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Understanding Food. Chapter 14: Meat. Types of Meats. Beef Cattle are classified according to age and gender . Steers are male cattle that have been castrated while young so that they will gain weight quickly.

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Understanding Food

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Understanding food

Understanding Food

Chapter 14:


Types of meats

Types of Meats


  • Cattle are classified according to age and gender.

    • Steers aremale cattle that have been castrated while young so that they will gain weight quickly.

    • Bulls are older uncastrated males, usually used in processed meats and pet foods.

    • Heifers, females that have not borne a calf, are also used for meat.

    • Cows are female cattle that have borne calves and this meat is less desirable than that from steers or heifers.

Types of meats1

Types of Meats

Veal comes from calves of beef cattle, either male or female, between the ages of three weeks and three months.

  • Calves three to eight months old are too old for veal and too young for beef.

Types of meats2

Types of Meats

Lamb and Mutton

  • Lamb comes from sheep less than fourteen months old.

  • Mutton from those over fourteen months.


  • Derived from young swine of either gender slaughtered at between seven and twelve months of age.

Composition of meats

Composition of Meats

Structure of Meat

  • Meats are composed of a combination of:

    • Water

    • Muscle

    • Connective tissue

    • Adipose (fatty) tissue

    • Bone

Composition of meats1

Composition of Meats

  • Collagen:A pearly white, tough, and fibrous protein that provides support to muscle and prevents it from over-stretching.

  • Marbling:Fat deposited in the muscle that can be seen as little white streaks or drops.

Composition of meats2

Composition of Meats

  • The animal’s age, diet, and species affect the color and texture of fat.

Composition of meats3

Composition of Meats

  • Exposure of meat to oxygen changes the color of myoglobin, and therefore the meat.

  • Cooking meat initially converts the color of raw meat to bright red.

Composition of meats4

Composition of Meats

  • The food industry uses several methods to keep meat products from turning brown.

    • One such method is the addition of nitrites to processed meats.

  • Extractives:Flavor compounds consisting of nonprotein, nitrogen substances that are end-products of protein metabolism.

Purchasing meats

Purchasing Meats

  • To ensure that consumers are purchasing meat that is safe, federal laws require the inspection of animal carcasses.

  • In addition to this mandatory inspection for safety, meat may also be assigned yield grades and the later quality grades to assist consumers in selection.

Purchasing meats1

Purchasing Meats

  • The Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906 made inspection mandatory for all meat crossing state lines or entering the United States through foreign commerce.

Purchasing meats2

Purchasing Meats

  • The grading of meat is not under government mandate or control, but is a strictly voluntary procedure that the meat packer or distributor may have done under contract with the USDA.

Purchasing meats3

Purchasing Meats

  • Yield grade:The amount of lean meat on the carcass in proportion to fat, bone, and other inedible parts.

Purchasing meats4

Purchasing Meats

Tenderness of Meats

  • Overall, natural meat tenderness is due to factors such as the cut, age, and fat content.

    • Meats can also be treated to make them more tender.

    • Preparation temperatures and times also have an influence on tenderness.

Purchasing meats5

Natural Tenderizing

The particular cut of the meat

Age at slaughter (connective tissue concentration)

Heredity and diet


Slaughtering conditions


…all play a part in determining tenderness

Rigor mortis:From the Latin for “stiffness of death,” the temporary stiff state following death as muscles contract.

Aging:Ripening that occurs when carcasses are hung in refrigeration units for longer periods than that required for the reversal of rigor mortis.

Purchasing Meats

Purchasing meats6

Prior to reaching the supermarket, a carcass is divided into about seven wholesaleor primal cuts.

Wholesale (primal) cuts:The large cuts of an animal carcass, which are further divided into retail cuts.

These wholesale cuts are then divided into the retail cutspurchased by consumers.

Retail cuts:Smaller cuts of meat obtained from wholesale cuts and sold to the consumer.

Purchasing Meats

Understanding food

Refer to p. 263 for complete figure.

Purchasing meats7

Purchasing Meats

  • Variety meats:The liver, sweetbreads (thymus), brain, kidneys, heart, tongue, tripe (stomach lining), and oxtail (tail of cattle).

