How To Select Quality Meat For Barbecuing?

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Summer is hitting at the door. No other season is appropriate, just like summer, for barbecuing, especially for the outdoor BBQ part. As summer is a great time for arranging a BBQ party and choosing the best quality meat can turn your outdoor BBQ party purely perfect.

But sometimes, it becomes a bit tough to buy high-quality meat as most people do not know how to select quality meat for barbecuing.

So, in this post, I will break down the secrets of buying better quality meat for barbecuing, share some exclusive tips, and discuss exactly what essential factors you should concentrate on choosing quality meat. 

8 Exclusive Tips For Selecting Quality Meat For Barbecuing

When it comes to barbecuing, it is important to select the best quality meat. Otherwise, you cannot enjoy the authentic taste and actual juiciness of the meat. 

Buying high-quality meat for barbecuing is not as simple. Some major factors can influence the texture of the prepared food. 

So, you need to keep your eyes on the following criteria:

Tip – 1: Check the Color: The visual inspection for choosing the quality meat starts with its color. However, the appropriate color depends on the meat type. 

If you buy red meat, then obviously it should be dark. Besides, it may vary between brown and red.

If it is brown, that indicates the meat has been exposed to oxygen. No need to worry about it! The meat is still safe to eat. 

Mostly, beef meat appears bright cherry color. If the beef meat is packed in a sealed bag, then the color of the meat will appear a darker purplish red. Once it has been exposed to air, then it will be a bright red color.

Tip – 2: Observe the Smell: Color is not always the best effective indicator to determine the freshness of the meat. Another critical factor is the smell of meat. Not all the meat-eaters like the smell of raw meat. But it is another quality indicating factor. 

The smell will vary for different types of meat such as chicken, beef, lamb, etc. But you should strictly avoid it if you get any rancid or strange smell from the meat.

So, the smell is a smart way to check whether the raw meat is still fresh or not. In case the meat gives any pungent smell, then skip it!

Tip – 3: Go for the Clean Cuts: Clean cuts are another essential factor in determining the quality of meat. One can quickly determine the quality of the meat by observing its cuts. 

You should go for the uniformly sized smooth cuts of meat. Remember, you never buy the jagged-edged meat.

If you buy the meat from the poultry directly, you should keep in mind that the lower grade poultry is not always finely butchered. 

They do not take proper care when removing the bones. If you do not like small bones in your meat, then go for the higher grade cuts.

Tip – 4: Look at the Meat surface: The meat surface is another important factor to consider. If you observe the red meat closely, you will notice the meat fibers. The meat fiber will help you to check whether the meat is tender or tough. 

Tough meat with visible muscle fibers and coarse meat grains gives a lot of flavors. You can select these meat cuts for slow cooking. 

But while buying beef, you can observe the lack of these coarse meat grains. It indicates the beef meat will become tender while cooking.

Tip – 5: Consider the Meat fat: If you want to have juicier and tender meat, then you should consider the meat with fat distributed all over the muscle. This white fat is known as marbling. As much as the marbling is finer, the meat will become tastier.

For example, wagyu beef is well-known for its marbling, tenderness, and flavor. That’s why it comes with an expensive price range.

Tip – 6: Look at the Meat Texture: Generally, the beef meats are sturdy and dry. Besides, the meat fibers are uniformed and tightly packed. Due to low quality and poor handling, the meat will fall apart. 

Most of the poultry meats are dry and tough. If you find it sticky, then you should not buy the meat. This rule is applicable for all types of meats such as chicken, beef, or lamb. 

Tip – 7: Check all the Dates (Sell & Expiry): Checking the sell and expiry dates is also an important fact. If you do not plan to cook the meat immediately, it will be wise to buy the meat with the latest date. So, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of days without having any risks. 

Tip – 8: Packaging and Storing Method: Improper packaging and storing can affect the quality of the meat. Proper temperature control is an essential factor in ensuring the quality of the meat to keep it fresh. 

Improper packaging can damage the meat quality and make it contaminated by external elements. So, check it in detail before buying.

All these tips will help you to select superior quality meat for your next BBQ party!

Also Read: 15 Best Meat To Smoke For Beginners – Get Your Smoke On

How To Select Quality Raw Chicken For Barbecuing 

According to experts, it is highly recommended to use skin-on and bone-in raw chicken pieces. Most cooking experts suggest using thighs for barbecuing because thigh pieces are the juiciest and moistest among the other chicken parts. 

But you can also use the breasts, wings, and legs pieces when the skins and bones are attached or intact. These pieces also protect the meat from overcooking and deliver a flavorful texture.  

Also Read: Best Place To Buy Chicken Wings – 5 Places You Can Go For

How To Select Quality Ribs For Smoking And Grilling

There are three types of beef ribs, so you can select according to your recipe and preference.

Short Ribs

The location of the short ribs on the animal’s body makes it tough if you can not cook it properly. The fibery muscles and connective tissues of the ribs make it tough. The short ribs are perfect for slow-braising. 

If you cook it over low heat after a few hours, the short ribs will become soft and tender from chewing. Slow cooking and non sweet barbecue sauce will make the short ribs tastier.

Dino’s Ribs

Dino’s ribs are the perfect choice for big-time barbecuing. It is also known as barbecue ribs. You do not need to give too much time and effort to cook it. You can add some smoky barbecue sauce and coffee rub to enhance the taste of your barbecue.

