How to choose quality meat

How to choose quality meat

Meats are a staple of our everyday diet. Whether it’s veal, beef, pork, or lamb you are bound to eat at least one of these meats today. To ensure the safety of our families it is important that we are able to choose the freshest cuts available at our local grocers. The following are the four basic types of meat and the look, texture, and color you want to look for when grocery shopping.


Beef is, by far, the most used of the meats. Being the most used it should also be the best checked. The color of the lean portions of beef should be a bright red. Vacuum-packaged beef and the interior of ground beef should have a darker, purplish-red color because the meat has not been exposed to the air.

After the beef has been exposed to air it will begin to turn the familiar bright red. Ground beef contains meat from beef only,(no variety meat) but in varying degrees of leanness from 70%-90% or more. When picking the ground beef remember that beef that is about 70% lean usually loses more fat in cooking, whereas beef containing 90% lean will lose more moisture.


Very young beef is classified as veal. Veal follows basically the same criteria as older beef. Veal is by nature a naturally lean meat and very easy to prepare. It should have a fine grainy texture and be creamy pink in color. Any fat covering should milky white.


Most lamb meats sold are usually from animals 1(one) year or younger. Lamb is marketed when they are about 6(six) to 8(eight) months old, so it will be tender and tasty. Look for meat that has a pinkish-red color. There should also be a very velvety texture. There is usually little marbling and only a thin layer of fat around the outside of the meat. The bones should be visibly porous and reddish in color, indicating a young animal.


Pork, and its infamous “Other White Meat”

the logo is another widely used meat. The lean part of fresh pork should be grayish pink in color and have a fine grainy texture. For ham, the lean should be firm, fine-grained, pink in color, and free from excess moisture. The fat, covering the outer layer of the meat, should have a firm feel and be milky white in color.

Sometimes you may notice a rainbowlike appearance to the surface of the meat, do not worry. This rainbow is caused by the refraction of light on the cut ends of the muscle fibers. The color is not harmful nor does it affect the taste and quality of your pork.

Meats are a very ample source of nutrition and can be very tasty when prepared in the right dishes.

But just like with any food they require inspection and should be bought from a trusted butcher or grocery store. I hope my tips on how to select quality meats helps you select and prepare quality meats for yourself and your family.

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