Tuesday, 26th May 2020
Food & Drink Article

This Month's Magazine
A good butcher

A good butcher

From a Halloween Bar- B-Que, to ordering the Christmas turkey, a good butcher should always be your first port of call.

Many people are concerned with the saturated fat and cholesterol content in foods, causing them to reduce or eliminate their consumption of red meat.

However, beef and other red meats, when eaten in moderation, can be part of a healthy diet. Only about 36% of the fat in lamb for example is saturated, the remainder being the slightly healthier form of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. When shopping for red meat, select lean cuts and use low fat cooking methods such as roasting.

Roasting is the best cooking method for large tender cuts of meat. Beef rib, pork loin, legs of lamb and whole poultry all roast well.

Before putting the joint into the oven, it is best to “brown” or “seal” the meat, this involves flash frying the outside of the meat in a very hot pan, with the result of sealing the juices in. Put the meat in a roasting pan, fat side up, if the joint is too large to brown before roasting, cook it at 450 degrees F for about twenty minutes, then lower the heat to 325%F and cook until done. When cooked beef, lamb and veal are generally rare at about 130%F, medium rare at 140-145%F and medium at 150%F. Pork and poultry should be cooked at past 150%F.

At the end of the cooking time , place foil over the meat and allow to “rest”, wait 10-20 minutes before carving, this helps to ensure that the juices stay in the meat rather then spilling all over the cutting board.

Chicken and other poultry are high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, making it a good choice for those on a healthy diet. Our bodies require a certain amount of protein daily and the body does not store protein so we need to replenish it on a daily basis.
Just 3 ounces of chicken provides a large part of our daily requirements of protein.


The first consideration when buying any meat should be the butchers shop itself, a high standard of hygiene is essential, especially living as we do in a hot country.

Meat should be of a good colour and, in the case of beef, relatively dry. Poultry should ideally be thorougly clean on the inside and have all innards removed (except in the case of Woodcock).

With this month having Halloween, what better way to celebrate then a BBQue? We are lucky here on the coast, that the weather stays mild until late in the year, this lends itself to outdoor catering for a longer period of time then in the UK. Whatever the occasion, it is always wise to buy good quality meat from a butcher you know and trust, the difference in taste between a fresh joint from an independent butcher and pre-packed supermarket meat can be considerable. For the sake of a small saving, is it worth compromising on quality? And with less wastage on a good joint you may even be saving money!

For beef there are eight “primal cuts” at the top of the animal, starting near the head and going back towards the tail, they are chuck, rib, short rib, short loin and sirloin. From the under side, brisket, plate and flank.

The tenderness of the cut depends on how much the animal has had to use the muscles. Therefore the shoulder or legs, which are used often for movement, are going to be tougher.

Water is also present in the muscles; some of it is bound-up with the proteins, fats and sugar. This is why a “well done” piece of beef is so dry, longer cooking time and higher temperatures draw the water away from the meat. To stop this happening, cover the joint with foil during cooking or cook slower and longer adding a little water to the pan. The same rules apply with most meat.

However you decide to cook it, you can be assured that by giving your family good quality meat with their meals, you will be providing them with a high source of protein.

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