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Guide to Meat

Thickness & Serving Sizes

Guide to Meat: Storing Your Lobel's of New York Selections at Home

The way you care for meat at home is as important as the way Lobel's of New York takes care of it before you buy it. It is important to know how to keep meat fresh in your refrigerator and how to store it in the freezer.

Storing Fresh Meat
Storing Leftovers
Home Freezing
Storage Time for Freezing
Labeling Packages
Transporting Frozen Meat
Defrosting Meat
Defrosting Meat in the Microwave

Storing Fresh Meat

Your order from Lobel's of New York is vacuum-sealed in air-tight, Cryovac packages so that it can be transported safely. Kept in this package, the meat will stay fresh in your refrigerator for at least one week.

Refrigerate meat you buy from a butcher shop in a loose wrapping, preferably the original butcher shop wrapping. Simply loosen the ends so that the meat can "breathe." Don't use plastic bags or plastic wrap to repackage meat you plan to store in the refrigerator: This decreases the partial surface drying that increases the meat's keeping quality.

Storing Leftovers

Leftover meat and gravy should not be refrigerated for more than two days. Cooked meat retains its quality best when left in large pieces, even if bones have been removed. Small sections will dry up more quickly.

Freezing and Defrosting: Home Freezing

Cut fresh meat into the individual pieces you plan to cook. Wrap the meat in moisture- and vapor-proof plastic, making certain each piece is wrapped tightly to seal out air and seal in moisture. Proper wrapping for the freezer is important in order to avoid freezer burn. Freezer burn results when air penetrates the package and moisture is drawn from the surface of the meat.

Don't use the ice-cube compartment of your refrigerator as a freezer. The temperature required to make ice cubes is 32 degrees F, while the temperature of your freezer should not be above 0 degrees F.

Storage Time for Freezing

The temperature in your freezer should be 0 degrees F or below. Beef will be safe in this temperature range for six months. Lamb and veal should be used within three to six months. Pork should be used within two to three months.

Labeling Packages for Freezer

Write the date on every package of meat you freeze. For convenience, include the cut of meat and its weight on the label.

Caution: Never, ever refreeze meat that has been even slightly thawed.

Transporting Frozen Meat

Wrap packaged, frozen meat in layers of newspaper and then place in a cooler. The meat should remain stiffly frozen for four to six hours. By insulating the meat with newspaper, you can safely transport it to your vacation house.

Defrosting Meat

All meat must be at room temperature before cooking. A freezer full of meat can make you feel secure about planning a dinner, but you must remember to "order" from your freezer, as if buying fresh meat from a butcher.

Defrosting time depends on the size of the cut of meat.

Defrosting Times
Small Chops Place on the lower rack of the refrigerator on the morning of the dinner. About four hours before cooking time, put the chops on the kitchen counter to finish thawing and reach room temperature.
Large Steaks A big steak, such as a two-inch porterhouse, should be placed on the lowest rack of the refrigerator at dinnertime the night before. If the steak is still frozen in the morning, take it out of the refrigerator around noon and put it on the kitchen counter to finish thawing.
Roasts Allow a large roast to "rest" in your refrigerator for a couple of days. Then bring it to room temperature early on the morning of the day you will be roasting.

Defrosting Meat in the Microwave

Lobel's of New York does not recommend defrosting meat in the microwave oven. The microwave usually defrosts unevenly, cooking the meat on the outside while it is still thawing inside. If you absolutely must use the microwave, defrost the meat only 75 percent, so that it is still partially frozen. Then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let the meat finish thawing and reach room temperature on the counter. Do not use the microwave to defrost small pieces of meat, as they will dry out.