How to Buy + Prepare Meat Cuts

Make sure you know how to use different meat cuts!

IMAGE Miguel Nacianceno

 

1 PORK BELLY

BUY IT! Ask you butcher for skin-on, center-cut pork belly. Choose a piece that’s not to fatty.

 

CHEF'S TIP: Gentle cooking on moderate heat works best for pork belly. Slow-roasting renders the fat and breaks down the collagen, making a tough cut fork-tender.

 

PAIR IT WITH: Steamed rice, rice pilaf, roasted vegetables, mashed sweet potatoes

 

 

2 BEEF SHANK

 

BUY IT! Buy fresh meat with a rich pink color and bright white bones. Avoid dark bones, yellowing fat, and deep purple or dark brown meat, which mean the beef is about to go bad or comes from an older animal.

 

CHEF'S TIP: Since beef shank tends to be tough and lean, cook the meat for a long time over low, moist heat. To ensure the meat adheres to the bone, tie the beef with kitchen twine after searing.

 

PAIR IT WITH: Steamed rice, rice noodles, papaya salad, fresh Vietnamese spring rolls

 

 

3 BEEF SHORT PLATE

 

BUY IT! Short plate is a flavorful cut from the cow’s front belly, just below the rib. Choose meat with a rich pink color and creamy, white fat throughout.

 

CHEF'S TIP: Before roasting, make sure to trim the excess fat and silver skin covering the meat. Short plate is a tough meat cut, so remember to cook it slowly on low to moderate heat to get tender, tasty, and juicy meat.

 

PAIR IT WITH: Mashed potatoes, pasta casserole, potatoes au gratin, sautéed green beans

 

4 RACK OF LAMB

 

BUY IT! Look for meat that’s pink to pale red with firm, white fat. Choose a piece that has specks of fat throughout the meat; these will keep the meat moist and contribute to its flavor and tenderness.


CHEF'S TIP: The most accurate way to achieve your preferred doneness is by using a meat thermometer. Insert it in the thickest part of the meat. It should read 130 to 135°F for medium-rare, 135 to 140°F for medium, 140 to 150°F for medium-well, 150 to 165°F for well done.

 

PAIR IT WITH: Steamed or grilled asparagus; roasted onions, carrots, and sweet potatoes; buttered pasta

 

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Tips appeared as part of a feature in the December 2015 issue of Yummy magazine

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