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  • Need help with meat.



    Yep, as a recent former vegetarian I find myself in an odd position. I stopped eating meat before I learned to cook and didn't grow up eating much more than hamburger, overcooked pork chops, and chicken breast. Thus, I know very little about various kinds of meat and which are the best "Primal" types.


    I've gleaned from various posts that I should be eating the fattier cuts of beef, but (a) I don't know which those are because Google only wants to tell me what the leanest cuts are (damn CW), and (b) I'm buying grass-fed which is leaner than grain-fed, so now I really don't know how much fat in in those suckers. So assuming grass-fed, which cuts should I be buying?

    Here's another question. The bf recently cooked up a couple...er...strip steaks? I actually can't remember which cut they were, but they were narrow and about 1" thick, and had a pretty thick band of fat along one edge. I said "We're supposed to eat that now" to which he responded "go for it." I tried a bite and it was like a hunk of rubber in my mouth. The fat in bacon, okay. But that stuff? Do you really eat it? Or do you just gnaw on it during a movie?


    Okay, last one (for now): What other meats should I be trying out? I'm excited to try duck, since I've never had it and it's apparently very tasty, but it's also pricey so not a regular purchase. I like the dark meat of chicken, too. Have had pork a couple times at recent dinners out, but haven't bought any yet--totally in the dark on non-cured pork products, to be honest. And fyi, I'm still too fresh off the vegetarian boat to be eating lamb.


  • #2
    1



    I'm new to the world of red meat also, having been a vegetarian for years and then only eating fish and poultry for many years after that. I started eating grass-fed beef after reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma". I used to wish there was a cookbook entitled "The Vegetarian's Guide to Meat" because we were so clueless!


    Here's what my husband and I have been successful with: burgers (of course), beef stew, kabobs with beef or lamb, lamb chops, braised lamb shanks, flank steak (on the grill), and pot roast. Pretty basic stuff. I'm scared to buy a good grass-fed steak at $17 a pound and then ruin it. I love chicken thighs and whole roast chicken. We bought some ground pork and made Skinless Gyozas from a recipe video here at MDA, which were great! We are also heavy eaters of bacon and sausage. Luckily we can buy all this meat directly from local farmers.

    My blog: Pretty Good Paleo
    On Twitter: @NEKLocalvore

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    • #3
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      If it was like rubber even after being cooked well, it was probably mostly gristle. Cooked fat on a steak should almost melt in your mouth.

      You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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      • #4
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        I was just going to say that. Fat on a piece of meat that's prepared well melts in your mouth and is very delicious.

        Ground beef is actually not a bad idea if you're just starting out. Ground beef has a lot of fat parts grind in which makes it fattier than just most cuts of meat and also very versatile. But, of course, try to go for grass-fed ground beef whenever you can.

        Prime Rib is another excellent choice.


        If you're trying to cook a steak on the grill, make sure it's very hot. Either get some natural seasoning for steak or make some yourself and dry rub or marinate your piece of meat. Than, after you made sure the grill is very hot (if it's charcoal, the coals will be white on the outside and glowing-red on the inside), drop your steaks on the grill and don't touch them for about 2 minutes. Then, without flipping them, turn the steak 90 degrees to create that beautiful grill impression on the meat and leave it for about another 2 mins. Repeat the process on the other side and you're done. If you think you might like your steak more pinkish inside, reduce the grilling time.

        If you're cooking your steak inside, the best two options would be either seared on a cast iron pan that is very, very hot, or broiled under your over broiler. Make sure the broiler is set to hot. Season the meat and put it on a cookie sheet or something to hold it. Put it under the broiler and leave it for about 3-4 minutes. Make sure to check to see what it looks like. It will be smocking but what you're going for is a nice browned crust on the outside which will seal all the juices on the inside. Flip it over and repeat the process. The steaks come out very tender and juicy.


        Mark has quite a few nice recipes posted in Archives. Don't be afraid to browse

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        • #5
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          Try a rib eye steak, they are usually nice and fatty. The fat around the edges and near the bone will definitely melt in your mouth NY Strip is also good, T-bone has nice pockets of fat, and Porterhouse is just like a T-bone but with the full cut of tenderloin (aka "filet mignon") on one side. Speaking of tenderloin/filet mignon, it is very lean, but you'll see it cooked wrapped in bacon very often. This ups the fat and flavor, and is delicious! I'd also try wrapping chicken in bacon as well, again adds more fat and flavor.


          Bison is a good tasting red meat, but is pretty lean. Ground or steaks work well.


          Whole hog sausage is fattier than regular ground pork (in most places they are labelled differently, because CW says lean is best, so stores assume that's what you want with ground pork), and tastes much better. Pork chops are another good one, as is roasted pork butt. That will shred really nicely in the crock pot and makes for awesome green chili pork I'm not a big fan of pork tenderloin, but maybe I'd like that wrapped in bacon as well


          Whole chicken is delicious, love the dark meat myself. I chop up the breast meat and mix it with homemade mayo for chicken salad, to get more fat and flavor once again. That's also really good with a piece or two of bacon chopped up in it....so I might have a problem with bacon....


