How do you get the most flavor, nutrition, and value out of your meat? We posed that very question to Randy Huffman, PhD and president of the American Meat Institute Foundation. Below are his top 10 tips, which we think are downright tasty–no bones about it. –Erika Lenkert
1. Go Retro. Dust off your mom’s crock pock and learn to use it to transform economical cuts into tender treats through this moist heat cooking. The classic beef pot roast uses chuck, while modern pork carnitas use the pork butt. Both delicious dinner table staples are just a crock pot away.
2. Customize Classics. Burgers are classic, economical meals. But you can make everything old new again by mixing your ground beef with seasonings like bleu cheese, herbs, or chipotle peppers. Or try a ground lamb burger with Greek seasonings. Buying the lean formulations – like 90 percent lean – offers flavor with less fat.
3. Pass the Marinade, Please. Flavorful marinades can tenderize economical cuts like the chuck or round, and grilling reduces fat. Your marinated London Broil can feed a crowd without the price tag.
4. Rub it In. Adding a dry rub to an economical cut like the tender flat iron steak makes a delicious meal that’s packed with protein, iron, and other vitamins.
5. Dig the Deli. Popular brands of deli meats offer surprisingly good nutrition at low costs. A serving of one major brand of honey ham has 70 calories in a serving, 10 grams of protein and just 2.5 grams of fat. Add slices of ham to salads and omelets to satisfy while adding good nutrition.
6. Befriend Your Broiler. Food experts call the broiler the upside down grill. The heat comes from the top, but gravity pulls fat away offering a healthier way to cook meat indoors. And everybody owns one. It’s the perfect way for apartment dweller to cook healthy.
7. Savor Some Sausage. Add sausage to pasta or rice dishes for added flavor -- or make your own unique version of Paella. Check out the nutrition labels on today’s sausage products. They’re leaner than you think and come in a wide array of flavor profiles, from sun-dried tomato and basil to mango. And you’ll pay far less than you would for a premium cut of meat.
8. Kabob It. Cuts of meat like sirloin can be tenderized by marinating it. Threading chunks of marinated meat with vegetables on kabob sticks creates a colorful and balanced meal. Summer grilling or winter broiling will whisk fat away and offer a delicious, easy and slightly exotic entrée.
9. Dress to Impress. The most basic meals can be made more interesting with salsas and fruit-based chutneys. And these toppings add anti-oxidants without adding fat. Peach chutney adds flavor and moisture to a lean and economical pork loin chop without breaking the bank.
10. Cut Coupons. Would you throw a dollar bill in the trash? Clip – don’t toss – coupons. More branded meats in the case mean more coupons in the Sunday paper promoting them. And besides -- less money spent at the grocery checkout frees up cash for clothes and other stuff you really want to blow your extra money on.
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About the Author
Randy Huffman, PhD, is president of the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation. He is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the Foundation, including its research initiatives, industry best practices development, and educational programming.