Fresh Meat: What to look for?

by zesty on May 28, 2009 · 11 comments

It is Thursday already which means I now really have 2 days to cram in 6 days worth of work.  Oh dear – this is not going to be pretty.   I have been asked a few times whether it be family and friends or even readers about what to look for when buying fresh meat.  Because I watch a lot of the food network and read a fair amount of reading material on food  – I think I can answer these questions.

steaks

For all my vegetarian readers… sorry!  I just want to take a few minutes of your time and hopefully shed some light on this topic.  Whether it be for grilling, roasting, poaching, frying or braising these tips are very important.

Are you purchasing the freshest meat and/or meat products from your local grocer? You certainly may think so, however, this may not be the case. There are some questionable practices meat department personnel may apply that you are unaware of. Meat and meat products are expensive and perishable. A no sale for the butcher becomes an unwelcome loss.  As a consumer, there are certain measures you can undertake to assure yourself a fresher, higher quality product.

1. Choose Wisely

  • When a meat item is on sale, take advantage of the cost. This is perhaps the best time to buy a fresh product. The demand will be greater; hence, there is less likelihood of it sitting on the shelf too long. If the package isn’t labeled “Choice”, the cut is most certainly “Select”. This type of meat is lower in quality and taste. Always find out which kind of meat is used before you make your selection. “Select” meats are good candidates for sale items: cheaper for the butcher to purchase, with a higher mark-up price. The consumer pays less and the grocer makes a higher profit. However, the quality is undeniably compromised. Your taste buds will be the final test!

beef

2. Color Can Help

  • When choosing fresh meat, color is always a good indicator. Beef will have a bright red color, pork will look pinkish and the skin on poultry should be white or pale yellow. Marbling gives the meat flavor, so look for thin white streaks for a juicier and more tender cut of beef.

pork

3. Go Lean

  • A lot of supermarkets offer boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, which are extra lean and full of flavor. The majority of pork cuts are lean, and most retailers offer fresh  extra-lean ground beef that’s produced on a daily basis.  More and more shoppers are opting for pork tenderloin, which is a better-for-you alternative protein that is low
    in fat and a source of iron and vitamin B12.

beef1

4. Do the Smell Test

  • Another quality identification is smell.  The product should have a normal smell.   This will be different for each of the species (i.e. beef, pork, chicken), but should vary only slightly within the specie.  Any rancid or strange smelling meat should be avoided.

So that are my four tips I use when buying meat.  I hope the next time you are shopping for your family you keep these in mind if you didn’t already know.  It is not rocket science but if you are not used to buying meat on a regular basis, the choices can be over whelming.

Site Update

I finally added a place where you can visually see to buy yourself some new zesty gear.  I encourage everyone to head over there and purchase something as all the profits are going directly to the food bank.  A great cause!

Around the Blogsphere

Angela at Ohsheglows is having a great giveaway forAlign Digestive Care Probiotic Supplement contest.  She is giving away two 30-day boxes.  So if you have not entered please head over here now and do so.

I am heading off to do some more packing yet again so I hope you have a great Thursday and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Take care

zesty

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alison

I’m a vegetarian, but still pay attention to issues surrounding organic/grassfed beef, free range chickens that aren’t fed antibiotics. Have you come across this in your reading and do you have any thoughts on that? From what I understand, grass fed beef is better for you and is richer in the vitamins and minerals beef is supposed to have, supposedly tastier too!

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2 Matt (No Meat Athlete)

But what about grass fed, hormone free, etc…? Not only is it better for you, it would do sooo much good for the environment (much more than can be done, for example, by not driving SUV’s anymore).

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3 Mara @ What's For Dinner?

Thanks for the hints!! I do enjoy when I can find “Choice” meat at the store…it’s few and far between, but SO good and worth the price.

Would you mind linking to my foodie charm giveaway? I don’t normally ask…but I think readers would love it! http://tr.im/mFE4

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4 Danica

Great meat post, Zesty – LOVED the pictures and the info!

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5 Gina

Great post, especially for this time of year!

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6 miss tiffie

thanks for the quickie.. but the thing that irks me is the places that COLOR their meats & fish >_<; ugh. any good way to spot those trickeries??

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7 girlbeerdrinker

Being a whitetail deer hunter, I eat alot of venison. Think about it, a deer eats grass and grains from farmers crops and look at how much leaner and better for you venison is than most of the beef out there. I also process my own venison, so I know exactly what is going on my plate.

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8 Angela

Thanks for the shout out! :)

PS- Eric LOVED this post of yours on meat! Thanks!!

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9 Tyler (Raspberry Runner)

This is really helpful! I love ordering steaks in restaurants or letting other people make it for me, but I am always hesitant to buy/prepare it myself! Maybe there could be a part 2 on meat cooking techniques?? I’m so clueless in this area!

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