Saturday, December 13, 2014

How to Choose Meat

Ox-Beef, when it is young, will have a fine open grain, and a good red color; the fat should be white, for when it is of a deep yellow color, the meat is seldom very good.  The grain of cow-beef is closer, the fat whiter, and the lean scarcely so red that it is hard and skinny, and the lean of a deep red, you may be sure that it is of an inferior kind; and when the meat is old, you may know it by a line of horny texture running through the meat of the ribs.

Mutton must be chosen by the firmness and fineness of the grain, its good color, and firm white fat.  It is not considered prime until the sheep is about five years old.

Lamb will not keep long after it is killed.  It can be discovered by the neck end in the fore-quarter if it has been killed too long, the veins in the neck being bluish when the meat is fresh, but green when it is stale.  In the hind quarter, the same discovery may be made by examining the kidney and the knuckle, for the former has a slight smell, and the knuckle is not firm, when the meat has been killed too long.

Pork should have a thin rind; and when it is fresh, the meat is smooth and cool; but, when it looks flabby, and is clammy to the tough, it is not good; and pork, above all meat, is disagreeable when it is stale.  If you perceive many enlarged glands, or, as they are usually termed, kernels, in the fat of the pork, you may conclude that the pork cannot be wholesome.

Veal is generally preferred of a delicate whiteness, but it is more juicy and well-flavored when of a deeper color.  Butchers bleed calves profusely in order to produce this white meat; but this practice must certainly deprive the meat of some of its nourishment and flavor.  When you choose veal, endeavor to look at the loin, which affords the best means of judging of the veal generally, for if the kidney, which may be found on the underside of one end of the loin, be deeply enveloped in white and firm-looking fat, the meat will certainly be good; and the same appearance will enable you to judge if it has been recently killed.  The kidney is the part of which changes the first; and then the suet around it becomes soft, and the meat flabby and spotted.

Bacon, like pork, should have a thin rind; the fat should be firm, and inclined to a reddish color; and the lean should firmly adhere to the bone, and have no yellow streaks in it.  When you are purchasing a ham, and have a knife stuck into it to the bone, which, if the ham be well cured, may be drawn out again without having any of the meat adhering to it and without your perceiving any disagreeable smell.  A short ham is reckoned the best.