommendations the next time you're searching for a yummy steak meal recipe:

  • Grilled Asparagus: Lightly seasoned and grilled asparagus offers a subtle crunch and fresh flavor that pairs well with the juicy, rich taste of Angus steak.
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy and savory garlic mashed potatoes are a classic steakhouse side that enhances the steak's flavors without competing with them.
  • Sautéed Mushrooms: The earthy flavors of sautéed mushrooms cooked with garlic and thyme can beautifully complement the umami notes in Angus beef steak.
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, roasted Brussels sprouts with a hint of balsamic glaze add a delicious contrast to a tender steak.
  • Caesar Salad: A fresh Caesar salad with a tangy, creamy dressing provides a refreshing counterpoint to the richness of Angus beef.

Shop High-Quality Angus Beef Steaks in Knoxville, TN

Discover the premium quality of Simpson's Meats Angus beef steaks to elevate your next dining experience. Our carefully selected meat cuts guarantee tenderness, flavor, and juiciness that will impress even the most discerning steak lover. Whether you're hosting a special occasion or simply preparing a luxurious meal at home, our Angus beef steaks are perfect for any event.

Have questions or ready to place an order? We're here to help! Contact us today at (865) 336-6036.