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Food Tips

Beef:

How to recognize fresh meat when you buy it.
When you buy really fresh meat it is not too tender but it is better to buy really fresh meat that way we can be sure that we are buying a quality product. When meat is very fresh its colour is an intense red. If you press your finger against it and lift it, the flesh must come back to its original state; if the finger pressure mark disappears too slowly it is because the meat is not really fresh. After buying fresh meat you can keep it in the refrigerator or freeze it.

Raw meat:
If you have to leave raw meat out of the refrigerator, avoid flies placing onion slices on it. This will keep flies away.

Keeping meat's full flavour
Whenever you want to make cooked or oven roasted meat, you must seal it on all sides first that way all pores are closed and the meat keeps all its juices and flavours. Put a small amount of oil in a frying pan at high temperature. When oil is hot, place the meat in the pot and seal it on all sides until it is golden colour.

How to tenderize meat
If the only meat you have is tough and not very good quality, place the meat in a container and add a cup of red vinegar and a cup of beef stock.

Tender meat
Before you use meat for a meal and you want to make soft and tender, add 2 tbs. of olive oil to each steak and stack the meats one on top of the other. Press the slices of meat between 2 plates and leave them for at least 2 hours before you cook them.

Tenderizing with Papaya
When you want to barbecue meat and it is not too tender, peel a papaya and rub it on the meat that is ready to be used. This is the same pepsin that is sold in the stores as meat tenderizing.

Barbecue Beef
When you barbecue meat it will be more tender and juicy if you add the salt when the meat is almost ready, not before you cook it. if you add salt before you start cooking, the salt will absorb all the moisture from the meat and this will be hard and dry.
Never barbecue meat that is too fresh if you want it to be soft and tender. Meat should remain in the refrigerator for at least 3 days for it to be tender.
One of the secrets of good chefs is never to use meat before it has been “curing” for 15 days. This technique is usually employed for steaks, filet mignon, and barbecue.

Serving grilled meat
When you grill, broil, or fry meat, do not add salt and spices until it is almost done. This way it will taste better.
When meat is ready to be served, add a small portion of butter or margarine on top. Not only will look better, but it will taste better as well.

Meat in the oven
If you are going to cook meat in the oven, use a dark glass container instead of a clear one. The dark glass will absorb more heat and the meat will cook faster.

A perfect Roast-Beef
Cook perfect Roast-beefs every time. Pre-heat the oven at 350ª degrees for about 10 minutes.
If you want medium rare meat, cook for 20 minutes for each pound.
If you want your meat medium well, cook 25 minutes for each pound.

Quick hamburgers
If you want your hamburgers to be cooked in a hurry, make a hole in the center when you are making them. They will cook faster with the center open.

Tender hamburgers
When making meatballs or hamburgers add oil instead of egg as a binding agent. It is cheaper and they will not get hard when you cook them.

Ready to use, homemade hamburgers
Instead of freezing your ground beef right away, make your hamburgers beforehand and you will always have them ready. Make the patties and separate them with wax paper or cut plastic squares from your grocery bags. Having them ready will save you time when you need to improvise a meal, or when you get home late and do not have time to cook. They can go from the freezer to the skillet without wasting time.

Stew Tips
When cooking a meat stew, always use a wide and shallow pot so meat cooks faster. It is recommended to use low heat when cooking meat, to prevent shrinkage. Allow your meat to cook thirty minutes longer at low heat than what your recipe calls for. Your meat will taste better. This is a good recommendation for all those dishes that are cooked such as beans, lentils, soups, etc.

Helpful Meat Buying Tips

In general, meat contains between 15% and 20% protein. Meat is an excellent source of B-complex vitamins, including vitamin B12, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin. Meats also contain such important minerals as phosphorous and iron.

What to keep in mind when buying meat:

  • Beef should be firm, moist, and odorless (after rinsing) when purchased.
  • Lamb should be light to dark pink, and lamb fat should be a creamy pink color.
  • Pork should appear grayish pink and contain a layer of firm white fat.
  • Veal should be a light grayish-pink color, with very little fat.
  • Variety meats and pork are the least expensive meats you can buy.
  • Buy meat on Thursday, when butchers and supermarkets have stocked up for the weekends. (or find out when your butcher's meat is fresh delivered)
  • Buy beef in the winter, when prices are lower, and freeze.