Paying more for meat? Pose these questions first.
How was the animal raised and fed?
Depending on your preference, grass-fed beef sports leaner meat, while grain-fed beef offers more marbling. Generally, grass-fed cattle move about to eat, while the latter chow down in a feedlot and do not move much. Ask how the animal was treated. A stress-free animal also tends to provide better-quality meat.
Who raised the animal?
Where the animal originates also plays a part in the resulting quality. Angus cattle and Kurobuta pork, for instance, have to meet certain guidelines to obtain their stamp of quality.
How old is the animal?
The age of the animal will affect its taste. A younger animal usually displays lighter-coloured meat, says Dallas Pitches from The Butcher. For lamb, younger meat is essential, or the taste gets too strong once it’s older. Beef, on the other hand, develops its flavour (with marbling) only in a mature cow. Aged beef is also much better, as time is needed for the meat’s natural enzymes to break down the muscle walls for increased tenderness and flavour.
What goes into your sausages?
Who can resist the good ol’ sausage on a barbecue? But be warned that regular sausages often display a very low percentage of actual meat, and are high in fat and preservatives. Go for gourmet sausages made with fresh meat and natural casings, with no preservatives. Expect to pay more, says Pitches. A kilogram of sausages from his shop goes for $28.