How do I know if the meat is fresh or not?
The first criterion to tell if meat is fresh is by its color consistency and the smell. How to rate freshness varies depending on the type of meat.
Beef, Lamb, Game:
The meat should be a dark red tone. A good amount of fat on the meat is better for taste. The fat actually adds to the flavor of the meat, as they say, “fat is flavor”. So, the more fat on the meat, the better it will taste!
As soon as the meat comes in contact with oxygen, a dark color develops which extends into shades of brown. This discoloration does not mean a loss of quality. In dry-aging, a good butcher obtains excellent quality and a very dark flesh color.
Dark meat usually develop a typical, intense smell, which does not diminish the quality.
Fresh pork is recognized by its pink pigment. If the color of the meat is too pale or a bit dark, keep your paws off, the meat is not high quality.
For poultry, it is a bit more difficult to assess the freshness of meat. The color of the meat is very much influenced by what the animal was fed. However, a good piece of poultry meat should be a paler to almost white in color and doesn't smell.
The Rule of Thumb when buying meat
If the meat looks greasy on the outside, move along, it is no longer fresh; this goes for all types of meat! It is always better to be safe than sorry.
If the meat is floating in its own juices, this is also an indication that the meat is no longer fresh.
The smell also plays a huge role in indicating the freshness of meat. Good or fresh meat does not smell and should only have a slight meaty flavor. Once the smell is pungent, bitter or sweet, you should not throw it on the grill but throw it away.
With marinade, the freshness of the meat is easily disguised, so make sure to care for it the right way, check your meat! If you are not the marinate expert, ask your local butcher about what type of marinade goes best with which type of meat. Sealed or packaged marinated meat, from the grocery store, is not a guarantee for freshness.
Where is the best place to buy good quality meat?
As they say, “Good things don’t come cheap”, this also applies to grilling. It is always a safer bet to invest a little more in a good quality piece of meat, versus a so-so quality piece of meat.
Don’t waste any more time buying cheap, bad quality piece of meat! Buy good quality meat at a trusted local butcher! Ask your butcher about where the meat comes from and how it was fed. Regional and organic fed meat has still been proven to be the best quality of meat, not only for your health but also for the environment!
Our tip: “It’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality and taste.”
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