what is g1 certified beef

What is G1 Certified Beef and Why it Matters

If you’ve been shopping for beef lately, you may have come across the term “G1 certified” on some premium steak packaging. But what exactly does G1 certified mean, and why does it matter when choosing quality beef? In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about this special certification for high-end beef.

G1 refers to the top tier of the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand rating system. CAB is one of the most recognized branded beef programs in the industry, setting rigorous standards for marbling juiciness flavor, and tenderness. The G1 designation takes these benchmarks to an even higher level, promising steak lovers the ultimate eating experience in every bite.

Out of all CAB approved beef, only the top 2% qualify for the G1 grade. So when you see a steak with that G1 logo, you know you’re getting exceptionally flavorful, well-marbled, premium beef. Let’s take a closer look at what makes G1 certified beef so special.

The Origins of G1 Certified Beef

The Certified Angus Beef brand was founded back in 1978 by the American Angus Association. CAB set out to highlight the qualities that make Angus beef so uniquely tender and delicious. The program certifies ranchers, feed yards, and packing plants that meet 10 exacting standards for marbling, maturity, size, and other indicators of superior beef.

In 2018, CAB introduced the Certified Angus Beef G1 program as a designation for their very best products in marbling and tenderness. G1 certified beef comes from Angus cattle under 30 months old and displays a significant abundance of intramuscular fat between the muscle fibers. This intricate web of fat, known as marbling, provides essential flavor and moisture throughout these top-shelf cuts.

Why Marbling Matters

Marbling is the key attribute that sets G1 certified beef apart. This refers to the white specks and veins of fat interspersed within the lean red meat. The more abundant the marbling, the more flavorful and tender the steak will be. Here’s why marbling makes such a difference:

  • Adds Juiciness: When cooked, the marbling melts into the meat, keeping it succulent and moist. Lean steak can become dry and tough.

  • Boosts Flavor: Fat carries flavor. The marbling infuses rich, beefy flavor in every bite.

  • Improves Tenderness: Marbling prevents tough muscle fibers from contracting during cooking for a tender texture.

  • Enhances Mouthfeel: Marbling provides a luscious, satisfying mouthfeel and appearance.

G1 certified steak must exhibit a medium or higher degree of marbling. Only 1 out of 4 Angus cattle meet these exacting marbling specifications. This puts G1 beef in the top 2% of heavily marbled prime beef.

Standards for G1 Certified Beef

In addition to marbling, G1 certified beef must meet several other standards to make the grade:

  • Angus Breed: G1 certified beef comes exclusively from Angus cattle, known for superior marbling and flavor.

  • Age: Cattle must be under 30 months old when harvested for ideal tenderness. The meat has had less time to toughen.

  • Grade: G1 beef grades Prime or upper 2/3 of Choice for optimum quality. Prime grade has the most abundant marbling.

  • Cut Specifications: Cuts are selected based on tenderness, such as loin and rib areas. Chuck, round, and select flank cuts are excluded.

  • Marbling Score: A minimum slight degree of marbling is required, but most G1 beef shows a modest degree or higher.

  • Maturity: G1 cattle are young at under 30 months for increased tenderness.

  • Traceability: Detailed records allow CAB to trace G1 beef back to approved ranches and feed yards.

As you can see, G1 certified beef excels in every quality benchmark. Only elite cattle that pass rigorous inspections can achieve G1 status. This makes it the cream of the crop when it comes to certified beef programs.

Where to Find G1 Certified Beef

Because G1 beef meets such exceptional standards, it can be a little harder to track down than regular certified Angus beef. Here are some of the best places to find it:

  • High-End Butcher Shops: Many upscale butcher shops that focus on artisanal meats will stock G1 cuts or can specially order them. Check gourmet grocery stores as well.

  • Online Retailers: Several online meat delivery companies offer G1 beef, such as Crowd Cow, Snake River Farms, Porter Road, and Holy Grail Steak Co.

  • Fine Dining Restaurants: Quality steakhouses often feature G1 certified beef on their menus, so look for it when dining out.

  • Direct from Ranches: A few exclusive cattle ranches that are G1 certified sell their beef directly to consumers online.

Due to limited supply and demand, expect to pay a premium price for the privilege of savoring G1 certified steaks and roasts. But devotees believe it’s worth it for the extraordinary eating experience.

How to Cook G1 Certified Beef

Splurging on G1 beef means you’ll want to highlight its pedigree with proper cooking technique. Here are some tips:

  • Grill it: Grilling is a perfect way to showcase G1 beef’s succulence and rich flavor. Use minimal seasoning to let the taste of the beef star.