Preparation of meats

Preparation of Meats

Preparation of meats1

Preparation of Meats

  • Carry-over cooking:The phenomenon in which food continues to cook after it has been removed from the heat source as the heat is distributed more evenly from the outer to the inner portion of the food.

Preparation of meats2

Preparation of Meats

F I G U R E 1 4 - 1 8 Touch as a test for doneness.

Preparation of meats3

Preparation of Meats

  • Tender cuts are usually prepared by one of the dry-heating methods:

    • Roasting (baking)

    • Broiling

    • Grilling

    • Panbroiling

    • Frying

Preparation of meats4

Preparation of Meats

  • Less tender cuts of meat are usually prepared by moist-heat methods such as:

    • Braising

    • Simmering/stewing

    • Steaming

  • Microwave ovens are usually not the best option for cooking meats, except for thawing and reheating leftovers.

Storage of meats

Storage of Meats

  • Meat contains high percentages of water and protein, both ideal for the growth of microorganisms.

    • Consequently, meat should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

      • Meats are best refrigerated at just above freezing (32°F/0°C), between 32°F and 36°F (0° to 2°C).

Storage of meats1

Storage of Meats

Wrapping Meat

  • Most retail meats are packaged with plastic wrap and can be refrigerated in their original wrap for up to two days.


  • Meats to be frozen should be wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, heavy plastic bags, or freezer paper and stored at or below 0°F (18°C).

Classification of poultry

Classification of Poultry

  • Ready-to-eat poultry is classified according to age and gender.

  • Classifications vary from species to species:

    • Chickens classified as:

      • Broilers

      • Fryers, etc.

    • Turkeys as:

      • Toms

      • Hens

Composition of poultry

Composition of Poultry

  • The composition of poultry (muscle tissue, connective tissue, etc.) is similar to meat.


  • Turkeys and chickens have both white and dark meat.

Purchasing poultry

Purchasing Poultry

  • In 1968, the Wholesome Poultry Products Act made inspection of poultry shipped across state lines mandatory.

Purchasing poultry1

Purchasing Poultry

  • The grading of poultry is voluntary and is paid for by the producer.

  • Three grades are used: A, B, and C.

  • The USDA grade shield is used only when the poultry has been USDA graded.

  • The criteria used in grading are:

    • Conformation

    • Fleshing Amount and distribution of fat

    • Freedom from blemishes

Purchasing poultry2

Types and Styles of Poultry

“Type” refers to whether it is:







“Style” describes the degree to which it has been cleaned or processed:




Eviscerate:To remove the entrails from the body cavity.

Convenience categories

Purchasing Poultry

Purchasing poultry3

Purchasing Poultry

Processed Poultry

  • Processed chicken and turkey are commonly used in:

    • Canned or dried soups

    • Frozen dinners

    • Pot pies

    • Sausages

    • Hot dogs

    • Burgers

    • Bologna

Purchasing poultry4

Purchasing Poultry

How Much to Buy

  • Ready-to-cook poultry contains a good deal of inedible bone and unwanted fat

  • A good rule of thumb for most poultry is to buy 1⁄2 pound or slightly more per serving.

  • One of the most economical ways to buy poultry is in its ready-to-cook whole state.

Preparation of poultry

Preparation of Poultry

Preparation Safety Tips

  • As a prelude to preparation, all ready-to-cook poultry should be washed inside and out and then patted dry with paper towels.

Preparation of poultry1

Preparation of Poultry

Thawing Frozen Poultry

  • The refrigerator is the best place to thaw frozen birds, and its use requires planning ahead.

Preparation of poultry2

Preparation of Poultry

Changes During Preparation

  • Properly prepared poultry is tender and juicy, but overcooking causes the flesh to become dry, tough, and stringy.

Preparation of poultry3

Determining Doneness

Poultry should always be heated until well done

Doneness may be determined by internal temperature, color changes, and/or touch and time/weight tables.

Poultry is sufficiently cooked when the internal temperature reaches 180° to 185°F (82° to 85°C).

A thermometer placed in the center of any stuffing must reach a minimum temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Preparation of Poultry

Preparation of poultry4


Preparation of Poultry

Color Change

  • Oven-roasted chicken or turkey will reach a golden brown color.

  • The juices coming out of the bird should run clear.


  • When pressed firmly with one or two fingers, the well-done bird’s flesh will feel firm.

