As you look through the meat section at your local grocery store you are probably like so many others asking yourself if the steaks you have chosen is really good meat. Here are some tips on how to make sure you buy good meat.
Why go for second choice while no1 quality meat is easily obtainable.
- The quality grade does not necessarily mean that you will be getting good meat. Some cuts of meat are just naturally more tender than others. You should look for cuts from the less used muscles along the back such as the rib and loin sections. The shoulder, flank and leg cuts will be tougher.
- The USDA beef quality grade is like this prime, choice, select, standard, commercial, utility, cutter and canner. The best beef that you can find is of course prime, but this is very hard to find and does come with a large price tag. Most of the beef that you find at your local grocery will be choice, select or standard. Standard is usually sold as un-graded or as “brand name” meat
- Roast and steaks should be firm. Do not purchase soft or squishy feeling roast or steaks no matter the type of meat.
- Check the sale by date and no buy after that date. You should buy the meat either before or on the day that is the “sell by date”.
- Check the packaging for any type of damage. The meat should be cold and wrapped securely.|
- The package should not contain any moisture. This could mean that the temperature of the meat has been above 40 degrees and that will cause the taste of your meat to be less quality.
- Look for beef that is bright red in color and has thin creamy white fat evenly distributed throughout the roast or steak. On the other hand, veal should not be bright red; it should be almost white in color or lightly pink.
- Before you buy any meat find out if it has been injected with flavorings. You do not want to purchase any meat that has been injected with flavorings, this can cause your meat to break down and become mushy.
- Do your own tenderizing. Do not buy meat that has been tenderized by the butcher. He uses piercing products that allows the natural flavor and juices to escape from your meat and this will be produce a tough and un-flavorful meal. Try to purchase dry aged if at all possible. This type of meat will probably only be found at a butcher shop. Dry aging is a process where the meat is taken from the bag that it arrives in to the butcher and is hung in a cooler for a certain amount of time to dry out. This will make the cost go up, but the aging adds more flavor and also tenderizes the meat. If you buy your steak from the local grocery, the steak has been cut, wrapped in plastic and has aged on the way to the store.
- When in doubt, talk with your butcher. He can answer all your questions regarding the different types of meat, cuts and may even have some great recipes for you to try.