Meat Selection 101: Tips and Tricks (VIDEO)
Choosing beef and pork that’s too lean ranks as the No. 1 buying mistake, meat experts say.
“I think the biggest consumer misunderstanding is when people, especially with beef, want to buy leaner cuts that don’t have marbling in them or not a lot of fat. But fat is flavor,” says Brandon Klehm, meats judging coach and meat science outreach coordinator at the University of Illinois. “Those higher marbled steaks or that ground chuck versus ground round will be more flavorful on your burger bun or on your plate with mashed potatoes. Animal fat is healthier than processed fat. A little bit of fat is not a bad thing.”
That said, select beef and pork cuts for marbling and the following characteristics:
Beef Selection Tips
- Look for nice marbling, the little white flecks of fat in beef. It’s key to flavor.
- Choose beef with a bright cherry-red color. Note that beef in a sealed bag typically has a darker purplish-red color. When exposed to the air, it will turn a bright red.
- Beef should be firm to the touch.
- Select a package that is cold with no holes or tears and without excessive liquid.
- “Prime” beef tops the grading scale, followed by “Choice” and “Select” grades.
Pork Selection Tips
- Choose pork with a pinkish-red color. Avoid meat that is pale in color and has liquid in the package.
- Select pork that has marbling, or small flecks of fat, which adds flavor.
- Avoid pork with dark-colored bone.
- Any fat on the meat should be white with no dark spots.
See more: Do you know your cut of pork?
Source: Illinois Farm Bureau