If you get daunted at the butcher station at your local grocery store, you are not alone. But butchers in meat markets can help, especially when you want to save money and don’t have expert-level knowledge in the kitchen.
See some butchers’ best tips when it comes to purchasing meat, including their most important piece of advice:
1. Don’t believe the hype
Like other meat markets, the meat case can add some sneaky labelling. Despite all the hype, expert butchers told Reader’s Digest “certified Angus beef” doesn’t always mean better quality. Instead, look for the label that says “USDA quality grade.” The “prime” label represents the best and most pricey level, followed by “choice,” “select,” and “standard.”
2. Butchers in meat markets do a lot of window dressing
Look, Meat doesn’t always look pretty. Butchers know that, so they work hard to make sure the product looks appealing to the consumers. Butchers told Reader’s Digest they often flip brown meat over, trim off fat, and wash away that red liquid.
The growing popularity of unusual cuts and snout-to-tail meals means more of us feel comfortable with the reality of butchering. But, many people also would rather not know what the meat looks like fresh off the carcass. So butchers in meat markets ensure your meat looks pretty enough to eat.
3. Don’t get fooled by packaging
If you choose the family pack at your grocery store, you might want to think about it. Butchers say the regular size often comes out cheaper than bigger packages. You also don’t have to stick to the case. Butchers will happily chop down bigger roasts for you.
4. You can save on different cuts
Your recipe might need pork chops, but you can always save money by purchasing a whole pork loin and have the butcher slice it up for you. The same goes for a lot of other cuts, so ask your butcher for assistance. They know which meats work for which recipes.
5. Use these tips for fresher meat
For the freshest meat, use the same strategy you do when buying milk and eggs. Grab the meat at the bottom of the stack or the farthest in back, where it stays coldest.
Also, don’t forget to look at the packaging date. The freshest meat gets packaged a day or two before it ends up on sale. Some companies add carbon monoxide in the packaging to keep meat from turning brown, so you do not rely on looks only.
6. Yes, fattier meat tastes better
Have you ever thought why your favourite fast-food burger tastes so much better than at home, you have fat content to thank for that.
7. Always read ingredient lists, even for meat
We all want the most natural food we can buy, but don’t always believe what the sticker says. Even if a chicken wing package says “100% natural,” read the ingredients.
Manufacturers often inject them with broth, saltwater, or seaweed extract to give chicken breasts that fresh appearance. You’ll see that information on the ingredient list, so it pays to do a little checking. When it comes to purchasing meat, knowledge is power.
8. Repacking can prevent freezer burn
We all hate freezer burn, but you can avoid it. rather than throwing your packaged meat directly into the freezer when you get home, take a minute to protect it.
Remove it from the tray and wrap it with some plastic wrap or aluminium foil. Next, place that in a freezer bag, and remove as much air as you can. That technique will keep the meat fresh longer than the store packaging.
9. Your butcher can lead you in the right direction
You can also be a little picky at meat markets. Don’t fear to check out the packaged meat case if you don’t see your preferred cut at the counter. Your butcher can help you adjust it.
10. Make friends with your butcher
Underly encourages buyers to always chat with the butcher. If you have questions about cooking times, seasonings, or even storing your meat, go ahead and ask. By making friends with the professional, you can save money and up your kitchen game, as well.