Meat Tips

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How much deli meat should I plan on?

How Much Deli Meat to Plan for a Party?

A question was asked recently about how much deli meat to plan for a party. Here's my response:

The answer to your question depends upon a few variables:

*Is this a dinner or a lunch? (People expect more and eat more at dinner)

*Is the deli meat the main source of meat or are there other meat dishes such as swedish meatballs, shrimp rings, wings, etc.? (You'll need less deli meat if there's other alternatives)

*Is there a lot of other foods served with this such as veggie trays, snacks, side dishes, etc.? (Even if the deli meat is the only meat, if you have a lot of sides you can go for a lower per pound amount per person)

Without knowing this, the standard I have found from my sources are to plan on 1/4 to 1/3 pound of deli meat per person. Adjust accordingly based upon the above questions. If there are other "meats" being served aim for the 1/4 pound mark, if this is the main meat and you're serving sandwiches aim for 1/3 pound or slightly more per person. If you are going to "err", do so by having too much rather than too little.

How can I reduce the fat content in my ground meat?

Drain Ground Beef to Save Money

Do you want to save some money when buying ground beef?

Sometimes the price difference between regular ground beef and lean ground round can be rather substantial, yet the difference in the fat percentage may not warrant the extra money spent. What can you do?

Drain it. Brown the meat almost all the way, then put in a colander and run hot water over it for 5 minutes. This should drain out most of the fat. Then return the meat to the skillet and finish browning. Low fat meat at a lesser cost.

How can I keep my hands clean when buying meat?

Keep Meat Juices Off Your Hands

Have you ever picked up a package of meat only to find that the juices are leaking out of the package? What a mess, not to mention unsanitary.

Next time you go shopping, pick up a few plastic produce bags from that department. You can use the bags as gloves as you pick through the packages. You can also turn your bags inside out, then pick up the meat package you want with the bag and wrap the bag around the meat without getting juice on your hands or other items in your cart.

How do I choose meat?

Cut Tenderness

When looking for tender cuts of meat, choose beef labeled loin or rib. These cuts come from the central suspension muscles so they are exercised less. The less exercise the muscles get, the more tender the cut of meat. You can prepare these tender cuts using dry heat cooking methods such as grilling and broiling.

If you choose cuts of beef labeled chuck or round they will be less tender. These cuts come from the front and rear muscles which are responsible for movement. These muscles are heavily exercised and therefore are less tender. Prepare these cuts using moist heat cooking methods such as in a crock pot.

How can I save money on meat?

Learn How to Save More on Meat

If you want to educate yourself further on how to save money on meat, please visit:

Eddie Kempker has written a fantastic book called "How to Shop Your Local Meat Counter". He's a Meat Department Manager who knows all the tips and tricks to try to save money on meat. Please check it out.

Should I buy meat by the pound?

Buy Meat by the Serving

Thrifty shoppers tend to purchase their meat by the servings provided rather than by the pound. The problem with buying meat by the pound is that each cut of meat provides a different amount of servings per pound.

Purchasing by the pound can lead to waste in gristle, fat, and bone. You really need to know the cost of the edible portion you are buying.

How can I save money on meat?

Look Around the Fresh Meat Counter

One good way to cut down on meat bills is to look carefully around the fresh meat counter. Very often there will be either a freezer or a refrigerated section of meat that was cut and wrapped the day before or earlier in the morning if you are shopping later. Since it is no longer considered "fresh", it is placed together in this section with the price marked down, sometimes as much as 50%. The meat is perfectly fine, but remember to either freeze it immediately or use it that evening. I have been able to get some very nice chioce cuts this way that I otherwise would not have been able to get.

How do I get the best value for my money in meat?

Buy for the Cut of Meat, Not the Price

Buying the cheapest package of meat is not always a good way to save money. Meats of poor quality contain a lot more of the things you don't want like bone, fat, and gristle. The more expensive cuts usually are much leaner, giving you an overall better value for the money. Buy for the cut of meat, not the price.

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Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson