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We’re going shopping! Tips and tricks for buying and cooking quality meat
here are many doubts that arise when we go to buy meat, and there are many details to take into account that we usually do not know or have not stopped to think. That’s why today we want to talk to you from our blog about the types of cuts of beef that exist, some tips when buying meat and tricks to cook it and that you get.
Yes, although they are not always very objective, there are several categories to take into account. Each piece is normally classified according to the amount of nervous tissue it contains.
The different cuts of beef cattle are classified into several categories :
- Extra : high loin, low loin and sirloin
- First A : hip, cap, contra, stifle, cap and fish
- First B : Needle, counter stock, round and shoulder
- Second : Neck, tail, skirt, rib, flat, chest, arm, fin and blood sausage
What is each type of cut appropriate for?
- Sirloin : this is undoubtedly the most sought-after piece of beef. Ideal for roasting, whole for the oven or cut for steaks.
- High loin : roast beef. It is the one that provides the entrecote.
- Low loin : grill.
- Chuck : roast, stew or braise.
- Rack of ribs : broths, stews and stews.
- Needle : cook, stew or roast. There are also those who use it for steaks
- Fin : used to fill
- Stifle : whole piece.
- Hip : steaks
- Against : fillets and also very rich if it is grilled.
- Skirt : broth or also to fill.
And when buying, which one is better?
We always recommend buying quality and sustainably produced meat such as that produced.
The color of the meat also indicates its quality and how fresh it is . There are some factors that determine that the meat has one or another color, but the fundamental one is the myoglobin that it has. Myoglobin is a pigment that contains iron and fulfills the same function in muscle as hemoglobin in blood, that is, it transports and stores the oxygen necessary for tissue function.
When we go to the butcher shop, we always stop to look at the color of the meat, it gives us many clues. For example, older beef has a darker red color due to the high myoglobin content. Thus a dark meat indicates that the animal is older.
In addition, we have to take into account the color of the fat, as this also indicates the age of the animal. If the fat is white, it means that the piece of meat comes from a young animal and therefore you can taste a more tender meat. If the fat is somewhat yellowish, the meat belongs to an older animal.
At the labeling level, the regulations are very clear. This must indicate the type of animal from which it comes, the name of the piece, category and clear sale price . In addition, the markets also show the traceability of the animal and the path it has followed to the point of sale.
Some tricks to cook meat like a real chef …
Fry or cook
You already know that hamburgers do not even require oil due to their high content of Omega 3 and unsaturated fatty acids, however, to fry a good steak instead of cooking it, we are going to take into account two key aspects:
- The pan should be wide for the piece and with a little oil
- The pan and the oil must be very hot before putting the meat
What is the ideal doneness?
You already know that colors suit your taste, so when we go to a restaurant they always ask us if we want the piece, undercooked? to the point? Or well done?
Which one do you prefer? The truth is that the more cooked the meat is, the more juice it will have lost and the faster it will dry.
TIP: If you are one of those who ask for well cooked meat, always ask for a thin cut, so the heat will take less time to reach the center and it does not get to scorch on the outside
When is it better to add salt to meat?
It is always advisable to add the salt at the end since if it is done at the beginning the meat dehydrates quickly and loses juiciness, so it can be much drier and harder.
Did you know that the cut influences the quality of the steak?
That’s right, although it may seem silly, cutting is an art and it is worth taking a good look at when preparing a steak. If an incorrect cut is made, we can also lose juiciness and the meat can dry out faster. That is why the recommendation is to always do it perpendicular to the direction of the fiber.
Six tips and two tricks for buying quality meat
Today, most people no longer know how to buy meat . Between the lack of time and the acquisition of the products in trays, most of the people I know buy this product for its appearance, without knowing how to choose the best pieces. That is why today I want to give you six tips and two tricks to buy quality meat.
I remember very well how I learned to buy meat, accompanying my mother or my grandmother to the market. She knew which cuts were good for frying, breading or stewing, and she listened to him ask for each cut by name. These are my tips for you to buy better meat.
How to buy quality meat
We all have the idea that the best meat in the world is that of our people , which, as is well known, also makes the best sausages, etc. Anyway, -especially when we travel- we discover that in other areas of our country or in other countries of the world, there are also very rich meats, even, although it pains us to admit it, better than those we know more about .
