Visiting the meat market is always an experience. You will be amazed at how fast time will pass while speaking with meat sellers about meat and trying to make the best choices. In this post, I will be discussing some important tips to help you choose the best cuts for lamb, beef, pork, poultry and ham when you want to pressure cook the meat.
Checking the label
It is important to have a look at the label of packaged meat you want to buy. This label displays important information such as the date by which the meat must be consumed and preservation tips. In some places, it is not mandatory to indicate these dates according to the Federal regulations. However, many meat sellers include this information to make buyers comfortable when buying meat.
Depending on your planned cooking methods, you may consider the texture of the meat. Overall, it is a good idea to buy fresh meat; you can find out when the meat was processed from the seller. Buying from one meat seller will help you form a good relationship to get this information easily.
Here is how to identify fresh meat; the color will be bright red because it has just been exposed to oxygen. You can also determine fresh meat by observing the label if it looks neat without any signs of wear; it probably has just been processed. Fresh meat also has less liquid in its packaging.
When you go shopping for products and groceries generally, buying meat should be the last activity during your market trip. This strategy will help you reduce the time your meat is away from a cold temperature needed for preservation. You should also ensure that fresh meat is kept away from other products you have bought. If you plan to make a few stops after buying meat, you can pack some ice to keep your meat cool before you reach your home. Quickly put the meat in a freezer if you do not plan to cook it immediately.
The Best Cuts Of Meat For Pressure Cooking
Pressure cooking is one of the best methods for beef cuts. Your goal should be to choose beef from young cattle; this meat can be roasted or used for steaks.
Here’s how to identify and choose the best cuts for beef/veal
Identify the grade
For the best results, you should buy high-grade meat; the best choices include meat cut from the loins and ribs. Meats from these parts of cattle are tender and have more flavour. You can also cook the meat in different ways and get good results. Meat can be cooked in dry heat while carefully observing the temperature to avoid overcooking. To avoid making guesses, you can invest in a kitchen thermometer to determine the temperature of the meat while cooking. At 170 0 F, your meat should be cooked and ready.
Regarding the grade, there are two main grades of beef. They are the commercial grade and utility grade.
Commercial grade is the meat you can find in stores already processed and packaged for the consumer. The canned/utility grade are processed and sold to companies who plan to use the beef for pastries, and other products.
You may choose meat with lean fat or juicer parts of the cattle. Meat from the loins and ribs can be adequately cooked in dry heat because they are tender and already contain moisture. On the other hand, you should marinate beef cuts from other parts of the cattle to achieve the right tenderness and improve flavour.
On the other hand, the more tender and juicy cuts from veal or calf can be graded into five categories. They are the prime grade, good grade, utility grade, standard grade and the choice grade. These grades differ in their features such as flavour, tenderness, and color. Meat cut from the younger animals is usually a lighter shade of grey or pink. The texture of these different grades will also be different; if you like meat with softer bones, then these grades will be perfect. You should opt for the standard and choice grades if you are pressure cooking.
Selecting pork cuts for pressure cooking
Pork cuts are generally tender because the farmers cut the meat from young hogs that have been well fed. However, the best pork cuts are those with a minimal trace of fat on the outer part of the meat. You can also look out for the color; the best pork cuts have a pink shade with some traces of gray. Regarding flavour and tenderness, this will depend on the marbling on the pork cut.
Pork has a particular consistency regarding its texture that makes it perfect for pressure cooking. Following your cooking time and recipe, the pork cuts can be roasted, or grilled after cooking and you will still get the tenderness and flavour from the pork.
Selecting Lamb cuts for pressure cooking
Meat from lamb has been categorised into five grades. They are the choice and prime grade (which are mainly for retail) and the utility, good and cull grades for food companies that need the meat for other uses. Lamb cuts are best chosen from the animals that are less than one year old; this meat is of high-quality and gives excellent results when pressure cooked.
Lamb cuts are highly sought because they are tender, juicy, and have a rich flavour. The choice grade of lamb also has less marbling, so you can choose this grade if you don’t want too much marbling. Cuts for these two grades are from the legs, and shoulders they can be also be dry cooked. Cuts from the breast, neck and shank are tougher and can be pressure cooked.
Buying poultry cuts for pressure cooking
The classifications for poultry cuts according to the USDA make it easy to select the highest grades in the market. The grades are A, B, and C. Grade A poultry cuts have a higher quality than grade B and C which are processed and used in other good industries. This classification is an indication that poultry meat has no defects or discoloration. The bones are usually intact, and there are no bruises on the skin. The best tip to buy poultry cut for pressure cooking is this; buy poultry cuts with a lot of flesh and meat, these parts have fats underneath that improve the flavour.