I have been in the meat industry for 31 years, and I have picked out my share of hams, turkeys, and roasts over the years! I’m here to help you pick out the best quality meats for your holiday gatherings. So, let’s get to the meat department and get rolling!
The most asked questions always are around turkeys. My recommendation when it comes to that centerpiece is to go with a fresh turkey. Unlike the frozen turkeys that are injected with a sodium-based solution upon being frozen, the all “fresh” never frozen turkey has minimal water and preservatives added which helps keep the meat more moist and tender when cooking. As far as brands go, I have to go with Butterball. I hear many good comments after the holidays on the fresh Butterball turkeys. In my personal experience, the Butterball brand holds its own against all competition.
My favorite; however, is the Standing Rib Roast or Bone End Ribeye Roast. If this is going to be a centerpiece of your dining table, let’s make sure to get the best! Ask your butcher for the large end of the ribeye as it has more marbling which enhances the flavor and tenderness of the roast. Also request the butcher to have the ribs cut and tied back onto your rib roast to ensure an easy carve once the roast is cooked and ready to serve. Then easily remove the strings and bone and slice away! Be sure the rib roast is a USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) choice grade or higher as some stores offer different product from time to time.
For those who serve lamb for the holidays your best bet, in my opinion, is the semi-boneless leg of lamb. The bone really helps give this piece of lamb a really good flavor for a large size roast. Also, most stores, during the holiday, price the semi-boneless leg of lamb at a decent discount. Request the butcher pick you out a lean one. Since the legs of lamb come in a cryovac seal, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the fatter ones versus the leaner legs of lamb.
When it comes to hams, there are many options; but the proven quality pound for pound winner has to be the Smithfield Spiral cut foil hams! They come with glaze packets that now include pecan praline, hickory smoked or a crunchy sweet glaze. The Smithfield hams are pricey, but worth every nickel. They also come with cooking instructions on the inside of the brand’s label, it’s an easy step by step to follow and bake.
In closing, this butcher would like to wish all the readers and their families the best of holidays and enjoy this wonderful time of the year and hoping all of your meals are shared with family and friends.