The meat that we usually buy is very different , in the supermarket or in the hypermarket or in department stores, because the vast majority of us do not go to the markets every day or buy in specialized stores or butchers.
In supermarkets we can distinguish the packaged meat that we find refrigerated in trays covered with transparent film and that which is dispatched by the butcher -many times a non-professional in the sector who barely knows how to cut the fillets-, from whom we order the pieces we need.
Selection, races and protected Geographical Indications
In a workshop I attended at the Madrid butcher’s CarniCO, they told me that when buying meat, we often think that a certain breed of animal or meat from a PGI will be better than meat whose origin we do not know. Sorry, there are no affers in your region at this time. But as with wine, the breed or origin of the animals – it would be equivalent to the grapes – does not guarantee that we will be faced with good meat, in the same way that not all wines of a certain Denomination of Origin are the same. good .
In meat, as in wine, factors other than breed influence , such as the animal’s diet, how healthy it is and even the well-being it has had throughout its life, which will determine the final quality. In addition, other factors such as the sex of the animal, its age, etc.
Finally, another very important aspect – also similar to the evolution of wine in the winery – is the maturation of the meat or the process of converting the muscle into meat, which will determine the nuances and quality of the meat that we are going to buy.
Six tips for buying quality meat
One : Try to buy the meat from a butcher you know . So you can interact with it and learn which cuts you like the most, to visually recognize them and choose the ones that suit you best. If the person who dispatches you changes every day in your usual store, you will not be able to advance in your knowledge about cuts of meat.
Two: Always ask about the origin of the animal and look at the meat labels where the breed, origin, name of the piece and other important information should come to choose one cut or another. Do not hesitate to ask the age of the animal
Three : Learn to distinguish the existing types of meat:
In the same workshop I was talking about before, they explained to me the characteristics of the different types of meat that exist in the market and can be found in butchers and supermarkets:
- White or suckling veal: It makes up 1% of the meat that is produced and normally comes from Holland or France. These are animals less than 6 months old at the time of slaughter. It is not highly recommended to buy this meat since these animals do not usually eat from their mothers but instead feed on powdered milk and their meat has little flavor. It is usually the one chosen for children or for the elderly because it is thought to be more tender but I do not recommend it, I prefer quality pink veal.
- Pink calf: These are animals over 6 months and less than a year old, which have been fed for about 6 to 8 months from their mother and which finish their nutrition a few months before slaughter with a period of fattening with feed, forage and cereals.
- Yearling: In general it refers to animals that are more than one year old but are not yet steers or cows. For others, since the labeling rules do not make this issue clear, it refers to males, (calves) as opposed to veal. Common sense says that the animal of more than one year and less than 20 months is yearling regardless of its sex.
- Heifer: Refers to animals older than 20 months and less than 4 years
- Cow , for meat from animals over 4 years old
- Ox , a castrated male animal between 6 and 9 months of age, slaughtered over 4 years of age, or fattened, when slaughtered before 4 years of age.
Four : Learn the names of the cuts you like
Never order tender steaks or minced meat without specifying which piece you want. Learn how to choose tapilla or contra steaks when you want to make them grilled or shoulder or hip if you are going to breach them . Ask for a sirloin headboard or needle for your stews or choose the corner or shoulder when you want to grill a piece.
Learn from experience and if you like it, repeat that cut until you always know what meat to order.
Five : Trust the view.
If your butcher’s counter drips water or meat juices onto the tray – or you see the plastic wrap around the meat wet with blood, that meat will probably not be very good. Try to choose pieces that look whole and do not drip juices . Also look at the color of the piece, the marbling or infiltrated fat and the proportion of lean and fat.
And six : Dare to try other cuts and ask your butcher.
If you see a piece that you do not know or want to try cooking a dish that you have never made, ask for advice and thus you will learn other recipes or ways of cooking other cuts. If on our website you see a recipe that appeals to you, do not hesitate to ask your butcher for the specific cut so that you can make the recipe as we have told you about it.
Tip 1: how to maintain the quality of meat at home
In addition to these six tips, I want to give you a tip that can also come in handy, and is practical for the correct conservation of meat at home . It is important to keep the meat in good condition when you make a large purchase or bring it from town.
