Selecting the Best Meat
Prime Meat—The best choice for every recipeThe quality of meat is the same in every section of the animal's carcass. A prime steer yields all prime cuts. The same is true for the choice and select grades.
Prime quality beef has better flavor and texture — this includes the less expensive cuts chosen for pot roasts, stews and casseroles. Even in variety cuts such as oxtails, sweetbreads and calves' brains, the quality of the meat affects the taste of the final dish.
Dry Aging—The key to perfect flavor and tenderness
Lobel´s of New York dry ages all of its fresh USDA Prime meat to perfection by holding it in coolers at a temperature of 34-38 degrees F. We age beef for four to six weeks. Veal and lamb are young, delicate and tender, and are hung in our coolers for no more than a week.
Aging produces beef that is naturally tender and flavorful. Nothing the cook does to add flavor in the kitchen is a substitute for starting with properly aged meat.
There are two types of aging: Dry aging and wet aging.
Dry aging is the choice of the discriminating chef.
The wet aging process involves sealing meat in airtight
Cryovac bags. Wet aging does less to enhance flavor
and tenderness than dry aging.
Dry-aged meat is increasingly difficult to find because the process is expensive and time-intensive. During dry aging, the meat´s natural enzymes act as a tenderizer, breaking down the connective tissue that holds the muscles. At the same time, the evaporation of moisture improves texture. Dry aging continues until a thin coating develops on the meat surface. The coating seals in flavor and juices during aging, and is then trimmed off. Loss of weight results from the evaporation of moisture and from trimming, and both of these processes add to the cost of dry aging meat.
Color and Texture
MarblingMarbling is the network of fat that runs through a cut of meat. Some people refer to marbling as "graining." The best marbling is distributed through the meat with the fineness of a cobweb. The marble acts as a lubricant, dissolving into the meat as it is cooked. The silky, tiny threads in the best Prime meat dissolve evenly and produce juicy, tender results.
Meat to Avoid
Lobel's recommends that you avoid buying meat with any of these characteristics: