Choosing and buying fresh meat can be confusing. Of course, we want to get the right kind of meat for the dishes we’ll cook and serve! But we can’t always assure that the meat we purchase is 100% fresh.
If you’re still having a hard time choosing fresh meat, Tender Bites is here to give you tips! This meat shop has been providing premium beef, pork, and lamb to Metro Manila for over 30 years.
The next time you head out to the market, take note of these tips from Tender Bites in choosing fresh meat. Read below! (Read: Never Wash Raw Meats Before Cooking – Here’s Why!)
Fresh meat tips: Check the color
The first thing we notice when buying meat is its color. It is an important thing to consider as it says a lot about its freshness. Pork should be light or blushing pink, beef should be reddish, and red meat should be dark in color. Try to familiarize yourself with their colors to identify if the meat has a good quality. Look out for the green tinge as well, there should not be any bruises or blood clots on the meat.
Fresh meat tips: Check the smell
The smell is another effective way to determine whether the meat is still fresh or not. Meat shouldn’t have a strong or bad smell. Avoid buying meat that has a pungent odor or smells like rotten flesh. Sometimes, you might encounter a slightly meaty smell, especially in poultry meat. But that’s okay as long as there’s no big difference from the usual smell of the meat or any foul odor!
Fresh meat tips: Check the texture
There’s a reason why we often poke or touch the meat first. The texture should be firm, dry, and dense with muscle fibers tightly packed. If the meat looks like it’s about to fall apart, it could be due to poor quality or hasn’t been handled well. Meat should never be slimy or soggy. It should not be too soft or too tough as well. Remember that this applies to all types of meat! (Read: Planning a samgyupsal party at home? Here’s what you need to know!)
Fresh meat tips: Choose the right cut
Choose cuts that are quick and easy to cook such as steaks, chops, and pre-marinated items. For steaks, look for good marbling—those are small flecks and streaks of fat distributed throughout the meat that gives tenderness and juiciness.
“Chops are usually more flavorful when they have a layer of fat on the side and are bone-in. For ground meat, a lighter color usually means there’s more fat content,” Tender Bites’ Marketing Manager, Emil Avancena explained.
Be cautious of jagged edge and lean ground meat that looks overly pale. Always look for smooth cuts that are uniformly sized.
Fresh meat tips: Look for the meat shop’s safety standards
It is also best to check the shop or market you’re buying from. Meat must be kept at proper temperatures from the slaughterhouse to the store counter to maintain its quality.
“Clean surroundings, proper hygiene and sanitation in personnel, and how the meat is handled and displayed are all very important indicators of how they treat the meat you’re buying,” Emil said. (Read: The Touching Story Behind Chef Jessie’s Pork Barbecue Family Recipe)
In Tender Bites, imported cuts like US Angus are all flash-frozen before being shipped. They also age the beef in temperature-controlled refrigerated vans before sending them to their stores. You can even ask the butchers how you want your meat to be cut and packed with a customized label on each item!
Tender Bites has stores in several supermarkets. They deliver anywhere in the NCR with a PHP 2,000 minimum order. You may check their website for more information.