Tips for Making the Most of Your Meat and Poultry
Choosing the best meats and poultry can sometimes be difficult, as can making the most out of the cuts you bring home. With a little knowledge and some experience, however, it is possible to create some wonderful dishes for your family, no matter how limited your food budget.
One of the best ways to make that food dollar stretch is simply to watch the sales. Most areas of the country are served by more than one grocery store chain, as well as perhaps an independent grocer or too. All this competition is good news for food shoppers, and there is lots of money to be saved simply by stocking up when prices are low.
It is also a good idea to ask the in-store butcher to trim any excess fat off the cuts of meat you purchase. While a bit of marbling will help keep beef, pork, veal and other meats moist, it makes no sense to pay for fat that will simply be discarded. Having the butcher trim the meat of excess fat also relieves the cook of an additional burden, saving time as well as money.
How you handle and prepare that meat at home is just as important as getting the best cuts in the first place. Above all it is important to handle meat, poultry and seafood with safety in mind, being sure to keep surfaces where the raw meats have rested well away from salads and other food items that will not be cooked.
It is also important to cook meat, poultry and seafood properly to ensure that all disease causing organisms have been killed. It is important to cook beef to an internal temperature of at least 170°. Poultry requires an even higher internal temperature of at least 190°. Cooking foods to these temperatures will greatly reduce the chances of harmful bacteria finding their way to your family.
How and where you defrost frozen meats and poultry is an important consideration as well. It is important never to defrost meats and poultry products at room temperature, as the higher temperature will stimulate the growth of bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms. It is best to defrost meat and poultry in the refrigerator, so make sure you have plenty of time available when planning the week’s recipes.