A Cut Above

These staff favorites deliver big flavor and value.
Charla Draper
A Cut Above
Marinate Lemon-Garlic Sirloin the night before for an easy entrée. This rich thick-cut steak cooks up like a premium roast and delivers great bang for the buck.
Jennifer Davick / Styling Lisa Powell Bailey / Food Styling Vanessa McNeil Rocchio

What's in a Name?
The following are terms you may find on meat labels.

  • Aged meat has been stored three to six weeks at temperatures between 34° and 38° at low humidity. The longer meat ages, the more flavorful and tender it becomes.
  • Organic meat and poultry is from animals that have not been given antibiotics or growth hormones. The farm that produces the food must be inspected and labeled as organic by a government-approved certifier.

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.

  • Rare: The meat gives easily when pressed, and juices do not appear on the surface.
  • Medium: The meat feels firm, but is somewhat spongy, and juices are beginning to appear on the surface of the meat.
  • Well done: The meat is covered with juices, is firm, and does not yield to pressure.

"A Cut Above" is from the March 2008 issue of Southern Living.