Sorting through the Cuts of Meat
In 2011, Americans consumed about 25.6 billion pounds of meat. The many types of meat available on the market, and the many names for each of the cuts of meat can make sorting through what’s what very difficult. The easiest way to begin when purchasing meat, for those who are less familiar with all the cuts of meat, is to consider which cooking methods you would like to use for what you plan to prepare. More experienced chefs, with menus that change daily, may choose to purchase the freshest, best product they can find on a given day, and use the meat as a platform for creating a new dish. For others, once a desired dish is decided on, a cut of meat can be selected based on desired quality and outcome. A stew, for example, can use a relatively inexpensive type of meat, since it will cook for hours, whereas a steak should be of the highest quality possible.
Logistics of choosing Meat
Dishes such as stew, with slow-cook meat also “suffer” less when frozen meat is used, compared to other dishes with quick cooking methods. Freezing meat is usually lowers the quality of the product because water expands when it becomes ice, bursting the cells that hold the blood, and making the meat dryer. Defrosted meat will also be lighter in weight. This is most destructive when using ground beef. If a business chooses to freeze their meat despite the negative effects, blast freezers can be useful at maintaining food safety by quickly lowering the temperature of the meat. A high quality blast freezer may also allow the ice crystals to freeze quickly, causing them to be smaller and have less of a detrimental impact on the meat. Another choice that businesses can make is to purchase grass fed beef or corn fed beef. There is a definite difference in taste between the two. Most of the meat sold in the United States is from corn fed beef. Grass fed beef is considered healthier, but many diners may not be familiar with the taste, making it risky for some restaurant menus.
The best meat is fresh meat…sometimes. Nowadays some meat is aged under controlled conditions, improving the taste and making it softer. If meat is not aged, however, a firm touch and a red appearance indicate fresh cuts of meat. On the other hand, softer, browner, and slimy meat points to a product that is not as fresh as it should be. When in doubt about the freshness of meat, it is better to forgo the purchase, since the bacteria in old meat can be extremely dangerous.
After Purchasing meat
There are many factors to consider when purchasing meat. However, quickly analyzing the quality of a type of meat quickly becomes second nature for those purchasing meat. With a little experience, it will take almost no effort to select a cut and have it in the slow cooker, or on the grill, in no time at all.