By Anthony Samuel

Hello Dear Readers,

We are back with new articles each month on all things you may want to know from your local meat and seafood departments, along with cooking tips, recipes, and much more. So, let’s head over to the meat department and see what’s happening!

  1. A question I hear often is “why was my steak so tough?” The best answer I can give is not every steak is made for grilling or pan-frying. If you are going for good quality steaks to grill, pick from what we call middle portion steaks such as ribeye, New York strip, T-bone, top sirloin, or filet mignon. They tend to always have great marbling, and awesome flavors to match. Your best bet is to avoid the round meat family (top round, eye of round, and bottom round) as far as grilling, as they tend to be leaner and less marbling. The round steaks can be grilled but just allow more time for marinating and tenderizing.
  2. More and more customers are inquiring about the difference between pre-pack meats versus fresh cut meats – the most obvious differences are pre-pack meats have more sodium nitrate, which is an additive to enhance shelf life and color. Fresh meat cuts are basically broken down into smaller, primal cuts for display at your local meat department and generally only have a 4-day shelf life. As far as pre-pack vs. fresh meat steaks, that’s a matter of opinion to each person’s taste.
  3. A great Sunday question, now that football season is back, is “what is the best pork to use for shredded pulled pork?” The best, hands down, is pork shoulder also known as a Boston butt, because of the flavors. The tenderness of a long, slow cooked pork shoulder is second to none! It is relatively easy to cook, as well: add your pork shoulder with your favorite rubs and seasonings into a slow cooker or Crock Pot, add water two thirds to the height of the roast and slow cook, the longer the better! Then just add your BBQ sauce upon completion of the cooking process and allow to marinade so the meats absorb the flavor of your favorite sauce. Who’s ready for some football?
  4. One question I am surprised to hear: “I have forgotten about my lunchmeat and the date expired is it still ok to eat?” The simple answer is no, never take the chance on any type of meat or seafood after the expiration date, due to spoilage. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health over a few dollars.
  5. A new question I am hearing is “does the meat department carry vegan and vegetarian items?” The answer is more and more items are being added to the shelves of most meat departments due to the rising demand of consumers who want more choices than from the frozen aisle. In my opinion, in the very near future you will see a vast array of vegan and vegetarian dishes from your meat department to choose from, instead of limited selections.
  6. One of the most asked is “what is the best cut of meat for beef jerky?” No doubt the top round will be your best choice. If you are buying a London broil or top round roast, ask your butcher to use the slicer on a “3” setting (they will know what you are talking about). It will be a perfect thickness or thinness to make great beef jerky!
  7. Are you looking for that really good grilling steak, but not wanting to pay ten dollars a pound? Try a boneless chuck eye steak next time! It is usually inexpensive, and at the same time, a good quality steak, with tons of flavor. In most meat shops the running joke is a boneless chuck steak is known as a poor man’s ribeye!
  8. Ask your butchers! As customers, please do not hesitate to ask any question, be it cooking, pricing, tenderness and so forth. I hear more customers start off with “I have a dumb question.” No, there is never a dumb question! If I came to your workplace, I’m sure I would have some strange questions, but I would certainly ask! Engage us, talk to us, and let us know how your meals are being prepared as well as your likes and dislikes. Every customer is different and the more feedback the better we can serve everyone.

I hope the few questions and answers have helped in your future shopping trips and again – ask your butcher! We’re always here to help.  I look forward to next month’s edition when we will be getting ready for those wonderful holiday recipes and dinners! Take care and see you all in the meat and seafood departments soon – Anthony.

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