Buy the freshest and best-quality meat, from a butcher or supermarket you trust. If possible, buy ground meat from a butcher who grinds it to your order, rather than from a market where it has been preground and wrapped. Of course, check the date carefully on all packaged meat. As soon as possible after purchase, rewrap and refrigerate meat; use ground meat within two days and solid pieces within four days.
You will find that the more tender the cut of meat, the less time it needs to cook. Steaks and chops take only minutes from grill to table, while beef short ribs and oxtails-where flavorful morsels are hidden among the bones and fat-require longer braising. Leg and shoulder of lamb need a good amount of time in the oven to reach optimum flavor and texture. Although you can let each individual recipe be your guide, here are brief descriptions of the cooking methods used in this book:
Braising: Brown the meat in a little oil, then cook, partially submerged in a flavorful liquid, in a heavy, tightly covered pot or pan. Meat can be braised on the stovetop, in a Crock-Pot, or in the oven. Braising is the preferred method for tougher cuts of meat.
Grilling: Light an outdoor charcoal or gas grill and cook the meat quickly at a high temperature. Indoors, you can substitute an electric grill (make sure it provides enough heat to sear the meat), a stovetop grill pan, or a broiler.
Roasting: Cook the meat in a preheated oven, at a moderate to high temperature.
Sauteeing: Cook the meat in a skillet or sauté pan, in oil that has been heated until it shimmers, over medium or medium-high heat. Stir the meat as it cooks.
Stewing: Cover the meat with a flavorful liquid and cook at a simmer. This may be done on the stovetop, in a Crock-Pot, or in the oven.
The following meats are called for in our recipes:
Meat near the face of the steer. Cheeks are a rich cut, with a gelatinous texture and a very intense flavor.
Juicy and inexpensive cut from the shoulder and neck. Ground chuck goes into stew, meat loaf, and hamburger, and becomes the stuffing for chili peppers.
Tail of the steer; very bony meat. Chunky pieces (not from the end of the tail) are the meatiest, and become flavorful and tender when braised. Generally sold in 1- to 3-inch cross sections.
A cut from the bottom round; flavorful, a bit tougher than chuck, but very tender when braised.
Cut from the prime rib and the next lower three ribs, these tasty, meaty ends of beef ribs require long cooking to become tender. They have layers of fat, meat, and bone. Fat must be removed both before and after cooking.
Same as chuck.
Filet Mignon: Cut from the beef tenderloin. This is the tenderest steak, but it has a milder flavor than other steaks.
Rib Eye: Cut from the rib section. Juicy, flavorful, marbled with fat; not as tender as filet mignon.
Shell, or Strip Loin, Steak: A boneless cut from the beef short loin. Tender and mild-flavored.
Skirt Steak: Long, narrow steak, cut from the breast. A little fatty, but tender.
Loin: From the hind saddle of the lamb. These are the tenderest lamb chops.
Rib: Cut from the rack. Tender and flavorful.
Shoulder: Cut from the lamb chuck. Juicy and marbled with fat, but not as tender as rib or loin chops. Arm chops, with a round bone, come from the lower part of the shoulder. Blade chops, with a narrow bone, are cut from the beginning of the shoulder.
Last half of the hind saddle of the lamb. A whole leg weighs from 6 to 11 pounds, but you can buy the shank end, which has more meat and less fat, or the sirloin end, which is tender but has more bone. A leg of lamb can be boned and then either butterflied or rolled and tied.
The attached lamb ribs, usually seven or eight ribs (each would be a chop if they were separated). The rack, which is the beginning of the foresaddle, is tender and delicious.
Includes part of the arm chop and bone. The foreshank is meatier than the hind shank.
Shoulder; Boneless Shoulder
A bit less tender than the leg, and more economical. A boneless shoulder can be rolled and roasted.
Very fatty meat from the underside of a pig, sold sliced or in slabs. It is cured and smoked. Applewood-smoked bacon has excellent flavor and texture.
Cuban-style pork sausage made with paprika, wine,sugar, garlic, and fat.
Cured pork leg or shoulder. Black Forest ham is cut in one piece from the tenderest portion of the ham and smoked over corncobs or pinewood. It has excellent flavor and texture.
