Episode 33: Mastering the Meat Counter

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033: Mastering the Meat Counter. Released: May 3, 2018 Adam and Anne chat about the new documentary about low-carb, high fat diets that Vinnie Tortorich will be crowdsourcing. To stay up to date on information about its progress, text NSNG to 228-28. Adam was a butcher for a few years and shares what he knows about various cuts of meat and how to make sure you're getting the best you can afford. This episode is jam packed with information for those of you (like Anne) who have always felt less than prepared to pick the best meats. When picking steaks, you want to look for the whitish lines and specks inside the muscle tissue. This is called "marbling" and is actually fat inside the muscle. The more fat, the more tender and flavorful the steak will be. The bone in a T-bone steak is actually a vertebrea shaped like a plus sign that has been cut in half vertically. As you pick a T-bone steak, think of the meat on either side of the bone as forming two quadrants. The larger quadrant is the steak that is often sold alone as a New York Strip. The smaller steak is the tenderloin, a gently used muscle in the cow that is known for its tender texture and rich flavor. You want to choose T-bones with larger tenderloin sections to get the most quality for your dollar. Porterhouse steaks are T-bone steaks with larger tenderloin sections. Steaks tend to come from the cow's back, where the muscles aren't so vigorously used, which makes them more tender. The muscles of the rump and legs are used more by the animal and the meat is, therefore, tougher, stringier, and less fatty. However, the meat also tends to be more flavorful. Meat from these areas of the cow need to be cooked longer on a lower heat to result in a more tender outcome. Examples of these cuts are brisket, rump, chuck, bottom round, top round, and tri-tip. White "marbling" in these cuts indicate connective tissue rather than fat content. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, just a sign that the meat needs to be cooked slowly. When in doubt, ribeye is the most flavorful and most fogiving cut to cook because of its high fat content. Look for ones with the most marbling in the meat for the best results. In the US, beef is labeled as Prime, which you will generally only find in restaurants and specialty butcher shops, Choice, and Select. Any other labels added to the meat are simply marketing. When in doubt, ask the butcher, and he should answer Prime, Choice, or Select. You can also judge for yourself by looking at the amount of marbling in the meat and learning overtime what level of marblins is acceptable to your tastebuds and pocketbook. All steaks, before they are cut into steaks, exist as roasts. Any cut thicker than 1.5" is technically a roast. Larger roasts, even of tender meats, need to be cooked low and sloe so they don't dry out or to help the meat soften. Don't feel shy about talking to your butcher! They can custom grind ground meat to your specifications, order specific cuts, or chop roasts into steaks or other cuts for you. Keep in mind that because their cutting gear needs to be cleaned when they switch from one type of meat to another, you may need to pick up a special request later in the day. If you can see the bone of the steak or roast and it looks pourous and brittle, that means the animal was older. This is a rare occurance in the US, and it not necessarily a bad thing. The meat may be tougher, but should be more flavorful, as well. So opt to cook it low and slow. When looking at the fat in the meat, a yellowish tinge means it was grass-fed. White fat meants it was grain fed, or grass fed at first and then finished with grain. Americans tend to prefer the look of white fat, though grass-fed animals tend to be healthier for you and taste better, too. Beef is aged under certain temperature and humidity conditions that are nearly impossible to duplicate at home, unless you have specialized equipment. Any "aging" done at home is more likely to be "rotting." Leave aging to the pros. Best Option When you're out and about and need to eat, the Best Option at Subway is a Cold Cut Combo with added bacon, prepared as a salad with either cheddar, pepperjack, provolone, or swiss as the cheese and guacamole, yellow or deli mustard, red wine vinegar, or sauerkraut as your dressing/flavoring. NSNG purists will want to avoid the bacon and the cold cut meats in favor of a double helping of the cheese. Many thanks to Lee Rosevere at Free Music Archive for the music we use in the podcast! Be sure to subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or your podcatcher of choice so new episodes arrive automatically. For more support, like and follow the community on Facebook, and check out our website! Please assume any links in the show notes that go to business sites are affiliate links. Purchasing things from our affiliates through those likes us pay for hosting fees and equipment for the podcast. You can see a list of our partners on the Support the Show page.

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