Meat Food Facts
White is Right
White is right. It's not to say that dark meat doesn't have its place on your plate, but to be truly healthy when choosing meats, go for the light or white meats first. Chicken breasts, pork and turkey are your absolute best options for lean, high-protein food.
Enter the No-Fry Zone
No-fry zone. Frying meat does nothing but add fat to a meal. Bake meat or broil it. In the summer, throw it on the grill.
Buy the leanest cut of steak you can find and if you buy hamburger, go for the 93 percent or higher lean meat. You can season it up the same way for meatloaf or burgers and cut out as much of the fat as possible.
- Only one in 1000 pigs are now found to contain the richinosis parasite. However, it is still a good idea to cook pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. The parasite is killed at 137 degrees.
- Pigs are not an efficient source of protein. They require almost eight pounds of grain and soy to produce one pound of meat. Cows require about seven pounds and chickens less than three pounds.
- There are 1.3 billion head of cattle worldwide, which consumes a third of the world's grain.
- A four ounce serving of meat reduces to 3 ounces after cooking, so plan accordingly.
- Sweetbreads are a calf's thymus gland which helps the animal fight disease and disappears six months after they are born. Three ounces contain 21 grams of fat.
- The latest statistics show that Americans love their beef. Ninety-one percent eat beef regularly and the beef industry spends at least 45 million each year on advertising.
- Americans consume approximately 11 ounces of meat per day, which calculates to approximately 250 pounds of beef annually, more than any other country in the world. The Japanese only eat 2 ounces of meat daily or approximately 46 pounds of beef annually.
- Searing meat will not lock in juices. It will, however, provide a crusty brown covering which is very tasty.
- Father's Day is the biggest beef eating day of the year, with over 80 million pounds consumed.
- The Japanese are producing the world's most expensive beef. Kobe beef cattle are fed a diet of soybeans and beer and even given a daily massage. Kobe beef has two to three times the fat of prime U.S. beef.
- Fall is the best time to find lower beef prices.
- Meat grinders and cutting boards should be washed thoroughly after each use. Bacteria grow very quickly and may contaminate the next food.
- If you are troubled by meats turning grey when cooking, try cooking a smaller quantity the next time in the same size pot. Excess steam generated by overcrowding is the problem.
- Reindeer meat should be avoided if imported from Finland due to radiation contamination as a result of the 1980 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
- When buying meat, figure the cost per pound, a boneless cut usually cost less per serving.
- To make a fatty roast look better, try refrigerating it after its cooked or until the fat solidifies, then remove the fat, baste and cook until re-heated.
- Hamburgers will cook faster if you make a few punctures in them before cooking. This allows the heat to circulate more evenly.
- Meat may slice more thinly if it is partially frozen.
- Tomatoes added to roasts will help tenderize them naturally. Tomatoes contain an acid that works well to break down meats.
- To eliminate bacon curling, try soaking the bacon in cold water for two minutes before frying. Dry well with paper towels. If they still curl, sprinkle with flour. If they still insist on curling, you are out of luck.
- Meats should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than three days in the original wrapper.
- In order to cure ham, a solution of brine salts, sugar and of course a good dose of nitrites are injected into the ham. If the total weight goes up 8 percent, the label may read "Ham, with natural juices". If it goes up over 8 percent, it will read "Water added".
- Choose bacon with the most meat. The higher nitrite levels are found in the fat.
- Bacon should be cooked on paper towels in a microwave oven to reduce the nitrosamine levels.
- If you can find it use nitrite-free bacon. Most imitation bacon products still contain nitrities.
- The fat content in some turkey bacon products may be close to equaling the real thing; read your labels carefully.
- Never re-freeze meats. That includes luncheon meats and hot dogs. The salt content favors the development of rancidity.
- Always completely cook meats; never leave them partially uncooked until another day.
