Some people are intimidated about purchasing meat merely because they do not really know how to tell if it is fresh or already gone bad, or they do not know what to look for. The different meat cuts could be quite confusing. The quality is not always very easy to tell.
Of course, to ensure that you are purchasing fresh, high quality meat, you have to buy from a good butcher. Usually, this is an independent person from your locality who purchases from local farms and butchers animals himself. Such type of butcher shops has become rare for a little while but seen to be emerging once again. So survey your neighbourhood for one.
But, if the supermarket is only what you have, keep in mind the following things to look for when shopping for a piece of meat:
1. Well-Butchered Meat
A good butcher who puts emphasis on the quality of his products will often have well-butchered cuts of meat on display. Meat cuts of the same kind must be about the same thickness and size. Also, the cuts must be smooth without hacked bits, ragged edges, and/or uneven parts.
2. Colour of Meat
The colour of meat could differ depending on the type of cut or the animal it is coming from. However, any type of fresh meat must have rich and vibrant colour. Usually, a piece of meat which uniform colour is of good quality. Discoloured spots could be an indicator of poor handling or spoilage.
3. Texture of Meat
You also want to look at the meat’s grain (which is the direction of muscle fibers) and also how uniform or tight it looks. If the muscle fibers of the meat are uneven, very loose, or broken, these could also indicate poor quality and/or poor handling.
It will also help if you have some knowledge about the cut of meat you are getting. Being aware which meat cuts have lots of fats, which cuts are leaner, and what the meat should look like could help you choose the ones of good quality. For example, look for lots of marbling if you’re looking for tender rib-eye steak. But if you’re looking for a flank steak, look for uniformity in grain and texture. The meat you’re buying must feel cold to touch. Don’t buy meat products which feel warm, as such is a sign that the meat hasn’t been stored at the right temperature.