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Mar 8, 2010 by Lee Hart

In search of tender, tasty meat

I think the Olympics are over – or at least the first round.
The Paralympics are yet to come – but it is time I moved on with my thoughts.
Blogging is like fish – it is always better fresh, so I am sure a few people
are wondering what died on the Grainews webpage.

On a fresh topic, it was interesting to see in a recent news
release that the Beef Information Centre (www.beefinfo.org) has partnered with Costco to make
available a handy guide on how to cut meat at home. I don’t imagine this is encouraging
people to buy a carcass to be cut and wrapped on the kitchen table. But aimed
more at those who buy larger portion sizes, which is what you often find at
Costco, and then want to repackage this meat. The release mentions sub-primal
cuts such as strip loins, rib eyes and tenderloins.

Our experience – in our house –  in the past few months or year timeframe, is that Costco has
very good meat. Beef, pork, chicken – whatever you buy it is good quality,
flavorful, tender, and reasonably priced. 
Sometimes the portion sizes or packaging is a bit big, but otherwise
their meat has few surprises.

I don’t want this to get back to my brother-in-law, from
whom we bought beef for several years, but to be honest you were never really
sure what you were getting. Many of the quality factors were fine, except with
tenderness. You’d have a nice steak or roast, with what appeared to be good
marbling and yet it was always wait-n-see if it was tender.  And sometimes the nicest looking cuts
weren’t all that tender.

We haven’t bought a side a beef for a year or so, for a
couple reasons, but in the meantime my wife and I have really been impressed
with Costco meats. And I think this meat-cutting guide called Slice and Save is
a great idea, too. We can buy a quantity or cut that may be too large for a
usual portion, but we and other consumers, will get some advice on how to
re-package and freeze smaller portions for later use.

That’s a good marketing strategy.

One other aspect of retail meat sales I wish BIC or retailers
could simplify at a glance, is how different cuts stack up for tenderness. BIC
has a very nice wall chart that gives you the names of the cuts and where they
come from on the carcass – and there is a tenderness rating – but that wall
chart doesn’t fit into my wallet. There are 150 different cuts of meat on that
chart. I am suppose to memorize this?

I think meat counters should have three sections – Tender,
Not Bad, and Tough. And maybe the individual cuts should have one of three
little sticker symbols on the packaging – a fork (for fork tender); a steak
knife (needs some help); and a chain saw (which means you have to boil the heck
out of this).

As I have discovered over the years, not everything with
sirloin in the name is created equal.

 

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Lee Hart

Lee Hart


Lee Hart is a long-time farm writer, and honorary member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists, with many observations on the agriculture industry, who never hesitates to admit he is wrong (should that ever happen.)


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