If you are not going to eat it today, it is very important to freeze the meat. And it is also convenient to learn how to do it both when freezing as well as defrosting. I am not saying that you freeze the meat when you buy it, since for example, some steaks will be in good condition for three or four days in your fridge. But if you are not going to eat them within that period, it is best to freeze them the first day, and not wait for the third or fourth to make that decision.
By freezing the meat wrapped in kitchen film , -and if you want with a second layer of aluminum foil on top- and labeling it correctly to identify it from what we keep in the freezer, we can consume the meat in very good condition when we need it.
To do this, we will defrost it slowly , moving it from the freezer to the coldest part of the fridge and after a slow defrosting of 24 hours, we will have it perfect, almost the same as when we bought it. Remember: Freeze fast and defrost slow.
Tip 2: Pay special attention to minced meat
In some cuts such as minced meat, we will only keep it in the fridge for 24 hours freezing it if we are not going to use it during that time since the risks of contamination by bacteria are very high in this cut. Use or freeze immediately. Remember our trick to freezing minced meat in portions.
If you are not sure what you are going to do with it , it is almost preferable to buy a tray of the ones that are prepared because those have additives that help to preserve it. If you choose to order a piece of meat to be minced, make sure they only run it through the machine once and use it immediately.
I hope that these six tips for buying quality meat and the two tricks to keep it at home come in handy for you and you will put them into practice. This way you will discover how the flavor of the meat changes when a quality product is bought and it is preserved properly.
- PAY ATTENTION TO THE LABELING OF THE LAMB MEAT.
One of the points that we must never forget when buying any type of food is the label, which is extensive to lamb meat. It does not matter that we buy the lamb meat packed in the fresh shelf or in bulk at our favorite butcher shop, the label must be visible to us and if it is not, we can ask the butcher to show it to us. He will be happy to do so.
By reading the label we will make sure of the origin of the meat, if the meat is fresh, what is the denomination of sale of the animal (suckling, recental or Pascual), that it has been born, raised or slaughtered in Spain or elsewhere and many things plus. To know them we recommend reading the article The labeling of lamb meat, what information does it give us?
- WHEN BUYING LAMB MEAT MAKE SURE THAT THE APPEARANCE OF THE MEAT IS CORRECT.
In addition to reading the label, we can evaluate the freshness of the meat paying attention to its appearance. As a warning we will say that fresh lamb meat (that in which only two or three days have passed since slaughter) has a firm appearance and without moisture, so do not trust its quality if you see other characteristics with the naked eye.
Furthermore, the lamb meat has a characteristic color, a pearly pink in the suckling pigs, a more vivid color in the recentals and a marked pinkish in the paschal ones. Be wary of any other color.
- WEIGH UP THE PARTS OF THE LAMB THAT WILL DO THE BEST JOB ON YOUR PLATES.
That lamb is delicious in any of its versions is a fact. However, there are parts of the carcass that give better results in some recipes than in others. While grills call for ribs and lamb chops, spoon stews are spectacular using shank of lamb or brisket. You can learn much more about which part of lamb is ideal for which dish, reading the article Do you know the parts of lamb or? What to buy at the butcher shop
- CALCULATE THE AMOUNT WHEN BUYING LAMB MEAT.
Reducing the amount of food we waste is a priority for more and more families, as is preparing delicious meats that leave diners satisfied. If there is an article that can help us achieve this double objective, it is this: Alone, as a couple, with the family or for a banquet, how much lamb do I buy?
Among the tips that you will find in the aforementioned post, perhaps the most important, is to take into account 3 variables when calculating the amount of lamb you will need to buy. These are:
- The recipe to make
- The part of the lamb that you will need.
- The number of diners who are going to sit at the table.
- After buying lamb meat it is necessary to pay attention to its conservation.
Continuing with strategies to avoid food waste, another basic aspect is the mode of conservation.
Buy the lamb meat suppliers uk fresh and transport it in an insulated bag. Come home as soon as possible, if possible, directly from the butcher shop. If you are going to consume it in a short space of time, put it in the fridge. If, on the other hand, you estimate that it will still take a few days before cooking it, it will be better to use the freezer.
Then you just have to defrost it before cooking. The most advisable way to defrost is to put the meat in the refrigerator. Although it will defrost slowly, you will not break the cold chain and that is very important to preserve the nutritional qualities of the meat.