Meat & Poultry Buying Guide

Pick just about any food lover and more often than not, he/she will be seen showing a strong affinity towards dishes that include meat or poultry, saving the odd vegetarian of course. While meat in most cases includes animal flesh, poultry is known to comprise of domesticated birds used either for their meat, feathers or eggs. The quality of meat or poultry used to prepare a dish along with the technique used to make it adds much taste to the food. Considered to be important constituents of food having many nutritional benefits, most countries have dedicated organizations, committees and boards that affix upon the amount of meat or poultry that should be consumed by individuals of varying age groups. The meat of adult mammals is known to be red meat while poultry is generally called white meat.

Meat:

In food, mainly the skeletal muscles and the related fat of an animal are used. Depending on an individual’s taste tissues like organs, skin, brains, marrow, livers, lungs and kidneys are also consumed. Meat mainly contains about 19 percent of protein, intra-muscular fat in 2.5 percent, 1.2 carbohydrates, and 2.3 percent of other non-soluble substances with the remaining 75 percent being water. While consuming meat has been identified as a natural source of zinc, protein, iron and B vitamins, some researchers have also associated it with weight loss. On the flipside however, specific investigations also link meat consumption to certain types of cancers and heart diseases.

Types of Meat:

Pigs:

These were known to have a high commercial value in the Greco-Roman period and are believed to have been domesticated as early as 2500BC. Modern times have seen the breeding of pigs specifically to suit certain kind of meat products. Among the various foods that can be prepared from pig meat, pork sausages , bacon andhams are the most popular in virtually all nations across the globe. Few other Pork items worth mentioning:
  • Pork Roast
  • Pork Franks
  • Smoked Pork Loin
  • Barbecue Ribs
  • Pork balls
  • Boudin
  • Pork burgers
  • Pork Chop Patty
  • Pork Cutlets
Here are the different cuts of a Pig:
  • head,
  • blade/arm shoulder,
  • loin,
  • leg,
  • spare rib,
  • side and
  • hock.

Sheep:

Having their origin in Western Asia, sheep is an important part of many popular cuisines across the globe. Interestingly there are nearly 200 breeds of sheep that currently domesticated for their meat. The meat of a young sheep is referred to as lamb. Few lamb items worth mentioning:
  • Lamb chops
  • Lamb Shank
  • Roasted lamb
  • BBQ Lamb
Here are the different cuts of a lamb:
  • shoulder,
  • Rack,
  • Loin,
  • Leg,
  • Neck,
  • Breast,
  • Shanks and
  • Flank.

Cattle:

Animals that are domesticated as cattle for the purpose of obtaining meat from them include cow and buffalo. They are called beef cattle and are quite satiated by various cultures. Cows, Bulls, Heifers and Steers - All produce beef. Few beef items worth mentioning:
  • Roast beef
  • Smoked Beef
  • grilled steak
  • Beef curry.
Here are the different cuts of a Beef:
  • Chunk,
  • Brisket,
  • Shank,
  • Rib,
  • Plate,
  • Flank,
  • Loin,
  • Sriloin,
  • Tenderloin and
  • Round.

Goat:

In a number of regions, goat meat is enjoyed and obtained from approximately three hundred species of goats. The meat of an adult goat is called mutton while that from its young one is known as kid.

Nutritional value of meat:

Usable and edible meat depends on whether the animal fits the planer of nutrition well. This mainly refers to how over or underfed the animal. Animal growth is additionally based on the food the animal has been fed on. Animals that thrive on plant feed should be kept as far from plants that contain insecticides and pesticides as far as possible. Generally these substances have the potential to accumulate in the body and hence could prove fatal to individuals consuming it. Meats are often very high in protein and could offer important benefits especially to growing children. Meats are also typically enriched in important amino acids.

Poultry:

Determined from the French word ‘poule’, poultry includes the rearing of birds mostly for their meat and eggs. The poultry industry is typically distinguished by members of the fowl and waterfowl category. The former includes birds like
  • Turkey,
  • Chicken and
  • Quail
while the latter constitutes
  • Ducks and
  • Geese
that are tamed for meat. A number of other birds are also consumed by an array of people across the world though not necessarily bred. This includes
  • Doves,
  • Pigeons,
  • Emu etc.
Poultry products that are consumable include
  • Live birds,
  • Eggs,
  • Processed chicken and
  • Broilers.
The poultry industry has advanced over the past decade or so with a significant increase in consumption. The area of a domesticated bird that has most meat is around its chest where the flight muscles appear and is called breast meat . The next meatiest part is called as the thigh and drumstick and includes meat from around the walking muscles and the second portion of the bird’s legs. Though poultry generally falls under the category of white meat, red muscle in birds also offers dark meat. While some birds like geese and ducks have dark meat all through their body, others like chicken are part white and part red.

Types of Poultry:

Chicken:

The kinds of chicken bred are Red Junglefowl, Sonnerat’s Junglefowl and Grey Junglefowl. This kind of poultry is more common in Southeast Asia.

Turkey:

Most relished in Mexico, wild turkey meat is enjoyed by people from other cultures too. Indian peafowl, mute swan and the domesticated gunieafowl are some other birds whose meat is enjoyed all across the globe.

Goose:

Swan goose and graylag goose are the kind of geese domesticated for their meat and eggs

Duck:

Domesticated in many countries across the world, Muscovy duck and mallard are the ones consumed.

Emu:

Emu Meat is lower in fat compared to Chicken, Turkey etc and higher in other nutitional needs and Protein to be specific. Currently many researches have been conducted regarding Emu meat and Emu oil. Emu oil contains several essential fatty acids including Omega 3 and Omega 6 . Research says Emu oil is beneficial for pain and inflammation of injured tissues and joints and can be used for skin nourishing/moisturizing, healing skin rashes, bruises/burns, stiff muscles & joints and even used for hair care.

Nutritional value of poultry:

Taking off the skin of poultry makes it low in fat and it is believed to be one of the balanced kind of meats to be consumed. While being rich in minerals and vitamins, it is also an essential provider of amino acids and proteins needed for overall growth along with the repair of wear and tear in the body. Those who engage in high physical exercise are generally recommended to consume poultry in moderate proportions. It also finds in a place in the diet of individuals suggested a low calorie meal mainly due to its low fat content. Being a good source of iron, poultry meat is also very easy to assimilate in the body. Generally the thigh area of the poultry however is high in fat and is consumed mainly to satiate the palate rather than add nutritional value to a meal.

Preservation:

Maintaining the nutrients in the food, preservation plays an important role in overall consumption of the meat and poultry product. There are various methods to preserve the meat to be used later and refrigeration is the most common technique. It is essential to use the best option so that the quality of the meat or poultry is not degraded during preservation.

Few applianaces for Meat & Poultry

  • Meat thermometer
  • Meat Grinder
  • Sausage Stuffer
  • Meat Slicer
  • Turkey Fryer
  • Slow cooker
  • Deep Fryer
  • Grills
    • Electric Grill
    • Gas Grill
    • Charcoal Grill
  • BBQ Oven
  • Food Dehydrator
Note:The U.S. poultry industry is the world's largest producer of poultry meat.

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