Access to a fresh local meat shopping market can be a blessing for anyone who loves to cook beef, chicken, pork, fish, and other items. Cooks often wonder if they need to use fresh meat or if they can get by with frozen stuff. Here are three signs in your cooking that it's time to go fresh and local.
Red meats have a chemical in them that's known as heme, and it's a precursor to the stuff that makes blood red. Keeping heme inside the meat can be a challenge if the meat has previously been frozen. You will often see the heme blow out from the meat during the thawing process if you don't cook it at the perfect time. A similar effect also occurs with chicken where a goopy material can blow out from thawed meat.
If you're seeing a layer of something slightly gooey on the meat or the bottom of the surrounding container before you take it out of the fridge, there's a good chance this effect is happening. Cooking fresh and local will reduce the risk of this blowout occurring. That means more of the heme will stay in the meat, providing better flavor.
Bear in mind that many companies freeze meat while they ship it, and then the store thaws it before putting it out. What might seem like fresh meat may actually still be thawed. This is why it's wise to use a fresh local meat shopping market.
The opposite problem can also happen. You might want to avoid cooking the meat too late so you elect to thaw it and cook it right away. However, timing can be a pain with this approach, too. The meat may seem totally thawed, but you'll discover it's still frozen a bit in the center.
In the worst scenario, this could leave raw meat in the middle. Even if it does cook to a safe temperature, it may still be uneven. Particularly if you're shooting for a perfectly even medium-rare steak, buying it from a fresh meat shopping market is your best option.
Meat quality usually is inversely proportional to the distance it traveled because people generally keep the good stuff for themselves. These cuts are known sellers so there isn't much reason to ship them elsewhere, especially if the packer risks degrading the meat through freezing and thawing processes.
If you want to know if the meat is high-quality, find a fresh meat shopping market. Get to know the staff and they'll help you pick the cuts that match your quality requirements.