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Food,Glorious Food: Pat LaFrieda Demonstrates How Meat is Graded and What to Look for When Choosing USDA Meat


Pat LaFrieda Jr. was dubbed “the magician of meat” by New York Magazine. He is a third-generation butcher and the CEO of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors.

LaFrieda supplies meat to more than 500 of the most renowned restaurants in New York City (Minetta Tavern, Butter) and has more than 1000 customers nationally (Shake Shack).

In this video, Pat Jr. explains how to find and choose USDA graded meats.

He explains the USDA establishment number, and how one can trace their meat back to the processor.

USDA grades Utility, Select, Choice, and Prime are explained as well as Japanese-style Wagyu.

pecialty butcher shops often have USDA Prime, whereas larger grocery chains rarely have Prime grade beef.

With different grades of beef, there are also different ways to cook the meat to bring out its best characteristics.

Pat Jr. also breaks down definitions like “grass fed” or “corn finished”, and enlightens us all about steer.

If you’d like to see how Pat Jr. cuts a specific steak (skirt, New York, flat iron, hanger, etc.) watch the entire at

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