FOOD (buying) tips
- Buying Beef - USDA Prime: This is the top of the line. It has abundant marbling (flecks of fat within the lean), making it very tender and juicy. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for dry-heat cooking like roasting and broiling. - USDA Choice: This has less marbling than prime, but is still of very high quality. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy and flavorful. - USDA Select: Somewhat leaner than the higher grades. It is fairly tender, but may lack some of the juiciness of other grades. These are best marinated or slow cooked for maximum tenderness. Steaks If you are planning to grill steaks, what cut should you get? Most are fairly good for grilling, but some cuts may need some extra attention. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive the product the more tender it will be. If you are spoiling yourself, get a tenderloin, porterhouse, t-bone or rib eye. The New York strip, top sirloin and round tip are also good, but you may want to marinate them first. Many stores market "mock filets" or steaks that pretend to be filet mignon; with a good marinade, you can work miracles with this inexpensive option. Burger Many consumers choose extra lean ground beef to help maintain their figures and keep their arteries clog-free. The only problem with going that route is that sometimes it's difficult to keep this drier product from falling apart on the grill. If you are going to indulge in a grilled hamburger, use lean ground beef instead of extra lean. Buying Lamb Lamb is produced from animals less than a year old. Most cuts of USDA Prime and Choice lamb, including shoulder cuts, are tender and can be oven roasted, broiled or pan broiled. The less tender cuts, such as the breast, riblets, neck and shank, can be braised slowly to make them more tender and juicy. Buying Pork Pork is generally produced from younger animals. Today's fresh pork products have considerably less fat than they did a decade ago. There are only two USDA grades for pork, acceptable and unacceptable.