Although you might hear of Western populations slowly progressing toward a fully meat-free diet, protein is still well and truly on the menu! According to some statistics, over 70% of Americans still consume their daily meat quota. There is just no escaping from the fact that meat adds so much to a dish that to leave it out is to miss out on one of life’s most tantalizing pleasures. However, the main issue facing most meat eaters is where theory can buy the highest quality meats without breaking the bank. After all, if something is going to die for your eating pleasure, you should at least ensure it’s processed into something sublime. This post is for anyone interested in upping their protein game and creating meals that are fit for a king.
If there is one positive thing to take away from the global pandemic (of which shall not be named), it’s the sudden ubiquity of online delivery services. While such things have always been available, the recent proliferation of them and the convenience they provide is truly remarkable. Nowadays, you can get premium meats home delivery right to your front door. Not only do you save by not having to head out to shop, but the cuts of meat are often selected and processed by professional butchers who know a thing or two about animal flesh. Also, it’s not uncommon to save money when you sign up for regular deliveries, which also enables you to cook a wide gamut of different meals with minimal effort.
Delivery services are unquestionably brilliant in terms of convenience and quality, but if you need a specific cut of meat or specific advice for a party, you will need to visit a butcher IRL. These guys and gals have often trained from a young age (typically starting as young apprentices) to understand the nuances of the products they are working with. They can advise on cuts, preparation techniques, and cooking methods, and some of the more upscale ones will even throw their hats into the sommelier ring! Butchers are becoming increasingly rare as a profession, so you may need to look further afield for a good one.
Every cut of meat, be it poultry, beef, venison, or whatever else, will have a unique flavor profile. A chicken thigh has a deeper taste than a breast, a ribeye will be juicier than a fillet, and Wagyu trumps them all! Understanding these cuts and what they add to a dish will enable you to get a clearer image of the meals you will develop and, ultimately, offer you far more bang for your buck than if you were to buy a gristly bit of chuck because you didn’t do your research.
When it comes to most meats, it’s the fat that provides the flavor (some meats like rabbit are more valued for leanness). Therefore, look for decent marbling and fat content when shopping for meat. Don’t be afraid of a bit of fat because numerous studies have indicated that when eaten in moderation, saturated fats (not trans fats) aren’t as bad as you might expect. Color is also an essential factor; if your meat shows any signs of discoloration, you should avoid eating it.
Meat is a wonderful addition to most meals…as long as you know what to look for and where to buy the best cuts. Hopefully, this post has provided you with some top tips to move you away from the average meats you find in your local supermarket and toward the better options offered by butchers and online specialists.