Graded for Greatness - Canadian Beef | Canada Beef

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Look for Canadian beef that makes the grade for you.

Grade Expectations

When you bite into a juicy steak or roast, you want to enjoy the highest quality beef. Canadian beef grades help ensure that your beef has been meticulously chosen to deliver a delicious experience every time.

Here’s how to choose from Canada’s best – and some of the world’s finest – beef to inspire your inner chef and tantalize your taste buds.


A good value choice offering lower levels of *marbling and typically fewer calories than Canada AAA and Prime Grades. Canada AA beef can be tender and flavourful and performs well with all popular cooking methods.


A great choice for high-quality beef. Canada AAA offers higher levels of marbling than Canada AA and is well suited for all popular cooking methods. Canada AAA will become a delicious family favourite when grilled, broiled, simmered or roasted to perfection


An extraordinary choice for exclusive steakhouses, hotels and serious home chefs. Canada Prime is selected for maximum marbling, flavour and juiciness and only available in limited supply.

Canadian Beef Grading Basics

Any cut of beef can be The Best Cut – it is most important to choose the right cut for the cooking method that you want to use.

For example, grilled on the barbecue as a kabob, Stewing Beef cubes may not be very tender . . . but slowly simmered in a savoury blend of broth and red wine and Stewing Beef can become one of the most tender, flavourful beef cuts.

Making the Grade

Canada AAA-grade beef consistently delivers an outstanding eating experience due to its high degree of marbling. Marbling refers to the small white flecks of fat that contribute to the flavour, juiciness and tenderness of beef.

Source: Canadian Beef Grading Agency – Jan 1 to Dec 24, 2021. The above illustrations are reduced reproductions of official USDA marbling photographs, prepared for the U.S. Department of Agriculture by and available from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Watch this video to learn more on how beef grades are established based on multiple factors such as characteristics of colour, texture and marbling.


Canada has a comprehensive Meat Inspection System in place to help ensure Canadians have access to a safe, wholesome food supply. Inspection is not related to eating quality or Grading.
Inspection can take place at the federal, provincial and municipal government levels


Beef Grading can indicate the amount of marbling in the meat. Grading is a voluntary process for Canadian beef, but Inspection for safety is mandatory.
Canada’s Top Grades, ranging from most to least marbling are: Canada Prime (available mainly in restaurants), Canada AAA, Canada AA or Canada A.
Beef can be sold ungraded, but eating quality can vary. Grading has nothing to do with Inspection.


Marbling can enhance the juiciness and flavour of beef. It refers to the amount of fine white flecks of fat that you see running through the lean meat.
Beef Grading can indicate the amount of marbling in the meat.


Aging can dramatically improve beef tenderness and flavour. In the aging process, beef is held at controlled temperatures and humidity for a period of time. During this time, enzymes naturally occurring in the meat break down some of the connective tissue that contributes to toughness.
For enhanced eating quality, look for beef that is aged at least 10 to 14 days. Check with your meat counter representative for details about the aging policy of the beef they sell.
Beef CANNOT be safely aged in a home refrigerator.