I keep doing conversions to keep up.
Pork belly where I am (Oregon) is easier to find fur to Asian grocery stores.
A pound is $6 american
Which converts to £4.69 for 0.453 KG
We get it to cook crispy when I make Korean BBQ at home.
I love rib eye, but it’s expensive. Lately we have been getting one of those wonky cuts, tri tip, I cut it like steak and is really marbled and a good price.
Question British peeps, do they use meat tape in your neck of the woods? I really don’t like it as it gums up my meat grinder when I make hamburger.
Funny, over here we tend to buy our meat in little 200 g to 300 g portions, sliced into strips about a millimetre thick, all packaged in polystyrene and plastic. My wife gets annoyed if I buy 1 kg portions of any kind of meat, because most of it gets binned, or frozen and forgotten until it gets binned.
I can’t remember the last time we actually bought a steak outside of a restaurant, let alone any specific cuts.
I mean price per kilogram, as in you pay 1/5 of that price for 200g or whatever - but with British supermarkets slashing portion sizes instead of putting their prices up, it’s the only true way to compare the value of what you’re buying.
I have to admit, I only buy steaks rarely too - once or twice a year - I’m just not that into them! (Cue horrified gasps of shock) Give me a good chilli or spag bol any day for my beefy intake, I must make 20 of each in a year! Or a steak and ale pie… or a black bean stirfry… or sukiyaki… or a good stew with dumplings!! Right, where’s my suet, stew is on the menu tonight!
I don’t know what that is, but it sounds like reformed meat designed to feed into a grinder in a long, well tape?
Sorry, could you expand on this, or post an image?
I looked It up i guess a better term is “meat glue” Sadly this is pretty standard in a American grocery store.
Powers that be basically bond smaller chunks of meat together to them slice up as bigger steaks. The “glue” becomes a line of gristle. I think it varies state to state whether they have to mark it on the packaging that it contains it.
(Article might not be 100% accurate)
Ahhhhhhh, I was wondering if you were referring to Transglutaminase, but I did not want to jump to that conclusion.
I have some more thoughts and comments on this topic, but I would like to refine them when I have time.
So, I have had time to reflect on what I originally typed, and I think it is was a mess, so I re-typed it! Hopefully, this new version makes some sense and is useful. Some of the information that follows is broad generalizations as there are many layers and nuances to how the US regulates food currently and I am not speaking as an expert on Transglutaminase as I personally have only heard it exists and have never seen it in action, but have eaten a product that used it (honestly, I had to fire off about 5 emails to gather information to confirm my knowledge on the stuff).
Thanks for bringing up the subject @superjaz! This has been fun to lightly research and I hope this information proves useful. If you see a cut of meat in the grocery store that you think TGM has been used on, do you mind snapping a photo and posting it here? I would like to see an example “out in the wild”.
I also want to emphasize that this is just ramblings and not me trying to persuade anyone or deny anything. Also, sometimes when people see a wall of text, they think it is an attack on the person who brought up the issue, but it is not. Far from it! Also, if I messed something up, please call me out on it… I hate having incorrect facts!
Actually… I think @MinuteWalt might find this interesting!!! I will ping him!
So hear it goes…
I am surprised to hear in your part of the country this is a common practice in grocery stores. Around here (the Midwest) it is rather unheard of (around my area at least…) as the effort and the skill to successful bind using Transglutaminase (shortening it to TGM) is something the average grocery store is not able to pull off. We do not use TGM in our shop because we have no use for it. We sell whole muscle cuts which are non-injected, and I personally think using it is deceptive when it comes to raw meat sales to the consumer. Honestly, the effort and costs involved make it work is rather pointless on a small scale.
Most commonly, in raw products, it is used to fuse the “tail” pieces of the Beef Tenderloin (the tapering bit), as that is a rather expensive cut, to make more “round” and uniform steaks. However, that is usually when you are dealing with thousands of pounds worth to make it cost effective and to boot, you cannot legally call it “Beef Tenderloin” as it contains an ingredient and would have to be labeled as “Formed Beef Tenderloin”. Usually when you see really really really cheap Beef Tenderloin (think $10 USD or lower) look to see if there is an ingredient statement on the label. You will find it on there, especially if it has a USDA or State Inspection Legend (more on that later). I asked a colleague, who used to be a Meat Department Manager for a rather large grocery chain, if he encountered it while working with the chain; he said they never did as they were rarely cutting meat there. Most items came in precut and all they did was display it in the meat counter or put the prepackaged items in the self-service display cases. More and more grocery stores are using larger packers to do the work for them to help keep their bottom line more flush. You would be surprised by how little some supermarkets actually do anymore besides just stocking shelves…
More on regulations:
If the product is to be sold in commerce, TGM is federally required to be on the ingredient label if the product is originating at a USDA or State Inspected facility and would trigger a recall of product if not listed. Grocery stores are not inspected by FSIS and fall under Public Health, which sadly is woefully underfunded and not well versed in USDA regulation as they use the FDA Food Code for guidance, which is a different beast entirely (Also, it depends on which version of the Food Code they use this can vary by State and in some States, vary by county ). However, since it is considered an ingredient (even by the manufacturer of the TGM) by golly it really should be listed on the label in an ingredient statement as it is not considered a processing aid by either the makers of TGM or FSIS. If you are going to a grocer and if they are using TGM, they should tell you if they are by putting in on the package label of the product. If there is not an ingredient statement on the product label and you know for a fact TGM is being used, I would avoid going there if possible.
More commonly I have seen TGM used in food service. I have actually been to a Michelin restaurant which used it to make more uniform portions so every person’s serving looked identical. If used properly, you should not see a “gristle line” and really it should not be noticeable. The way I know it was used was the direction of the muscle grain in the cooked product. Sometimes it is hard to see on a cooked steak, but much easier on a raw cut. Also, I have seen it used to make interesting “shaped” steaks in photos online. Restaurants focusing on molecular gastronomy is where you will see it used frequently. A big draw is when you are trying to preserve texture and have binding, where when you extract protein (different conversation) it can lead to a firmer, chewier texture. To research this post I found you can actually buy small packs of TGM from Amazon to make your own funky shaped steaks…
Again, if a restaurant is using TGM, they fall under Public Health as well; but, if you ask if they use TGM, they should tell you in an effort to be transparent. Again, the average steak place is probably not going to mess with TGM unless they are trying to achieve something “special”… Think a cut of meat that fuses a beef tenderloin, surrounded by a pork chop, surrounded by a chicken breast… Again, that would be way more work than what it would be worth, but some people get really hot and bothered by stuff like that.
I could go on… But I think that is enough… I am not saying it is not out there, I am just saying if places are using it they need to be honest about it. And if they are not labeling it, they should. I hope this proves interesting to someone…
TGM exists, I personally think it is dumb and a waste of time and money…
I did find this interesting!
I’d have to agree.