The Meat You Should Absolutely Never Buy According To A Butcher

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The Meat You Should Absolutely Never Buy According To A Butcher
The Meat You Should Absolutely Never Buy According To A Butcher

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If you're basically a carnivore, you can almost begin to smell the butter melting on that juicy, perfectly cooked steak the moment you begin to approach your grocery store's meat counter. But not everything on display deserves to make its way to your dinner plate. Since fresh meat is expensive, making the wrong choice can be a huge waste of money. In fact, choosing the right cut at the grocery store can sometimes be the most difficult part about cooking meat. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find a cut that's full of flavor, and has the right balance of fat and protein to make it perfectly tender and juicy. Yet surprisingly, some of the most popular options fall short when it comes to texture and taste.

So how can you choose wisely? In an exclusive interview with Mashed, a butcher who has worked at a large national grocery chain since 2013 shared some intel on which meats you should never buy at the grocery store. It turns out that some of the priciest and prettiest meats aren't actually grill-worthy. Even if it looks good and is described with adjectives like "grass-fed" or "tender," not every meat makes the cut.

Meat that comes ready to fling on a grill appeals not only to our appetites, but also to our busy schedules. However, ready-to-cook meat is often a huge waste of money. Instead, the butcher we spoke with advises:

"Pick out your meat option (look for something on sale!) and then ask your butcher what [their] favorite seasoning or marinade is that they sell in the store."

While marinating your meat yourself may seem like an unnecessary step, pre-marinated meat is likely over-marinated, making the meat mushy. Similarly, skip those ready-to-grill kabobs, which don't offer a very creative selection of produce. The butcher advises,

"I would recommend asking your butcher to cube the meat for you. If you make them yourself, you can add other options like mushrooms, pineapple, and cherry tomatoes."

Not only does this allow you to customize your kabobs with fruit and veggies you actually enjoy; it saves you from the 60 percent mark-up on those kabob kits.

Shockingly, the butcher also advised against buying filet. He told us,

"I know filet is typically known as an optimal cut of meat and traditionally priced for it, too, but it's pretty overrated when compared to other beef cuts. I would recommend purchasing a cut like teres major, which is also a lean and tender cut, but about 1/3 of the price."

Not sure you can score this cut at your supermarket? Opt for a New York strip steak instead, which has a good balance of flavor and tenderness.

If you're in the market for poultry, make sure you avoid chicken labeled as "water chilled," the butcher we spoke with said, cautioning us that,

"It absorbs some of the water which evaporates when cooking, resulting in smaller and potentially-rubbery chicken."

It turns out that the majority of grocery store chicken is chilled by submerging chickens into a giant vat of chlorinated water, causing the birds to absorb some excess water in the process. If you can't tell from a glance how the chicken was chilled, it was likely done in water. Most grocery stores label the poultry when it is air-chilled, so if you don't see those words, assume the chicken is water-chilled and avoid it. And it's not just the taste of the chicken itself that's impacted by water-chilling. Speaking to Bloomberg, Chef Doug Psaltis of RPM Steak in Chicago said,

"While preparing the bird, if you do choose to brine the bird, air-chilled will allow you to absorb great flavors and aromatics, whereas water-chilled has already absorbed chlorine."

Speaking of labels, the best poultry should say "no antibiotics" — not just the usual "no added hormones," which is required by the United States Department of Agriculture anyway. And make sure to look for the USDA Organic label, which means the chickens were not genetically engineered.

#Meat #Butcher #Steak

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