          Anywho, once you are ready for lamb, it has a wonderful flavor. The chops and leg and ground meat all sub in perfectly for beef but make a meal completely different. Maybe you'll be okay with it after a while.


          And definitely seach the recipes, I love almost everything I've made from them!

          You are what you eat,
          and what you eat eats too - Michael Pollan

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          • #6
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            Congratulations on learning to enjoy meat, @PrimalPanda!


            My favorite cut of steak is the boneless ribeye. Here is a picture of what they look like raw:




            And here's a bite of one, cooked. Notice the fat - it's delicious and mouth-melty.




            Note that these are grass fed and grain finished, which makes them fattier than grass fed and finished.

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            • #7
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              Yummy, Sue! Ribeyes are my favorite, for sure. T-bone/Porterhouse after that.


              I just had 6 oz of ground beef, Swiss cheese on top, and four strips of THICK bacon. Eight hundred, nice, fatty calories.


              As discussed on a recent steak cooking thread, the best indoor option for stove top is a ribbed cast iron skillet. Ribbed skillets let the juices drain away from the meat and don't burn them back in. More of the heat is done by infrared, like a grill, and less by conduction, like a pan.


              Lamb is not only tasty, for those of us that like it, you can be assured it is 100% grass fed, no hormones, AFAIK. Never feedlotted. Reasons enough.

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              • #8
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                *raises hand* ex veg head here. I'm still trying to experiment with meat myself. I had cornish game hen for the first time a few weeks back. It was good but a little disconcerting to have a little chicken body plopped right in front of me and expected to go to town on the carcass. I tried eating the little drumstick straight from the bone but had some texture issues with that so had to cut the meat off and eat it that way. This past weekend I thought I would be adventurous and cook up some chicken livers. One bite told me that would never happen again. So GROSS. Next I think I will try some gizzards.


                As for beef, I think I'm starting to get the hang of what the different cuts are. Texture issues with some of those though as well. I absolutely loved bison- both the steak and the ground versions.

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                • #9
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                  OTB that's why I like bison as well, all bison is grass-finished. You don't have to worry about it! Goat is the same I believe. Though I much prefer lamb to goat.

                  You are what you eat,
                  and what you eat eats too - Michael Pollan

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                  • #10
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                    I don't much care for liver, either, @DCKMA. But I do love chicken gizzards and hearts. I sautee the hearts (cut into quarters) in bacon fat and butter, then top with butter. Yum! Note, though, that hearts don't have many calories or much fat, so you need something else to make a whole meal.

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                    • #11
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                      Wow, awesome info everyone! Thank you! I'm going to go nuts at the farmers' market on Sunday. My bf will definitely take the advice about ribeyes and t-bones to heart; he LOVES steak and loves that I do now, too!


                      Even though I feel like a complete dunce in the kitchen all of a sudden, I haven't been excited about cooking in a few years and I am again. OTB, thanks for the note about grilling indoors. I have a grill pan like that that I've never used--I'll give it a shot.


                      Thank you all SO MUCH for all this information and advice. This is so helpful--can't say I'll be brave enough to try chicken hearts anytime soon, though!

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                      • #12
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                        crunchysue, I will try anything once so I'll add hearts with the gizzards! Thanks for the tip.

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                        • #13
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                          Diagrams help me out, depending on local name differences etc http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/meatcharts.html


                          I've found that because CW says lean is best, the nice fatty "traditional" cuts are usually also the cheapest - this is how I can just about afford organic/grassfed. Generally you can't go wrong with cheaper fatty cuts cooked slowly in stews / crockpots.


                          I don't know what you already know, but while beef and lamb (and game such as duck) are fine to eat pink / rare, pork and chicken *must* be cooked well. Usual test is to poke hole in thickest part of meat and check colour of juices (they should run clear when well/thoroughly cooked).


                          I didn't realise lamb was uncommon in America!


                          Try looking up traditional recipes for classic flavour combinations - e.g. pork goes well with sage, apples. Lamb goes with rosemary or mint. Try chicken with lemon and/or thyme. Duck is delicious but a nice tart orange sauce cuts through the yummy taste. Quick tip for duck breasts - score the skin with a sharp knife and put that side down in a hot pan - this will render some of the fat, so when you flip it over the lean side will cook in its own juices.


                          Apologies for the epic essay!

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                          • #14
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                            If you are not fond of liver taste you can mix some liver with egg yolks and a bit of mayo and make some deviled eggs. Yolk makes the taste of liver much milder and the two work together very well. hat helps.

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                            • #15
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                              I'm not a vegetarian, but spent many years never understanding how to cook...so, I guess you can say I came at it from a newbie pespective.


                              The book "Born to Grill" has excellent grilling instructions for all meat with precise minute times (which I really needed when I first started out)


                              Burgers are a great way to start & usually pretty fatty


                              Pot Roasts are wonderful way to try meat and you get several servings at once. This recipe has good pictures: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/pot_roast/


                              For liver go for a good liver pate. Wonderful stuff.


                              And...we do stick w/ grass-fed meat.

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