Polish smoked sausage made from pork or a combination of beef and pork (it may also be made from beef).
The pork loin is divided into the blade end, which has the most fat; the sirloin end, which has the most bone; and the center, tenderloin portion, which is the leanest and most tender.
Tenderloin: The fillet cut from the center of the loin, usually 8 to 12 ounces; lean and tender.
Flavorful, moist Italian bacon that is cured, not smoked. It is usually sold in a sausage shape.
Italian cured, air-dried ham that is firm, with a delicate flavor.
Breast; Boneless Breast
The breast includes the lower end of the ribs and weighs 9 to 10 pounds with bones. Chewy and flavorful.
Loin: These are the tenderest veal chops. Tournedos are boneless loin chops, very lean and tender. They are thin, so be careful not to overcook.
Rib: Cut from the rack. Very tender.
Rack, or Veal Rib Roast
The first part of the veal foresaddle, the rack looks like several attached rib chops. The first six bones have the tenderest meat.
Jaccard 48-blade Meat Tenderizer The Jaccard Meat Tenderizer is easy to use and improves the taste and texture of any beef, fish, or poultry. Just push the tenderizer over top of meat and let the razor sharp stainless steel blades do the work. By tenderizing beef, chicken, pork, lamb, venison, or fish, food will marinate faster and cook in no time. For use on all cuts and grades of meat and can also be used on whole roasts, chickens, and turkeys. Ideal for use when grilling, barbecuing, roasting, broiling, braising, and baking.
VillaWare Electric Meat Grinder Grind fresh meat, vegetables, fruit and cheeses using this Multi-Food Grinder. You'll have fresher meals since you control the ingredients. Make your own hamburger patties and freshly ground beef or turkey for meatloaf, or set the sausage stuffing attachment up to make your own sausages. Motor features a powerful 320 watts, 1.9 amps and handles heavy loads without a hiccup. Head and spiral are die cast heavy metal for longevity. Bearing drive is oversize for positive, steady feed. Grinder comes complete with a #5 Head and 2 1/8-in. diameter Cutting Disk, Sausage Stuffing Funnel, Food Plunger, and Recipe and Directions Booklet.
OXO Good Grips Meat Pounder This dual-purpose tool tenderizes and makes medallions out of your favorite cuts of poultry, pork, veal and more. Use the wide, flat bottom to quickly and evenly flatten, and the tenderizing head on tougher, fibrous cuts of meat. Weighing in at a sturdy 2-lbs., it practically does the work for you with little effort, and the nonstick-coated surfaces clean up easily. A non-slip, heat-resistant handle cushions the impact and affords a firm grip.
Weston 7-in. Weston UL Approved Meat Slicer & Adjustable Speed Control Ever see the slicers at your favorite deli counter and wish you had that same precision and convenience at home? Now you can with one of our Weston Meat Slicers! The Weston Brand Heavy Duty 7" Food Slicer features a rugged, quiet running motor and a high quality removalble stainless steel blade allowing you to slice through all of your meat, cheese, bread, and vegitables quickly, safely, and easily! Features Include: Variable Speed Switch includes intermittent and continuous modes Compact design and cord compartment for easy storage and transportation High quality, 6 5/8" rotary, serrated stainless steel blade for precision slicing Removable blade for easy cleaning with easy push-button access Removable food carrage with handy food tray Corrosion resistant Aluminum housing Sturdy Base for stable and safe operation Food Pusher with teeth for controlled slicing Childproof operating switch CE/UL Approved 120 Volts, 150 Watts One year limited warranty
Weston 12x6x2-in. Nickle Plated Meat Injector This marinade injector is a great upgrade for serious backyard gourmets. It's made from nickel-plated brass and both the cap/plunger assembly and the injector needle unscrew for easy cleanup. The 4 oz. model allows for fewer fillings, has a detachable 6" needle with 10 holes on opposite sides for greater marinade distribution, and a 3 finger ring design for easy, one-hand operation. Features: 8" reservoir with a 6" Injector Needle 4 oz capacity for fewer fillings of your marinade injector 10 holes on opposite sides of the needle for greater marinade distribution