When purchasing fresh or frozen meat products for your family, there are a lot of factors that you need to take into consideration. Meat is an excellent source of protein and a variety of nutrients that are necessary for leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Many meat products also provide simple and convenient weeknight meal ideas for parents who work full-time and have limited time to cook.
That said, how can you tell if you’re choosing a high-quality cut of meat? Keep reading this article for some useful tips for buying meat at your local halal butcher shop in person or online in Toronto and the GTA.
Read the Label Carefully
Everything you need to know about the cut of meat you’re purchasing is right there on the label. Meat and poultry packaging labels in Canada must include (depending on fresh/frozen):
- The type and cut of the meat (fresh/frozen)
- The production date or lot code (fresh/frozen)
- The sell-by date (fresh)
- The use-by date (fresh)
- The weight of the meat (fresh/frozen)
- The price by weight (fresh/frozen)
- Ingredients list
- Nutritional information (fresh/frozen/product dependant)
- Cooking safety instructions (product dependant)
- Storage instructions (fresh/frozen)
- Grain-fed or organic stickers (fresh/frozen/product dependant)
- Country of origin (if not Canadian)
- Inspection stamp (fresh/frozen)
If the meat is pre-seasoned, then it’s especially important to read the label carefully in case it contains ingredients that you might be allergic to. The inspection stamp is also important because it indicates that the food product is safe for consumption.
The Colour and Smell of the Meat
Next, you should carefully inspect the smell and colour of the meat. Different types of fresh and frozen meat products have different colours and smells that indicate whether or not they’re still safe to consume. Contact with oxygen can alter the colour, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the meat is unsafe. Red meat can typically be purple, red, or even brown whereas poultry can be a translucent blue-white or yellow colour. Sometimes, the diet of the animal can also impact the colour of the meat.
Raw meat and poultry have a very distinct slightly metallic and bloody smell to it. While this smell is a little unpleasant, it’s usually hardly noticeable and it’s nothing compared to the pungent sour or egg-like odour of rotten meat and chicken.
Meat to Fat Ratio and Marbling
Marbling is fairly common in premium cuts of red meat. It consists of varying degrees of flecks of white intramuscular fat distributed throughout the meat. The more marbling your meat has, the higher the fat content is. High meat fat benefits include a richer, juicier, and more flavourful and tender meat. For this reason, wagyu beef is considered to be one of the most premium cuts of meat in the world. Lean meat tends to be less flavourful and dries out more easily during the cooking process.
Check the Texture of the Meat
Texture is another important factor to consider when purchasing meat or poultry. Red meat and poultry both have the same textural standards that indicate freshness. Raw meat should be firm to the touch and dry. A slimy or sticky texture usually means the meat or poultry has gone bad.
Buy Premium Quality Halal-By-Hand Meat from The Meathead Store™
The best way to ensure you’re getting premium quality halal-by-hand meat and poultry products is to purchase them directly from a reputable butcher shop online in the GTA. The Meathead Store™ offers convenient contactless/limited contact halal meat delivery in Oakville and the rest of the GTA. Make us your go-to halal butcher shop in Toronto. Contact us today to learn more or to place your order.