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A Grade Above – Part 2

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In part one, we have discussed the various types of beef. There is also another factor in buying beef; understanding which cuts of beef are kosher? Kosher beef is produced following specific Jewish laws and under the supervision of specially licensed rabbis. Only the forequarters of the cow can be kosher-certified. The precise parts of the cow where kosher meat comes from is the shoulder, the rib, the leg, under the rib and behind the leg.Rabbi Seth Mandel, Rabbinic Coordinator,The Orthodox Union said, "Only the 13th rib is disqualified. In the US, most productions take the 12th rib and the meat between it and the 13th (rib)."

According to our interview with Rabbi Reuven Stein of the Atlanta Kashruth Commission, the portion of kosher beef that is in the hindquarter leg of the cow is not used in the United States, but is used in Israel. This is because the non-kosher sciatic nerve runs through this meat, and it is both labor-intensive and costly to remove. In Israel, where there is less of a market for non-kosher meat, and meat prices are much higher, it makes economic sense to take the time and effort to remove the sciatic nerve and sell the rest as kosher meat.

Kosher parts of the beef:

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The following is a list of kosher beef cuts; keep in mind that some cuts have multiple names.

Some beef roasts are:

Some briskets are:

Some steak cuts are:

Some other cuts are:

What about Grade?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA beef grades are based on nationally uniform Federal standards of quality. No matter where or when a consumer purchases graded meat (or poultry), it must have met the same grade criteria.

USDA quality grades for Meat and Poultry relate to tenderness, juiciness, and flavor; Kosher meat is sold primarily in two quality grades:

Purchasing kosher beef is a multi-faceted buying experience; every factor becomes important.  You may consider what the cattle ate, if the beef is natural or organic, if it is dried or not, and where the cattle came from. While you’re keeping all of this in mind, you may be also noting the specific kosher-certification as well.  It’s a daunting task, but for the informed savvy shopper, it can be a cinch.