How to Choose the Best Beef Cuts

Step in front of your meat counter and you’ll find lots of options and labels.

Illinois beef farmer Mike Martz of Larson Farms in Maple Park shares tips for choosing the tastiest beef and decoding those labels. Mike is a seasoned beef expert. With his wife and other family members, he has raised beef cattle for more than 30 years.

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Mike’s beef facts:
It’s like olive oil
Marbling, the flecks of fat in your steak, gives meat great flavor. Marbling is monounsaturated fatty acids (the same heart-healthy type found in olive oil!), which is actually good for you.

Grain-fed vs. grass-fed
All beef cattle start on grassy pasture. For the last few months, grain-fed cattle are fed a high-energy grain diet to give them more tenderness and marbling.

Questions about farming and your food?
Illinois Farm Families® invite you to find out what happens on today’s farms and see how your food is grown. Join the conversation with Illinois Farm Families at You’ll see Chicago-area moms tour Mike’s farm and other Illinois farms to ask the tough food questions and share what they find.