READ THE LABEL
This is starting to sound familiar, right? Look and see what you’re actually paying PER pound. I know a lot of people buy stew meat because the total cost is only a couple of dollars, however, it’s almost $4 a pound (at least where I live) a total RIP OFF! This will also let you know fat content on items such as hamburger. And, additionally it will let you know the “grade” of meat, where in the world your meat came from, the day it was packed and the sell by date.
Know your “GRADE” of meat
The USDA has three grades (or quality levels) of meats.
- USDA Prime Grade: In appearance, you will notice distinctive marbling throughout the cut, which enhances both the flavor and texture. Fine hotels and restaurants generally use USDA Prime; however, some USDA Prime is available to retailers.
- USDA Choice Grade: While USDA Choice is also a very high quality of beef, it has less marbling than USDA Prime Grade Beef. Some have found some slight loss of texture and flavor in certain cuts. However, USDA Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib are still very tender, juicy, and boast of great flavor.
- USDA Select Grade: The lack of marbling throughout a cut of USDA Select Grade Beef will still render it to be fairly tender; however, it will lack the juiciness and flavor that are predominant traits of USDA Prime and USDA Choice Grades.
Some grocery stores make up their own name, like “Rancher’s Reserve” or something like that. Usually, that’s done to hide what the quality is and to make you think it’s higher quality than it really is (which is usually the select grade).
KNOW your meat.
All meat is NOT equal. And I’m not just talking the differences between chicken, pork, and beef. It helps to know what you’ll be using the meat for to know which cut (or portion) you should buy. I figure the trickiest part for everyone is beef so you can click HERE to download a chart about beef from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association that will tell you some great ways to use the meat.