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How To Buy Beef

How to Buy Beef
Before you begin cooking, pick the cut of meat that best suits your dinner plan. Tender, less lean cuts are perfect for the oven or the grill and are delicious plain or dressed up with sauces. Leaner, chewier cuts become more tender and delicious when marinated, thinly sliced and grilled quickly or braised. Check our charts  for recommendations on how to prepare different types of meat cuts.

For any cut of meat, look for red meat with white fat that is marbled evenly across the grain. Prime grade meat ( the highest grade ) is tender and highly marbled. Unfortunately, prime grade is expensive and difficult to find. The average supermarket carries choice grade meat as well as the less flavorful, and less tender, select grade.

The best meat you can buy is dry-aged in special meat coolers to develop the flavor and tenderize the meat. Most beef
 however, is wet-aged, if aged at all, in vacuum-packed bags for one to four weeks. This process improves the tenderness of the beef, but does not improve the flavor.

Testing for Doneness:

The best way to tell if the meat is done is to ( carefully ) touch or squeeze the meat itself. Rare meat feels a bit like the texture of the flesh between your thumb and index finger; medium meat has a slight spring to it; well-done meat is firm. You also can check by cutting a small slice into your meat with a thin knife. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature for rare steak is 125 to 130 degrees, medium-rare is 130 to 140 degrees, medium is 140 to 150 degrees, and well done is 165 degrees.