    • White meat may be firmer than dark.

  • Wiggle the drumstick

Preparation of poultry5

Dry-Heat Preparation










Preparation of Poultry

Preparation of poultry6

Moist-Heat Preparation


Also called fricasseeing




The microwave manufacturers’ instructions should be followed for preparing poultry.

Preparation of Poultry

Storage of poultry

Storage of Poultry

  • Precautions should be taken in the handling of poultry, because of the possibility of it being contaminated with bacteria.

Storage of poultry1

Storage of Poultry


  • Fresh, ready-to-cook poultry can be kept safely in the refrigerator at 40°F (4°C) or below for up to three days.

  • It is best kept in the bottom portion of the refrigerator to prevent its drippings from contaminating other foods.

Storage of poultry2


Frozen whole poultry can be stored from six to twelve months at 0°F (18°C).

Breaded or fried poultry should never be thawed and refrozen.


Defrosting is recommended in the refrigerator.

Once defrosted, poultry or any other meat should not be refrozen unless it has been cooked.

Storage of Poultry

Classification of fish and shellfish



Finfish:Fish that have fins and internal skeletons.


Shellfish, which includes the invertebrate crustaceansand mollusks.

Crustacean:An invertebrate animal with a segmented body covered by an exoskeleton consisting of a hard upper shell and a soft under shell.

Mollusk:An invertebrate animal with a soft unsegmented body usually enclosed in a shell.

Classification of Fish and Shellfish

Classification of fish and shellfish1

Salt or Fresh Water

Saltwater fish often have a more distinct flavor than freshwater fish.

Some saltwater fish:

Halibut, cod, and flounder

Some freshwater varieties:

Catfish, perch, and pike

Lean or Fat

Fish are not very fatty compared to most other meats.

Classification of Fish and Shellfish

Composition of fish

Composition of Fish

Structure of Finfish

  • Collagen

    • Fish are only 3 percent collagen.

  • Amino Acid Content

    • There is less of a certain amino acid (hydroxyproline).

  • Muscle Structure

    • The muscles of fish are shorter (less than an inch in length).

      • This contributes to the characteristic flaking of prepared fish.

Purchasing fish and shellfish

Purchasing Fish and Shellfish

  • Retailers providing consumers with nutrition information must abide by the nutrition labeling values provided by the FDA for fish and shellfish.

  • Fish processors may submit to inspection and grading on a voluntary basis.

    • The National Marine Fisheries Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for fish inspections.

Purchasing fish and shellfish1

Purchasing Fish and Shellfish

  • Fish can be purchased fresh or frozen as whole, drawn, dressed, steaks, fillets, and sticks.

Purchasing fish and shellfish2

Purchasing Fish and Shellfish

Signs of Decay in Fresh Finfish

  • Changes that occur in a fish after death are that:

    • The eyes flatten and become concave.

    • The pupil turns gray or creamy brown.

    • The cornea becomes opaque and discolored.

    • The bright red gills turn a paler brown.

    • Gaping is a sign of aging, or may be a result of rough handling.

Purchasing fish and shellfish3

Purchasing Fish and Shellfish

How Much Fish to Buy

  • Per Person:

    • 1⁄3 pound of steaks, fillets, or sticks

    • 1⁄2 pound for dressed

    • 3⁄4 pound for whole or drawn fish

  • .

Preparation of fish and shellfish

Dry-Heat Preparation





Deep-Fat Fried

Moist-Heat Preparation




Clambakes are underground steamings.


Raw Fish

Sashimi (raw fish)

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Preparation of Fish and Shellfish

Storage of fish and shellfish

Fresh fish are best consumed within a day or two of purchase.

Fish should be stored in the coldest portion of the refrigerator.

It should also be tightly wrapped to prevent odors from coming in contact with other foods.

Fresh Shellfish

Fresh shellfish should be eaten the day they are bought.

Crabs, usually sold precooked, should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator and used within a day or two.

Storage of Fish and Shellfish

Storage of fish and shellfish1

Storage of Fish and Shellfish


  • Freezing greatly extends the keeping time of fish that, depending on the type, can be stored in the freezer up to nine months.


  • Fish is best thawed by transferring it from the freezer to the refrigerator one day before preparation.

  • Canned and Cured

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