Meat is an integral part of many traditions and gastronomy, and its preparation can be real art. Whether you like it roasted, fried, grilled or as part of soups and stews, it is always important to have fresh and quality meat. That’s why you need to learn to value it while buying it.
Buying fresh meat is not an easy task. You have to pay attention to many things to make sure that you always get the highest quality for what you pay for. This means that you have to do your best to find a trusted seller, who you are sure keeps the meat properly.
The origin of the beef is also important, and very often the highest quality is not always available close to our geographical location. Fortunately, we can book our piece online or find a specialty meat processing shop to buy our quality piece of beef. For example, South Africa is known for its specific processing methods and authentic spices, and TheSavanna is exactly the South African expat in London you need.
If you look around, you will find many similar shops for such specialties. They often offer fresh meat, which we will talk about in this article because it is very important to know how to choose the right one that is best for you.
1. Talk to the Seller
Many people find the tactics in which they talk and make friends with sellers useful. Be nice and open, honest, and they will someday tell you how fresh the meat is and whether they recommend it. Plenty of customers are using this tactic, and surely they are getting the best cuts all the time.
2. Check the Packing Date
Fresh meat, especially beef, is often sold in vacuum packages or in special boxes with the expiration date written on it. Check these dates regularly to see if you are within when the product is good to use.
3. What Does the Meat Look Like?
A good piece of beef always looks red, attractive, and mouthwatering. If you notice a white layer on the meat, or it looks gray or green, then it means that it is not fresh or that it has been frozen. It should be juicy, instead of looking dry and with irregularities in the texture.
Also, the color should be the same all over the surface. If there are any irregularities, it means that the piece was either not well kept or is not fresh.
4. Check Its Elasticity and Firmness
Even when packed, you can easily tap with your finger. If the meat returns to its original shape after you press on it, it means that it is both elastic enough and contains enough water. But if there is a hole left, it is a clear sign that the piece of beef is at least a few days old and may still be safe to use, but it is not worth the risk.
So meat that looks darker and softer than it should be is certainly not fresh enough.
5. Does It Smell Unusual?
If an unpleasant stench spreads from the meat, then it is more than clear that something is wrong with it. But it may not smell bad, and it may still be rotten or old. Do not be ashamed to smell it. The smell of fresh meat is certainly not the most wonderful in the world, but it is not unpleasant.
However, if you notice that there is a bad smell in the butcher shop, then you should not buy from there at all, because regular hygiene is crucial for the products to stay fresh within the shelf life.
6. The Appearance, Surface, Presence of Fatty Traces
The fat of the beef should be clearly expressed and visible, ie it should have a contrast in the colors, but to keep the smooth texture. This way you are sure that you get a really fresh piece that contains your favorite flavors.
As we have already said, fresh beef must look delicious and attractive even when it is not ready yet. That way you are confident in its quality.
7. General Hygienic Conditions in the Butcher Shop
Butchers must be clean, disinfected, and the butcher must wash his hands before touching the meat and observing the hygiene standards. If all this does not seem fulfilled when you enter the store, we would recommend that you do not buy from there.
Fresh food is very work-specific, and contamination can occur in many ways – from improper storage, insects, and even touching with dirty hands or using the same cutting utensils.
The whole process we have described can be reduced to a few short steps, which you should focus on in particular – checking the smell, color, and elasticity of the meat. Other parameters also indicate freshness but are not as crucial as these three.
The trust store is also an important factor, as is the general hygiene of both the staff and the facility itself.
Many people choose to buy from local farms and support this type of production. You can do this at any time and get in touch with the farmers, and make sure that the meat is properly treated all the time until it reaches you.
The store’s reputation is not always a key factor, although it is really important in the process of providing fresh beef and other meats to consumers. Sometimes unintentional mistakes and oversights happen, but that does not mean that you should immediately judge everyone and stop using their services.
On the other hand, when it comes to quality food in your family, you do not have to make compromises. We are sure that you are ready to buy more expensive meat but to be sure of the quality, rather than save on it.
Our tips in this article are not new but are gathered in one place so that they can be used as a shopping guide. Remember them and always buy what you think is best for you and your family.