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How to Choose the Right Cut of Meat

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In supermarkets, you can buy meat in any price range and all the different kinds will taste different. It’s extremely easy to get lost in all the diversity.

5-Minute Crafts is going to tell you how to choose the right piece of meat based on how fresh it is, and how you want to cook it.

1. Decide what meal you are buying the meat for

Pork is good for:

  • neck — for barbecue, baking, and soups;
  • ham hock — for soups, boiling, frying, and stewing, or head cheese;
  • pork loin — for frying, baking, mincing, chops;
  • pork blade —for baking, mincing, stewing, soups, frying;
  • ribs — for frying, baking, soups, and open fire;
  • fillet — for frying and baking;
  • pork belly — for soups, frying, baking;
  • leg — for frying, baking, soups, mincing;
  • side — for lard.

Beef is good for:

  • neck — for soups and minced meat;
  • blade — for boiling (soups), stewing in small pieces, and mincing;
  • fillet — for baking in big pieces and frying;
  • sirloin — for frying, mincing, and making broth;
  • tenderloin — for frying, carpaccio, tartar, baking in big pieces;
  • rump — for boiling, stewing, and frying;
  • shank — for headcheese;
  • ribs — for soups;
  • brisket — for stewing, soups, mincing.

Mutton is good for:

  • neck — for stews and rice;
  • breast — for soups;
  • loin — for frying and barbecue;
  • blade and leg — for baking and barbecue;
  • ribs — for boiling, stewing, grilling.

2. Choose fresh meat

How to tell if a piece of meat is fresh:

  • Smell it: there should be no other smells but the natural smell of fresh meat.
  • Look at the color. Pork has to be pink, beef should be red or dark red, and the fat is white. Mutton is light-red. If the fat is grey and the meat is brown, the meat is not fresh.
  • To tell if minced meat is fresh or not, also look at the color. The color of fresh minced meat is from light-pink to red, depending on the meat. Minced meat can’t be grey or can’t have dark spots.
  • Put the meat on a flat surface and press on it. If the cut is fresh, it will return to its shape once you remove your finger. If it’s not fresh, there will be a visible spot where you pressed. Also, the meat can’t be sticky.
  • If you are buying frozen meat, look at the shelf time. But if the storage conditions were bad, the meat might still be impossible to eat. Also, the refreezing of meat is a reason to not buy it if you can see pink crystals of ice on the meat and on the inside of the pack.
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