  • Reverse sear: This technique cooks the meat gently first, then finishes with a hard sear for a flawless medium-rare throughout.

  • Add a steak sauce: While G1 beef is flavorful enough on its own, a sauce can complement without overpowering. Try a classic béarnaise, chimichurri, or red wine reduction.

  • Rest it: Letting the steak rest 5-10 minutes after cooking allows juices to redistribute for a more tender, juicy result. Don’t skip this step!

Keep cooking times minimal with G1 beef to prevent overcooking this premium meat. Enjoying it closer to medium-rare will ensure it’s at its juiciest and most tender.

G1 Certified Beef vs. Other Options

So how does G1 stack up against some other common beef certifications and grading? Here’s a quick comparison:

  • Regular Certified Angus Beef (CAB): Meets all of CAB’s 10 standards but not the extra specificity for marbling required of G1. About 1 in 5 Angus cattle meet CAB standards. Still high quality but more widely available and affordable than G1.

  • USDA Prime: Designates beef with the most abundant marbling but does not require Angus breed. About 2-3% of beef grades Prime. On par with G1 for quality but G1 has extra breed and age standards.

  • USDA Choice: Diverse quality since the range is so broad. G1 comes from the upper part of the Choice category when it doesn’t quite reach Prime. The marbling is still superior to generic Choice.

  • Grass-Fed: Leaner with a different flavor profile than the grain-finished G1 beef. Grass-fed suits some preferences but lacks the buttery marbling that defines G1.

As you can see, G1 is in a class all its own when it comes to marbling, tenderness, and strict production protocols. No other beef certification quite matches its standards.

Is G1 Beef Worth the Price?

There’s no doubt that G1 certified beef commands a higher price tag than regular quality beef. But many steak connoisseurs feel the extra cost delivers an exceptional eating experience that’s well worth it. As the pinnacle of certified Angus beef, G1 beef offers:

  • Incredible flavor from superior marbling
  • Guaranteed tenderness from its Prime/Choice grading
  • Assurance of humane and sustainable ranching practices
  • Peace of mind from traceable, trusted supply chain
  • Prestige of enjoying one of the best steaks available

While everyday meals call for more affordable cuts of beef, G1 makes the perfect choice for a special occasion or filet mignon dinner. It delivers unmatched richness and satisfaction for true beef lovers. Think of it like upgrading from regular flying to first class – once you experience luxury, it’s hard to go back!

Whether you’re treating yourself or an important guest, G1 certified beef represents the height of quality. With its buttery marbling, refined flavor, and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, every bite is worth savoring.

10 Specifications – Certified Angus Beef ® brand Meat Minutes (2022)


What is G1 grade meat?

G1 – Certified Angus Beef.

What’s the best grade of beef?

Prime beef is the highest grade a piece of beef can receive. If the USDA awards a prime quality grading, that means that the beef has abundant marbling, with 8-13% fat, and is from a young, well-fed cow. Only about 2-5% of beef sold in the foodservice industry receives this grading.

Is Certified Angus Beef better than USDA?

Since Angus is a breed and USDA Prime is a grade of beef it’s not a “this vs that” comparison. Angus beef can be graded as USDA Prime but could also grade as “Choice” or “Select.” Beef sourced from Angus cattle is often high quality, but diet, genetics, and handling practices all contribute to the final product.

Is Angus or AAA better?

The AAA-grade is a different kind of grading where various meat categories are determined by their marbling ability. The Angus AAA (unlike Prime with high amounts of marbling), has small amounts of marbling. However, just like Prime, this category of Angus meat is of a very high quality compared to AA, and A.

How is beef graded?

All beef is inspected for wholesomeness by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)*, and is graded for quality and consistency. You’ve heard of Prime, Choice and Select grades – and Prime tops the grading scale. Marbling plays a big role in quality grades. Marbling – the little white flecks in beef – is key to flavor.

What is Angus beef G1?

Certified Angus Beef G-1 Specification Phenotypic or genotypic requirements of the American Angus Association’s (AAA) LiveAnimal Specification, Classed as Steer and Heifer carcasses only1; U.S. Prime and Choice, and have a minimum marbling score of Modest 01;

What is certified Angus beef (cab)?

Certified Angus Beef (CAB) is a label for the truly exceptional Angus beef. Not all Angus beef could get this honor. Firstly, the beef must be USDA Prime or Choice grades, beef with lower grade would be knocked out immediately.

How is certified Angus beef ® graded?

A: Independent USDA graders inspect cattle and label them according to the grading scale: Prime, Choice, Select and several low-quality grades. Q: How is beef selected for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand? A: The same independent USDA graders inspect black-hided cattle (typical of the Angus breed) and give it a grade.

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