What is Angus Beef?

The variety of beef, quality grades, and marketing tricks can confuse you when deciding what to buy. In this article, we will explain what Angus is, how it differs from other types of beef, and answer the most popular myths associated with the term. 

What is Angus Beef?

The term “Angus” is not used to describe the grade of beef. Angus is a cattle breed that comes from a cow called Aberdeen Angus. It is a Scottish breed of cattle bred to be hardy, muscular, and without horns. 

Angus beef is well known for its high amount of marbling and great juicy flavors. It is essential to understand what marbling is and what impact it has. In short, marbling affects the meat’s moistness, tenderness, and flavor.

two raw angus steaks
two raw angus steaks

What does “Certified Angus Beef” mean? 

Certified Angus Beef (CAB) is simply a brand with a registered trademark designed to sell quality beef. Certified means that the meat meets quality standards. Certified Angus Beef must be USDA Choice (one of the two upper levels) or USDA Prime. Then the beef must pass 10 quality control standards.

Why is Angus beef more expensive? The answer is simple: an organization known as the American Angus Association charges a fee for certifying cattle. 

Many people dislike “Certified Angus Beef” because there is no 100% guarantee that the meat comes from pure Angus cattle. The main factor during the control is that the cattle have black hide. Some also point out the banning of red Angus, which differs from black Angus only in color (The color of the cattle does not affect the quality of the meat). 

Angus Beef vs. USDA Prime and Choice

Comparing Angus beef and USDA Prime or USDA Choice is a fundamental mistake made by people who do not understand the abovementioned terms. The term “‘Angus” refers to a breed of cattle. “USDA Prime” and “USDA Choice” are ratings for the highest quality beef in the US. 

Angus beef can be graded as USDA Prime, Choice, Select, and other low-quality grades (learn more about the USDA grading system). However, “Certified Angus beef must be USDA Prime or USDA Choice and meet another ten additional requirements by CAB brand (Certified Angus Beef).

Certified Angus Beef vs USDA Prime

Certified Angus Beef (CAB) is a brand name owned by America’s Angus Association (a private company) and its member ranchers. USDA Prime is a grade of beef with abundant marbling that makes the meat tender and juicy. Beef labeled “Certified Angus” is USDA select or prime grading. That means you usually pay a lot for the brand name. 

It’s worth comparing different cuts of beef with each other to ensure you’re not overpaying for the brand alone. Pay special attention to the amount of marbling; the more, the better.

Angus Beef vs. Japanese Wagyu – What is the Difference?

Wagyu refers to beef from any Japanese cattle, while Angus comes from one breed. Both types of beef (Angus and Wagyu) are high quality and very well-marbled. You can feel the difference in taste. Top-grade wagyu beef is more tender and flavorful than Angus Beef.

Japanese farmers raise their cattle in strict accordance with traditional techniques. Consequently, these beef products retain their high quality. Wagyu Beef is also far rarer in the US than Angus Beef, which is the reason for the big difference in prices.

See what exactly wagyu beef is to understand better the differences listed above.


The most important information, Angus is a breed, not a type of meat or classification. Certified Angus Beef is a brand name. Remember, not all Angus beef is labeled as Certified Angus. After reading the entire guide, we hope you are more confident in your beef purchases.

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow, the founder of Steak Revolution, is a true steak enthusiast. His primary goal is to help others perfect their steak-cooking skills.