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Meat, Fish and Poultry. Notes to complete the study sheet. Meat is cooked for four basic reasons:. To make it safe to eat Easier to chew Easier to digest More favorable.

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meat fish and poultry

Meat, Fish and Poultry

Notes to complete the study sheet

meat is cooked for four basic reasons
Meat is cooked for four basic reasons:
  • To make it safe to eat
  • Easier to chew
  • Easier to digest
  • More favorable

Cooking promotes some flavor changes. Storing and reheating noticeably changes the flavor of meat, as does prolonged refrigeration. Cooking also changes the texture, which is defined as the touch of the meat, and the ease or difficulty with which the physical structure is broken down by knife or tooth into manageable pieces. We like meat to be tender and juicy and not tough and dry. There are ways to treat meat before and during cooking to maximize the desired qualities.


Marbling is the small amounts of fat throughout the lean meat that provides tenderness, flavor and moistness.


Meat is sometimes graded by the Department of Agriculture as to its quality. If it has been graded, look at the shield shaped stamp on meat to know its quality.

beef veal and lamb are graded as follows
Beef, veal and lamb are graded as follows:
  • PRIME – the top grade because it contains the most marbling (mostly sold in restaurants)
  • CHOICE – high quality, high marbling, but not as much as prime
  • SELECT – has less flavor and more connective tissue than choice/prime. It is less expensive and nutritious. It has less marbling.

Meat can be identified by the shape of the bones. The bones are the clue as to which part of the animal the meat comes from, how tender it is, and how it should be cooked. Tender cuts can be cooked with dry heat. Less tender cuts must be cooked with moist heat. Since meat is generally the most expensive item in a food budget, it is important to identify meat cuts to get the best value for your money.


The more movement a muscle gets, the more it is developed and the less tender it is. Because the muscle along the backbone gets very little movement, meat from that area is more tender than meat from other parts.


The label shows:

  • The standard name of the cut
  • b. Net weight (how much it weighs)
  • c. Price per pound
  • d. Total price to be paid
types of meat meat products vary depending on the kind of animal and how it is handled
TYPES OF MEATMeat products vary depending on the kind of animal and how it is handled.
  • BEEF – cattle of 1 year of age with bright, deep-red color and creamy white fat.
  • VEAL – immature cattle, not as tender as beef because there is very little fat.
Lamb – young sheep under 1 year of age
  • Mutton – older shee over 1 year of age. It is less tender with stronger flavor than lamb.
  • Pork – young animal, tender meat, grayish pink or darker color, and firm with small amount of marbling.
Variety Meats – organ meats including:
    • Liver
    • Kidney
    • Heart
    • Tongue
    • Tripe (stomach)
    • Brains
    • Sweetbreads (thymus gland)
Processed Meats – more handling than merely cutting. Some are ground and seasoned (sausage), some are cured or treated with salt, nitrates and sugar and some are smoked to help preservation and add flavor.
  • Cured Meats – corned beef, chipped beef, ham, bacon, lunch meat.
  • Meat is best preserved by refrigeration, freezing, canning, drying (jerky), and curing with salt and other agents.
  • All fresh meats need to be in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
  • Don’t defrost meat at room temperature – the surface will start to spoil before the rest of the meat has thawed. Thaw in refrigerator, in the microwave or under (or in) cold water.
signs of spoilage
  • Uncooked meat will change to a dull, grayish brown
  • Usually an off odor
  • If an unopened package, it will feel slippery when opened
cooking methods


a. Heat

b. Temperature

c. Moisture

d. Type or cut of meat

classifications for methods of cooking meats
Classifications for methods of cooking meats:
  • Dry Heat – roasting, broiling, deep-fat, stir frying
  • Moist Heat – braising, simmering or stewing, steaming, pressure cooking
Pork should always be cooked to well-done to prevent trichinosis, an illness caused by a tiny worm/parasite which is sometimes found in pork.
Tender cuts can be cooked in dry heat. Examples this type of cut are: rib, loin, sirloin
  • Less tender cuts can be tenderized by cooking in liquid or braising at lower temperatures slowly over long periods of time.
  • Like beef, poultry is inspected for wholesomeness and graded for quality. The inspection mark and grade shield should be on the package.
  • The two types of grades in poultry:
    • Grade A – fully fleshed, attractive and meaty
    • Grade B – less attractive, not as meaty, not often found in a grocery store
The parts with the most meat are generally the most expensive. The breast has more meat than the back. Breast of chicken is light meat, tender, and mild in flavor. The rest of the chicken is dark meat, a little stronger in flavor, with a firmer texture and contains more fat.
Chicken skin is indigestible and high in fat. Remove skin to reduce fat content.
  • Whole chickens are less expensive to buy, but must be cut up by the consumer.

Knowing the marks of quality, identification of bone shapes, understanding the meat labels, forms/types of meat and poultry, and ways to cook/tenderize meat helps the consumer to be more satisfied with what to buy in terms of cost and quality.


Wholesale Cuts

Retail Cuts

Method of Cooking

1. Chuck of Shoulder

Stew meat, blade roast

arm pot roast

Moist Heat

2. Rib

Rib roast, rib steak, Rib eye roast of steak

Dry Heat

3. Short Loin

T-bone, porterhouse, tenderloin steak

Dry Heat

4. Sirloin

Pin bone sirloin steak, flat bone sirloin steak

Dry Heat

5. Rump

Rump Roast

Moist Heat

6. Round

Round Steak, top round steak, eye of round

Moist Heat

7. Foreshank

Shank cross cuts, stew meat

Moist Heat

8. Brisket

Corned brisket, brisket

Moist Heat

9. Short Plate

Short ribs, stew meat, ground beef

Moist Heat

10. Flank

Ground beef, flank steak

Moist Heat