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Tony Montana Joined
Aug / 2009

No Roll Tenderloin

Theoretical Question.

USDA grading of meat is primarly concerned with marbling.  Since the tenderloin is not a marbled cut does it really matter if it a prime or choice grade?  for that matter what is a no-roll tenderloin like?  I suppose that most of the cattle that are no-roll/not graded are probably old dairy cows but how would that affect the tenderloin.  Has anyone ever used a no-roll tenderloin?


Feb / 2002

I would say it depends on your application.

If you are placing a tenderloin front and center grilled R-MR and expect it to stand on its own and you are charging for it, than I would say Prime or Choice.

If you are doing a large party that is price conscious but still wants a little bang and a little sauce you might be able to get away with select.  

If you are going to put it in a chafing dish and smother it in sauce and stuff for a buffet than no roll will work just fine.

Mar / 2010

There are several different factors involved when it comes to the USDA grading system, age of the animal, color and texture of the fat, color of the meat, and of course the marbling in the rib roast which is now determined by digital camera and computer system instead of a person. The quality of beef these days really sucks IMO, the beef that is able to make the Choice grade barely would have made it as select a few decades ago.

As for tenderloins, I agree with junkie. You may be able to get away with a no-roll or utility grade loin in some instances, but forget about trying to use utility grade for a succulent steak cooked to M-R. I do BBQ, and I will not use a brisket that is not at least choice grade becuase the quality just is not there, and to have a quality finished product, you need to start with quality raw ingredients.

Feb / 2003

The biggest difference I recognize in tenderloins through the grading system is shape. A no-roll tenderloin is not firm, not normally as round, and just doesn't make a very attractive steak. There is only a difference in marbling when you get to a prime or authentic kobe tenderloin. In my experience, the rest is comparable on marbling, but the lower the grade, the "looser" the meat and the less attractive the steak. That said, I have used no-roll tenderloin for steaks before, but only because they looked and felt better than normal and we were on a budget.

The best thing to do would be to have your rep break a case and send you one tenderloin, then trim it, cut it and see what the steaks look like. If you can find a use for the rest of the tenderloin without losing money on it, maybe you can get 5 or 6 steaks that still look decent out of one no-roll tender.

Apr / 2006

I've had this discussion with different people before.  If you cut them up to look the same, then cook them the same, I defy anyone to be able to tell the difference between a choice and a no-roll tenderloin steak. ESPECIALLY if are saucing it.

I agree with Brandon that the yield is lower with a no-roll.

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