- The E. coli bacterium that may cause illness or even death normally resides only on the surface of meats. Steaks or roasts grilled on both sides normally will kill any bacteria. Hamburger is another story since when it is ground the outside becomes the inside and a higher temperature is needed to cook the inside of the meat thoroughly.
- Most hot dogs contain large amounts of edible offal, which may include animal skins, snouts, ears, esophagi, bone and etc. etc.
- The best quality hot dogs are Kosher, which contain only pure muscle meat. However, even though they do not contain edible offal, they still have nitrites.
- Bologna may contain up to 30 percent fat and 10 percent water.
- Pork sausage and breakfast sausage may contain up to 50 percent fat.
- If hot dogs are labeled "All meat" or "All Beef", they must contain at least 85 percent meat or beef. The "All Meat" variety can contain a blend of beef, pork, chicken or turkey and of course, edible offal.
- Smoked meats should be refrigerated.
- Lean veal can have as little as one-tenth the fat as lean beef. Cholesterol content is the same.
- Ground meats (hamburger and hot dogs) are prone to a process called self oxidation. The more surface of the meat you expose to oxygen, the faster the meat will deteriorate.
- Meat that has been cooked (the more well done the better) the more easily broken down and digested to a partial molecular breakdown. This only takes place the longer the meat is cooked, unless it is marinated or tenderized in a papaya-based product.
- If meats are cooked only to medium-well (170 degrees) it will increase the B1 availability by 15 percent over well done beef (185 degrees).
- Small cuts of beef will spoil faster and should not be kept in the refrigerator without freezing for more than two to three days. Liver, sweetbreads, cubed meats or marinated meats should be used with a day or frozen.
- Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are best absorbed and utilized if they come from beef, approximately 90 percent absorption rate. Legumes are next with a rate of 80 percent with grains and vegetables at about 60 to 88 percent.
- Remember when beef or hamburger is labeled 75 percent lean, it is still 25 percent fat content, which is a lot of fat. Since fat has twice as many calories as lean beef, a hamburger patty may be as high as 70 percent fat.
- Beware of the words "lean" and "extra lean" on ground beef. When a steak is labeled "lean", it cannot have more than 10 percent fat. "Extra lean" can have no more than 5 percent fat. However, ground beef has different standards and when labeled "lean" or "Extra lean" can have as much as 22 percent fat.
- Veal has less fat than any meat and usually comes from young milk-fed calves. It is more costly, but has less hormones and is very tender.
- Never eat raw meat of any kind. Cooking destroys many toxins.
- Three ounces of hamburger will supply you with twice the fat as lean beef (top sirloin).
- One pound of charcoal barbecue steak contains as much carcinogens (cancer forming agent) as the smoke in 15 cigarettes. The dripping fat on the charcoal causes a chemical substance called a benzopyrene to be released and is found in he black coating on the meat. Wrap the meat in foil for protection.
- The best hamburger is made by choosing the leanest piece of round steak you can find, having the butcher cut off all visible fat and grind it through the grinder twice. Grinding twice will break the fat into smaller globules, allowing more to be lost in the cooking process.
- Hot dogs contain less protein in 3-1/2 ounces than any other meat source. It also contains high quantities of edible offal and a good dose of nitrities.
- Hot dogs may contain up to 56 percent water and up to 3 percent powdered bone, if listed on the ingredient list.
- Forty-five percent of all meat hot dogs may consist of water, fat and additives.
- Corn syrup is found in most hot dogs.
- Pork sausage and breakfast sausage may contain up to 50 percent fat.
- Lower grades of beef, such as standard and commercial are lower in fat, perfectly safe and just as nutritious as the more expensive choice and prime cuts. Their protein to fat ratio is much higher, due to the lower fat content. However, unless your buying hamburger, tenderization will probably be needed.
- If meat is prepared several hours before cooking, it should be refrigerated and wrapped loosely, allowing air to circulate around it.
- Meat consumed in large quantities can inhibit the absorption of the mineral manganese.
- It takes 100 grams of beef to equal 20 grams of protein.
