How should one approach buying meat? First, you should decide whether to go to a butcher’s shop or a supermarket counter for purchases. In either case, you must be certain that the quality of the animal feed is certified, and the meat contains no additives, hormones, toxic residues, or medicaments.
What to buy depends on the type of dish you intend to prepare. Start from the most expensive cuts: “prime” cuts all come from the hindquarter of the animal and require rapid cooking, like sirloin, fillet, and rump. The “secondary” cuts come from the forequarter, while the “third” best cuts are taken from the neck, belly, and shoulders. Finally, there are offal and the other less expensive parts, such as the head, feet, liver, and stomach.
Another important factor to bear in mind while purchasing red meat is the amount of time it has hung to mature. In large-scale retail distribution, no more than one week goes by between butchering and over-the-counter sales, but quality butchers will extend this time by 20 to 40 days. The longer the meat is hung, the more tender and tasty it will be. Another visual indication is marbling or the name given to the veins of fat running through the meat. Look for the white streaks within the piece of meat, which will guarantee the tenderness of the meat once it is cooked.
To summarize, here are some questions that you can put to your butcher to show just how well informed you are:
• What breeds do you sell, and where does your meat come from?
• What cut do you recommend for boiling or stewing?
• How long has this cut been hung to mature?
• Is this meat organically farmed meat from animals bred in the open-air?
• Does this meat come from non-intensive, local farms?
• Do you own your own slaughterhouse for the ultimate quality guarantee?
And, don’t forget to look out for very dark bits on the edges of the meat, which indicate poor storage and refrigeration. Similarly, the presence of pink-colored water in the bottom of refrigerated trays used for storing meat means that it has been pumped with water.
Making our residents’ lives easier and more enjoyable is a primary goal of ours at Oxford at the Ranch Apartments in Waller, Texas. We hope that these new ideas add convenience to your day-to-day routine!