You may have heard that names of meat are getting an overhaul. Pork products will see the most changes. This came about by a lot of research by the pork producers, beef producers, and the USDA that showed that consumers were confused by names in the meat case. I’d agree. While most of the meat I buy comes from my freezer, I do sometimes meander through the meat case when there is a sale. I have a trophy somewhere in my house that proves that I should be an expert at deciphering meats, but even I get confused, so let me give you the simple rundown.
The new labels will give:
- A name – “Porterhouse Chop”
- A species and area on the animal where the cut comes from
- How to Cook it
To me, the names are still semi-confusing, but the part that should help consumers (myself included) are the area where the meat cut comes from and how to cook it. If it comes from the loin, the muscles running along the spine of either a cow or pig, it is going to be a tender cut, and you can grill it.
Think about it – what muscles get the most use in any mammal? Legs, shoulders – anything that moves. Muscles that move a lot tend to get hard and therefore, as meat, are tough. That is where your shoulder or chuck roasts and ham or round roasts come from. These cuts should be cooked low and slow (crock-pot, roasting, etc.). Anything that doesn’t get a lot of “work” (back and stomach), should be tender meats that can be grilled, broiled, etc.
Clear as mud?
Maybe so, but check out the meat case, and if you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask the person behind the meat counter – they are usually pretty knowledgeable. I do, and I was even on a Meats Judging Team! Tonite’s supper (as with a lot this time of year with everyone busy in the fields) is crockpot-fare: Korean Beef Short Ribs
Carrie Pollard, Rockford