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portioning meat

December 23, 2009

PhotobucketWhen I started to learn how to properly cook meat I was in my early twenties. I lived alone so I cooked most of my meals for myself. I always had a hard time finding cuts of meat that were fit for a single portion. They were either too big, or sliced so thin that they dried up and turned to rubber as soon as they were cooked. One day I was looking for a piece of meat to cook for myself and there were none under a pound. So I grabbed the thickest and best looking cut, took it home and cut it in half for thickness. I wrapped half up and put it in the fridge and had the other half for dinner. I have been portioning my own meat ever since.

I don’t think it is a secret that you can save money by buying in bulk, but in buying meat you can also often find a better product if you buy larger portions. You can apply this at many standard grocery stores, and Photobucketat butcher shops. Meat portioned in grocery stores is often pre-sliced very thin, which results in dry and overcooked meat. if you portion it yourself you can control thickness and size. One portion is equal to about 8 ounces (1/2 pound) of meat, give or take 2 ounces for fat and bone content. In my pictures I used a cut of beef that I got from my friend billy at the butcher shop Marlow & daughters in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It weighed about three pounds and I cut it into 4 individual portions and one double portion. When doing this you can cut the meat into fat chunks, or longer strips, but you want to keep the steak a nice thickness at all ends. The thicker, the better. The meat will keep fine if you wrap it in plastic and put it in the freezer and if you plan to freeze it for more than a month you can give it a second wrapping of foil to prevent freezer burn. If i am working a lot, but I know that tomorrow I am going to want to cook myself dinner I will take a piece of meat out to defrost the night before so it is ready when I get home. You can also buy things in bulk, like sausages and chicken parts and keep them for future consumption.Photobucket

If you are trying to buy cuts of beef, but are unfamiliar with which cuts are best for different types of cooking, ask your butcher. if you do not have access to a butcher, here is a website with a good beef guide. “The Joy of cooking” cookbook also has a lot of good information on cuts of meat and cooking methods.

Any meat you don’t plan on eating within three days can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for another time.

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