When buying anything, we all want to know that we’ve purchased the best, in terms of quality and price. And when it comes to food, its freshness, quality and safety should always be a top concern. So here are a few tips to help you make sure that you pick the best meat products available.
1. Pick a shop that does whole-animal butchering.
A butcher shop that does so, knows where their meat is coming from. Whole animal butchering requires a lot of effort and knowledge. And this is a sign that the shop is committed to serving you good meat.
2. Trust your senses.
Give your meat choices a good look and pick meat that is red. Remember that immature animals give a different color (pink for beef and gray for pork). Use your sense of smell too. Know the difference between the smell of rancid and good meat. According to master butcher Pat La Frieda: “beef should have a very sweet odor; in the very best, you’ll smell a little corn.”
3. Know Your Store’s Certification.
In the Philippines, we have the NMIS or National Meat Inspection Service that ensures safe meat through inspection, policies and guidelines. Make sure your butcher or the slaughterhouse delivering meat to your market is NMIS-accredited. Meat Depot is NMIS accredited and abides by the best meat practices and laws in the Philippines such as: Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines, Consumer Act of the Philippines and the Animal Welfare Act of the Philippines.
4. Look for house-made products.
Another sign that your butcher shop cares about serving you quality meat is when they make meat on site such as: ham, bacon or sausage. Also, when they choose to serve other unpopular cuts of meat (snout, tail, ears, etc), this shows that they care about making good use of the animals.
5. Go to friendly and knowledgeable butchers.
Face it, you will only really know about your meat if you ask about it. Let these experts advice you on the best cuts if not alternative cuts for your recipes. Allow them to give you proper tips and advice in storing and cooking. This way, each visit can be a learning experience and you will find yourself more confident in picking the meat you bring home.
Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/inferis/8977472/ . Photo credit: Tom Adriaenssen