- Hamburger will be found in a variety of grades and contains the highest percentage of saturated fat of any meat.
- Hamburger will be found graded "Lean", "Extra Lean", and even "Extra, Extra Lean". All of these will still have more fat than the ground round steak.
- Bacon substitutes such as Sizzlean still contain sodium nitrite.
- If you must eat luncheon meats, try to choose ones that are made from chicken or turkey and have the lowest percentage of at content. Remember, they still contain nitrites.
- Rotisserie cooked meats and poultry will contain less fat than those that are fried or cooked in their own juices.
- Ready-to-cook meat products will usually have more fat than the same meats in the meat cases. The market or manufacturer can get away with leaving more fat on the meat.
- Ground pork products should be kept frozen for no longer than two months.
- Meat tenderizers are usually made from extracts of papaya, pineapple or lemon.
- Place leftover stews into individual baking dishes or small casserole dishes, cover with pie crust or dumpling mix and bake.
- If you scorch meat, soak it in a towel in hot water and wring out as best as possible. Cover the meat and let it stand for five minutes before scraping off burned area with a knife.
- To prevent the fat from splattering when frying sausage, try flouring them lightly.
- Hamburger fried in catsup gives it a barbecue flavor and adds sugar.
- If you place a small piece of ice inside your meatballs before browning, they will be moist.
- Flat beer and hard cider are excellent for tenderizing beef. Their fermentation qualities do the trick.
- When making hamburger patties chill them first and they will be easier to form.
- To bread meats, shake them in a brown bag with flour and seasonings.
- Always cut meats across the grain when possible, they will be easier to eat and have a better appearance.
- To bring out the flavor in a ham loaf, add a small amount of rosemary.
- To remove a ham rind easily, slit the rind lengthwise before it is placed in the pot. As it bakes, the rind will pull away and can be removed.
- When cooking pork buttes, rub the meaty side with table salt an hour before cooking to draw any water in the pork to the surface. This will help tenderize and flavor the pork.
- To avoid your meatloaf from cracking, try rubbing a small amount of cold water on the top and sides before placing it in the oven.
- When frying meat, try sprinkling paprika over it and it will turn golden brown.
- Place dry onion soup mix in the bottom of your roaster pan. When you remove the roast, add one can of mushroom soup and you will have a good brown gravy.
- Another way to bread meats is to dip them into slightly beaten eggs with a little milk added, then into seasoned bread crumbs. Then place into the refrigerator for 40 minutes to allow the breading to adhere before cooking.
- Liver will be tenderer if soaked in milk or tomato juice and placed in the refrigerator for one to two hours before cooking.
- When tenderizing your meat, try spreading a small amount of flour on the surface to help retain the juices.
- To stop sausages from splitting open when they are fried, try making a few small punctures in the skins when they are cooking.
- If you want cooked meat to remain tender, leave it in its own cooking juices when it is stored.
- If venison is soaked in ginger ale overnight, it will eliminate the gamey flavor.
- Placing meats in white vinegar and water for five minutes will make them more tender.
- To reduce the shrinkage in sausages, they should be boiled for three to five minutes before frying.
- For a too-salty ham, partially bake it and drain all the juices. Pour a small bottle of ginger ale over it and let it bake until done.
- To keep fat from splattering when frying bacon, sprinkle a small amount of salt in the frying pan.
- When you figure the cost per meal of a meat portion, consider the weight of the fat and bone. It may account for as much as 30 percent of the cost.
- When preparing meatloaf, place a slice or two of Sizzelean under the uncooked loaf to keep pit from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Make meatloaf in muffin tins for individual servings that will be ready in only 15 to 20 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.
- When cooking hot dogs, try using the top of a double boiler to warm your buns.
- To separate bacon slices, place the package in the microwave for a few seconds.
- For a real treat, try mixing seasoned stuffing mix with hamburgers.
- When re-heating meats, try placing the pieces in a casserole dish with lettuce leaves in between the slices. The slices will be tender and moist.
