5 Things Supermarket Butchers Can Do for You

Need help with your meat? Ask the butcher behind the counter!

IMAGE Cat Altomonte

With different cuts for every kind of meat out there, choosing the right pieces or prepping meat the right away can get a little confusing. One of our favorite grocery tips is this: when you need help with your meat, all you have to do is ask the butcher behind the counter.

 

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Supermarket butchers work with meat and their suppliers all day—they know how to cut, prep, and source them. Plus, they are always willing to share their knowledge with shoppers and will help you in more ways than you expect them to. Here are 5 things you can ask supermarket butchers to help you out with:

 

1 Choose the right cut.

 

Making a quick chicken stir-fry? Thighs will turn out more flavorful than breasts. Need a cut for your braised beef recipe but not sure which one to get? Strike a quick conversation with the butcher behind the counter and ask for his or her advice.

Supermarket butchers know which cuts are good for frying, braising, boiling, and searing. Also, they are pros at classic Filipino dishes and will know exactly what you need for recipes like menudo, sinigang, bulalo, and adobo.

 

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2 Trim and cut meat.

 

Does your pork belly look a little too fatty? Or do you want less white fat in your bowl of sinigang? After picking out your meat, you can ask your butcher to trim any unwanted pieces of fat or ligament from your meat cuts.

 

You can also ask them to slice or cut your choice of meat any way you want to: you can have short ribs separated, or have them slice pork tenderloin into perfect medallions. Once you have your preferred cut of meat, you can also have your steaks, pork, or lamb wrapped in twine to prep them for quick sears and hot charcoal grills.

 

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3 Grind meat.

 

Sometimes, ground meat on display doesn’t look great—if you feel like it doesn't look fresh, you can pick out whole cuts of meat yourself and ask your butcher to grind it on the spot. You will know for sure that your meat is fresh and lean. This also applies to picking out meat blends for burgers or sausages—you can include a mix of lean and fatty meats for your burger, and your butcher will be happy to grind them for you.

 

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4 Source a specific cut or reserve desired cut.

 

Look for a good steak or whole duck to roast over the weekend? Rustan’s Marketplace has excellent butcher service, so call ahead and ask if they can source a specific cut or piece of meat for you if they don’t have it on display. You can also ask the butchers to reserve a good piece of steak or beef for you so you can pick it up later that day. You’ll still be able to get a good pick without making a trip to the supermarket. 

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Plus, we have a few important meat shopping tips for your next trip!

 

5 Debone poultry.

 

Taking out the bones of chicken or turkey can make for a quick, flavorful meal. It also makes poultry easier to roast over a grill. If you don’t know how to do the knife work on your own, your butcher can easily debone and butterfly your meat and poultry for you.

 

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