Jennifer Davick / Styling Lisa Powell Bailey / Food Styling Vanessa McNeil Rocchio
The supermarket meat case is full of new cuts. The meat industry is trying to deliver more value by developing moderately priced choices suited for weeknight meals. Poultry companies are also making more products available as year-round options to the big holiday bird. But learning what to buy and the best ways to cook them is a challenge. Our Food staff has been in the same boat, so we did some research to help demystify meat counter secrets. We looked to our reader files to see how you are cooking with these popular new choices and found more ideas than we can fit in one story. We had great fun at the tasting table sampling tender, juicy main dishes and swapping tips about our finds.
On the Supper Menu
Turkey tenderloins are the perfect option for quick-to-fix meals. This lean choice can be cooked in a variety of ways, making it ideal for just about any occasion. Remember, this is a lean cut of meat, so you'll want to cook it just until it's no longer pink in the center. You can store cooked turkey in a zip-top plastic freezer bag in the freezer for up to three months―it's on hand to add to prepared pasta, salads, or soup.
Making the Grade
Beef is graded by the USDA according to standards for quality. Quality is rated according to the age of the animal, the amount of fat flecks, or marbling, found in the lean meat, and the texture, color, and appearance of the lean meat. The grades most familiar to consumers are Prime, Choice, and Select.
What's in a Name?
The following are terms you may find on meat labels.
Is It Ready?
When cooking steaks, make sure you use tongs to turn them and not a fork. When you pierce them with a fork, you'll lose some of the juices that keep the steaks moist. Try the touch test to check for doneness. With the touch test on hot meat, remember to protect your finger with a paper towel or use the back of a spoon.
"A Cut Above" is from the March 2008 issue of Southern Living.