- To keep lamb chops, pork chops or even poultry from sticking to the bottom of a pan, try placing a few stalks of celery in the bottom to act as a rack to hold them. This will also add flavor and moisture while they are cooking.
- If your hamburger is too dry, due to a reduced fat content, try adding one stiffly beaten egg white for each pound of hamburger. Alternatively, add one large grated onion for each 1-1/2 pounds, or you could make the patties with a tablespoon of cottage cheese in the center. Instant potato flakes will also work well. We get one pound of beef for every 16 pounds of grain.
- In an average week, Americans eat 350 million hot dogs. This equates to a hot dog 60 feet thick and the length of a soccer field.
- Hamburger contains more saturated fat per ounce than any other saleable meat.
- Even though hamburger is sold as 100 percent pure beef, legally it can still contain "edible offal", which consists of beef lungs, hearts, lips, bone, ears, snouts and esophagi.
- A beef brisket is done when the fat starts to roll off, but will be overcooked if you can pull the fat off with your fingers.
- The Skinniest Six Cuts of Meat: Eye of the Round, Top Round, Round Tip, Top Sirloin, Top Loin, Tenderloin
- Americans average 75 pounds of beef, 44 pounds of pork and 40 pounds of chicken per year. This amounts to one-half pound of meat every day.
- Gelatin comes from cattle skin and bones which are an excellent source of protein, but is missing two essential amino acids.
- Beef should not be seasoned with any type of salt until it is 3/4 cooked. This will help retain the flavor and make it juicier.
- When cooking (boiling) tough beef, add a small amount of vinegar to help tenderize it.
- The most tender chuck steak is the first cut, which may also be called the blade cut. If you can see a small piece of white cartilage near the top of the steak, you have found the first cut.
- The eye of the round steak is normally cut into two pieces. Best to buy the roast that has the same diameter ends. This will be the first cut and the most tender.
- Always buy round steak in uneven oyster-cut shapes. These will be the first cuts and will be nearer the sirloin.
- When buying lamb and you are only purchasing half a leg, make sure that it weighs at least four pounds. Any smaller and it will have a higher amount of bone and less meat.
- To prevent sausages from shrinking, roll them in flour before frying.
- An excellent substitute for bread crumbs is quick-rolled oats as a coating for meatloaf.
- Place a few grapes in the pan when cooking venison for a special flavor treat.
- Thaw meats as quickly as possible, preferably under refrigeration, then cook immediately.
- For best results when cooking a roast, rotate it one-quarter turn every 20 to 25 minutes.
- Wild game will be lower in fat and cholesterol. Best are venison, wild boar, pheasant, buffalo and elk. Prices are very high on some of these meats.
- The best lamb comes from New Zealand (spring lamb). Since it is against the law to use hormones and tenderizers, the meat is safer than most countries.
- There are five grades of lamb: Prime, Choice, Good, Utility and Cull. Prime never makes it to the markets and is only sold to restaurants. Choice and Good are usually available.
- Fresh beef is cherry-red in color. The darker the beef the older the animal. Fat should be white, not yellow.
- Beef is the most readily available meat, but is usually the most tainted.
- To cook ground meat for specialty dishes, try crumbling the meat into a microwave-safe colander and place it over a small bowl. The fat will drain out into the bowl.
- A cow is more valuable for its milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, etc., than it is for its beef.
- When cooking any type of meat, always use a meat thermometer.
- Thaw all meats in the refrigerator for maximum safety.
- Retired (older) cattle are the cattle used to make hamburger, soups, pot pies and TV dinners.
- To keep your meatballs from falling apart when cooking, try placing them into the refrigerator for 20 minutes before cooking.
- Special words are used by supermarkets to make you believe you are getting better grades of meat: Premium, Quality, Select Cut, Market Choice, Prime Cut, etc.
- High meat intake may cause excessive calcium losses through the urine.
- Leftover cooked meat can be kept four to five days in the refrigerator. Never eat after five days!
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