We all have our preferred cuts of meat- some people prefer chicken breasts, other pork chops while others would rather go for ground beef over anything else. The key to ensuring that you get the best cuts of meat while you are at the butcher’s store is to be as flexible as you can be, which will allow you to purchase what is available on sale or the cut that has the best deal so that you can enjoy the savings.
Meat can be a complicated thing to buy, so if you find yourself struggling to make a decision, then you should make the effort to consult with your butcher so that you can make an informed decision. If you are buying meat from the grocery store or at the supermarket, the last thing that you want is to buy a cut of meat that will end up tasting like cardboard. As such, here are a few things that you have to keep in mind when buying cuts of meat:
Tips On Selecting The Best Cuts of Meat
1. Get to know your butcher well
When you are buying meat from the grocery store or supermarket, it helps to get to know your butcher. Not only will you be more likely to learn what is fresh that day, but developing a good relationship with your butcher can also mean that your butcher will go the extra mile to give you the best cuts of meat.
The best way to know that you are buying high-quality cuts of meat is to work with a great and reliable butcher, to begin with. A skilled and qualified butcher that cares about the quality of his or her cuts will have the best pieces of meat on display, which will go a long way in helping to make the decision-making process straightforward and easy for you.
2. Pay attention to product dating
It can be quite confusing to make sense of the indicator date on a packet of meat especially when various product dating terms such as sell-by date have been used. If there is a misunderstanding with your product dating, you could end up buying meat that has expired or gone bad, which means that consuming it will definitely compromise your health and safety. So what do different product dating terms mean?
Sell by date: The sell-by date is used by the retailer so that the retailer can determine when the product should be removed from the shelf and disposed of. In general, you should try and use your meat 2 to 3 days before the sell-by date. If the sell-by date approaches, the retailer will try and mark it down to ensure that it flies off the shelf. If a package has a sell-by date, you should ensure to observe it because it is always safer to use it up before it expires. If the sell-by date expires after freezing a package, it should still be safe to eat once unfrozen.
Use or freeze by: When buying meat, you should store it immediately after purchase is that it can be used by the use by date. Freeze by dates tend to vary based on the species of the meat. Once you freeze your product, you should not have any issues if you consume it later.
Packed on: This date indicates the day on which the meat was packaged. Most cuts of meat can be stored and refrigerated for up to 3 days after packaging.
Please know that product dating is not a component that is required by federal regulations but many manufacturers tend to include it on any raw meat packaging to keep consumers safe. Try and buy packages of meat that are stacked underneath or out of reach- most stores will pack packages that have earlier sell-by dates on top so that they can be picked up and purchased first.
3. The colour of the meat matters
The colour of the meat can vary based on the cut or animal that the meat is coming from. In any case, fresh meat should have a bright and vibrant appearance to indicate freshness. The colour should also be uniform as discoloured spots all over the meat can be an indicator of poor storage or handling.
The freshest cuts of meat are also firm to the touch. If you are buying vacuum sealed meat, it should be cool to the touch. You should also be on the lookout for any punctures on the packaging and for signs of excess fluid. Any package of meat that comes with pools of red or pink juices should indicate that the meat was poorly stored or the meat has been in storage for prolonged periods and may not be safest to eat.
4. Purchase meat last when shopping
If you are shopping for a whole range of products, make your stop at the butcher’s the last one. Any meat that you purchase from the deli should be refrigerated or frozen upon purchase. You should never allow highly perishable food items such as meat to sit around in your shopping cart especially if you intend to stroll around different aisles of the grocery store. The more time your meat spends at room temperature, the more likely it is to grow unsafe bacterial that will certainly put your health at risk when consumed.
Fresh meat can contaminate other food items easily. As such, the best way to prevent cross-contamination from taking place is to have your meat packaged separately from all other food items. If you can, you should ensure that your meat is packaged in plastics bags and stored in an ice chest especially if your commute will take more than an hour. You should keep the ice chest in the passenger seat of your vehicle if you are driving around during warm weather. Ensure that you freeze or refrigerate your meat as soon as you get home.
Buying cuts of meat
There are numerous cuts of meat but there is no such thing as a bad cut; it all depends on what you are going for as well as your preference. Beef should ideally be red in colour with the most tender cut being the loin while the toughest cut will be labelled skirt or flank.