Pairing the right cut with the right dish
One of the first things that a budding cook or chef needs to know is that certain cuts of meat are best used for certain dishes. When cooking bulalo, for example, you want that part that has the marrow or the shank. Otherwise, the taste, feel and look will be different.
There are different factors to consider such as the tenderness of the meat, the marbling, fat and muscle content, and also the bone. All of these affect the taste and look of your favorite dish.
Let us now go through some of your favorite dishes and the cut of meat that we can ask us butchers to prepare for you.
If you’re looking at very meaty beef dishes like pochero, caldereta and mechado, then it’s best to use the most basic beef cubes that do not have any bone in them and have a little bit of fat. For roast beef that you want to be really tender, then consider striploin. Fillet mignon requires an even more tender meat cut like tenderloin. For mechado and morcon, then eye round is ideal because this cut of meat works best with slow moist-heat methods of cooking.
Thinking of pork dishes like pork steak, adobo and menudo? Then get the meat from the shoulder, which is very meaty and flavorful. Porkloin, on the other hand, can be used for the all-time favorite porkchop. Sinigang dishes work best with the ribs, while the belly part is perfect for grilling country style ribs and liempo.
The choices are plentiful and any butcher worth his knife must be able to help you choose and prepare just the right kind of meat that you’ll need for your home or even your food business.
Again, let’s have a review of common pork and beef cuts for your cooking needs.
For pork, there’s the belly (liempo), which is the most flavorful of the major parts due to the layers of fat in between muscles; shoulder or kasim, which has a lot of flavor and tenderness; pork loin, which is best for broiling, frying and roasting; pork leg or pata for stews and stock and then the ham or pigue, which has a lot of meat with very little fat, perfect for holiday ham and barbecue.
As for beef, there’s the brisket (punta y pecho) that is usually used for corned beef and for barbecues; tenderloin or solomillo that is the most tender beef cut; sirloin or tapadera that goes well with dishes requiring pan frying or grilling; flank steak or camto that is a very flavorful cut; short ribs (tadyang) for stews, barbecues and grilled dishes.; chuck rib or kadera for stews and braises; shank or bulalo for soups; and then the round or pienacorta that is a great lean meat choice for beef dishes that require some braising.
All butchers will tell you that the perfect cut of meat does not come from just any source, it comes from hogs, cattle and chicken that are raised and slaughtered according to the highest standards of quality.