20 Secrets Your Butcher Won’t Tell You
Butchers share how to save money and pick the freshest meat.
We know how to avoid freezer burn
If you throw your meat straight into the freezer in the packaging it came in, freezer burn is a virtual certainty. Instead, take the meat off the tray, re-wrap it with plastic food wrap or aluminum foil, then put it in a Ziploc freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Here are more myths about frozen food you should stop believing.
You’ve been wrong about London Broil this whole time
London Broil is a cooking method, not a cut of meat. A package labeled that way is probably a top round roast, a very tough steak that otherwise wouldn’t be worth much. But if we label it as a London Broil—which means you should cook it medium rare with lots of seasonings, then slice it real thin against the grain—it’s at least edible. Here are some more confusing cooking terms, explained.
Most people cook their meat too long
Get a cooking thermometer and remember: Food keeps cooking even after you remove it from heat. So that filet mignon that’s rare when it comes off the grill will be medium rare after you rest it. Learn the surprising reason people over 65 should never eat rare meat.
Here’s the deal with “Certified Angus Beef”
Despite all the hype, most of us think “Certified Angus Beef” is a marketing gimmick that doesn’t necessarily indicate the meat is any better than other beef with the same USDA grade. Though I have to admit, it does look spiffy on that black tray.
Grass-fed beef doesn’t taste as good
I know grass-fed beef is the hot thing, and it’s supposed to be healthier, but it sure doesn’t taste as good. Here’s what you need to know before you buy grass-fed beef.
A cheaper cut might taste the same
If you like steak well done, buy it cheap. That’s your call, but don’t bother buying an expensive cut. Once you cook it that much, it all tastes pretty much the same … kind of like shoe leather.
There’s a way to tell how fresh your meat is
Check the pack date. Ideally you want to get packages dated that day or the day before. Some companies pump carbon monoxide into packaging to keep the meat from turning brown. Here are some foods you should absolutely never eat past the expiration date.
A little pink is OK
Your mother had good intentions, but a little pink inside your pork is fine. In fact, it’s preferable. Pork that’s white all the way through is likely to be dry and tasteless. Just make sure its internal temperature is at least 160 degrees. Next, check out these other common cooking mistakes you’re probably making.
Don’t always accept meat as-is
Ask me to help. Even if it’s already on a tray wrapped in cellophane, I can cut the fat off a roast, trim a flank steak into stir-fry strips, or grind up a chuck roast. Then I’ll neatly wrap it back up for you. All for no extra charge. Make sure you know these other 40 smart ways to save money at the grocery store.
Sources: Butchers in New York City; Charlotte, North Carolina; San Francisco; Kingston, New York; and Timberville, Virginia; Lee O’Hara, author of Beef Secrets Straight from the Butcher; and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.