Meet your Monterey Meat Master
Publish Date: 2012-09-20 20:21:00
When buying meat such as beef and pork, one may easily feel lost and overwhelmed because of the many different choices.
The Monterey Meat Master is your best friend when buying meat. That’s because the Meat Master is not just the person who cuts your meat, he is also a trained butcher who can actually give you advice on how to get the most out of your meat.
Ray Morales of Monterey Meatshop Farmer’s Market, Cubao, Quezon City says a good butcher should be able to help you sort through the different cuts of meat. The Monterey Meat Master is a certified butcher.
At Monterey, a butcher goes through rigorous training at the Monterey Meatshop School to earn a Meat Master’s certificate. Aside from technical expertise, the Meat Masters are also trained to provide courteous and efficient service.
The perfect meat-based dish starts with buying the perfect cut of meat. Monterey Meatshops offer a convenient place where shoppers can imagine and then decide which type of meat to serve the family. Each meatshop also has modern meat fabrication equipment and display showcase.
For adobo and pork nilaga, Morales says the best cut of meat is the kasim or pork shoulder because it has a lot of flavor and is tender. Pork loin is the most flavorful, making it best for broiling, frying or roasting. For the Filipino favorite, pork sinigang, Morales says it is good to use the belly or liempo because of the layers of fat that gives flavor. If you want a sinigang that’s less sinful, go for the rib shoulder or tadyang. For grilling, the best choice would be pork chops. For barbeque, the choice would usually be tenderloin, the chisel shaped pork portion found in the upper mid section of a pig.
Pork leg consists of the ham (also called pigue) and leg. Pigue is from the hind legs and is one of the leanest parts of a pig. They can be used for stewed native dishes and native cuisines that need curing or smoking. Leg or pata is often used for crispy pata and patatim.
For dishes like pochero, caldereta and mechado, Morales advises using the basic beef cubes that do not have any bone and have a little bit of fat. For roast beef, the choice should be striploin while fillet mignon requires an even more tender cut like tenderloin. Eye round is best for morcon as this cut works best with the slow method of cooking. The most popular beef cuts are brisket or punta y pecho (for stews); short ribs or tagiliran or tadyang (for barbeque, braising and slow cook methods); barbeque blade/shoulder blade or paypay (for pot roasts and braising); chuck ribs or kadera (for nilaga); oyster blade or kalitiran (can be used to replace ox tail in karekare); sirloin or tapadera (for grilling); tenderloin or solomillo (steaks and roasts); flank steak or camto(stir fries); shank or bulalo (soups and stews); and round or piena corta y lagra (pan frying and for ground round).
Slicing against the meat is a term commonly used by chefs and cooks. What it means is that the meat is cut across the meat’s fiber. This way, the meat becomes more tender and easy to eat.
“Lines are running from right to left down the length of the meat. If you slice the meat in the same direction as those lines, you'll have to chew through the fibers. Whereas if you cut across the lines, the knife will have already done that work,” explains Morales.
Veterinarian Maria Luisa Recinto says it is not only the cuts of meat that is important in coming up with an excellent dish. It is also important to know where your meat comes from. Good meat means good taste and good health.
“Integrators and backyard raisers have different ways of raising hogs, and the way these animals are taken care of and slaughtered ultimately affects the quality and taste of the meat. At Monterey, a top level staff of animal husbandry experts, animal nutritionists and veterinarians is on hand to make sure the hogs and cattle are raised according to the highest local and global standards,” explains Recinto. Its pork, for instance, comes from grain-fed hogs that produce healthy, lean and parasite-free meats. The beef comes from imported Australian cattle fattened with grain and protein concentrates to produce tender and wholesome steaks and other beef cuts.
“The animals are slaughtered under humane conditions according to the Animal Welfare Act. Then, the meats go through a rapid chilling process to control the growth of bacteria and preserve the meat at the peak of its freshness,” she adds.
The company recently launched the Know Your Meat Caravan, which supports the “Chilled is fresh...Chilled is safe” campaign of the National Meat Inspection Service.
The Caravan helps educate the public on how to choose meat and crushes many myths about it.
“Over time, we have come to believe ‘myths’ about meat that have been proven to be wrong and sometimes even dangerous. One of these is the common misconception that warm meat is fresh, thinking that since it has just come from the slaughter house, with its reddish color, therefore it is fresh,” said San Miguel Foods Inc.(SMFI) President Ms. Tatish Palabyab. SMFI is a subsidiary of San Miguel Pure Foods Company, Inc., the food division of San Miguel Corporation.
The truth is that the longer the meat stays at room temperature, the higher the rate of bacterial growth, which can cause illnesses such as food poisoning and diarrhea. Meat should be chilled or refrigerated after slaughtering to ensure freshness and cleanliness.
The nationwide Know Your Meat Caravan goes to different barangays to help educate mothers, fathers and basically anyone who handles food about meat buying and preparation.
“Our advocacy would like to ensure that no mother, cook or anyone is deprived of knowing how to choose and serve meat right. As today’s market leader, Monterey has a responsibility to make everyone aware of issues concerning not only on the flavor of the food they eat but also the role it plays when we speak of food safety,” said Palabyab.
The Know Your Meat Caravan will be visiting different barangays until May.
The Monterey Know Your Meat Caravan may be coming to your neighborhood this Saturday. If you want to know the schedule, go to www.facebook.com.page/KNOW-YOUR-MEAT-by-Monterey or follow @KnowYourMeat on Twitter.