At Balducci's we only serve choice or Prime meats, NEVER any other grades.
Cuts of meat and how to cook them:
The most important thing to understand when buying meat is where the cut comes from on the animal. That will determine what cooking method you will need to use.
- Cuts from the legs and shoulders: These cuts such as the chuck, top round, bottom round, blade, and shoulder clod are typically tough cuts of meat. The reason is simple; these muscles work hard on the animal. Most of these cuts require long, slow cooking with some moisture (like a pot roast) to get a tender piece of meat. That being said, these are some of the most delicious and satisfying pieces of meat when cooked properly. The beauty of these cuts is that they are much less expensive than cuts from the loin and are wonderful when braised. Other braising cuts are Osso Bucco, lamb shanks, stew meat, briskets.
- Cuts from the loin: These cuts such as the tenderloin (filet mignon) strip loin (NY strip steaks), Rib eyes (prime rib, Delmonico steaks), T Bone, Porterhouse steaks, All are well suited to high heat and quick cooking. Pan searing, grilling, broiling, blackening, sauteing are all appropriate for these cuts as they are naturally tender. They come from an area in the animal (under the ribcage) that does little if no work. These cuts can be served rare or medium rare and still be quite tender. They are more expensive, but are generally considered worth it.
Other important tips about meat:
- Cut against the grain: This is very important in cuts of meat that have a visible "grain." This grain can be easily seen as the direction that the meat fibers run. Cuts such as Flank steak, hangar steak and brisket all have very pronounced grains. All cuts will have a grain and if visible, meats should always be cut against the grain. This shortens the length of the meat's fibers and makes for a much more tender bite.
- American beef and lamb is grain fed and has a milder flavor than Australian beef and lamb, which is grass-fed and has a stronger flavor.
Turkeys and whole birds
- If roasting a whole turkey, tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath.
- Season the internal cavity of the bird and under the skin with salt and pepper.
- If you are putting stuffing inside of the turkey, the center of the stuffing must reach a temperature of 165F.
- Baste the turkey every 30 min.
- Roast the turkey at approximately 350 degrees F. Cooking time is dependent upon the size, but a good rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound. Ergo, a ten pound bird will take a little more than three hours to roast.
- If roasting from a raw bird, the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh must reach 165 degrees F in order to be done.