Also Read: How To Keep Meat Warm After Smoking For Hours Without Dying Out

How To Choose Quality Briskets For Smoking

While you will buy quality meat for briskets, you should consider the most uniform and thickest one and quality brisket can give you amazing flavor and good bark on brisket.

  • Besides, you should know the cut that you want. 
  • Generally, beef brisket has two cuts that are separated by the fat layer. 
  • The First Cut is a flat cut, and the second one is known as the point cut. 
  • Then you should consider the right size. 
  • The rule of thumb is to buy a half-pound for each person. 
  • Besides, you should not worry too much about marbling.
Also Read: Best Electric Smoker For Brisket (Top 5 Picks)

How To Select Quality Steak For Smoking

When choosing the best quality meat for steaks, choosing a medium between the fatty and lean portions is suggested. You can go for the meat with marbling but not fully riddle with the fatty portion. 

You can select filet mignon to get the maximum tenderness. You can also buy the strip loin or ribs to get a perfect balance between flavor and tender.

Also Read: Different Things to Do With Ribeye Steak – 11 Recipes You Can Make Today

How To Choose Quality Meat For Clods

For a meat cut, clod is not the most appealing one. But when you consider beef cold, it can be a great choice for barbecuing for large edible parts. A beef shoulder clod is made from a beef chuck. 

It has extremely tender muscles. Comparatively, it is more tender than the brisket. Slow and low-temperature cooking is beneficial and effective in minimizing muscle differences. 

Also Read: Rump Roast vs Chuck Roast – Everything You Must Know

How Choose Quality Meat Beef Tri-tips

Beef tri-tips are made from the lower part of the sirloin and include only one muscle. It contains more sirloin flavor. 

As the beef tri-tip provides maximum tenderness, it has been considered the best meat choice for grilling or barbecuing. You can also buy it with a fat cover or without fat. The tri-tip weighs 2 – 3 pounds. 

Also Read: Best Wood For Smoking Tri Tip – Top 5 Picks

How To Choose Quality Meat For Burger

If you want a flavorful and juicy burger, then you should choose the meat or patty with 25 percent fat. If you want to have a leaner burger then you can go for the less fatty and leaner steak. 

But for the juicer burger, you add some beef trimmings if available. Remember, when grinding the steak cubes, you should not separate the beef cuts. 

4 Important Things To Remember While Buying Meat!

As I have already mentioned a couple of tips to keep in mind while buying the best quality meat. Now I will discuss some important factors to keep in your mind while selecting quality meat.

Read the labels carefully

People make one of the common mistakes while buying meat – most of the time, they do not check what the animal’s diet is. So, you should make a habit of always reading the labels.

Before buying the meat, you should check and read the label carefully. You can find meats from different types of sources pastured, grass-fed, organic, or antibiotic-free. 

It is better to buy grass-fed meat because grass-fed meat contains less calories, fatty fats, helps fight against cancer, and assists in replenishing electrolytes.

Check the food safety standards

It is one of the essential factors to remember while buying quality meat. When you buy the packaged meat, then you need to check whether it ensures food safety and standards or not. 

Establish a good relationship with the butcher

You should try to make a friendly relationship with your butcher. Sometimes, your butcher can help you to choose the better quality meat based on your budget and preference.

Choose the right cut

You should choose the right cut of meat. A good and clean-cut is always hassle-free to cook compared to other parts. Try not to buy the skirt and flank steaks. Because these cuts are not a perfect choice for barbecuing. 

As they have less marbling and thin layers. But if you want to buy them, then you need to marinate the meat properly and never overcook them.

You can also purchase the meat for barbecuing a few days before you make a plan to have a BBQ party. Storing the meat in the fridge properly for a few days will make it juicier and tender. 

Why Is It Important To Choose Better Quality Meat

Consuming better quality meat is highly advantageous for your body. To get premium quality meat, you should buy the meat from an authentic meat shop or a reliable butcher.

Choosing the better quality meat is very important to make the BBQ mouth-watering and also healthier. The meat quality can be affected by many reasons: the animal’s genetic propensity, the animal’s diet during production, etc. 

If you do not buy better quality meat, then it will be harmful to your health also. So, choosing the better quality meat improves the taste of your BBQ recipe and leaves a healthy touch. 

Where To Buy Best Quality Meat

For great BBQ meat, you should avoid online purchasing. But remember, it is wise not to purchase frozen or pre-packaged meat from a store. 

It would be better to buy the meat from a butcher or your nearby meat market. You can ask your questions regarding the BBQ meat to the butcher. It is better to ask about aging. 

Most of the meats come in different grades – prime, choice and select. So, if you really want to have the best quality BBQ meat, then it will be better to purchase prime grade meat. As it contains a lot of marbling and gives better results on the grill. 

But it comes with an expensive price range. You can find the prime grade only in the meat market. In case, you cannot find the prime grade, then you can go for the choice. It is the second-best option and also available in grocery stores. 

Best Meats For Smoking And Grilling On Charcoal Grill and Smoker

Charcoal grilling is a direct heat and rapid cooking process. Beef meat can be a good choice to grill on charcoal. Because the high heat and high flames of charcoal make the beef meat more tender, juicier and add a rich smoky flavor.

Some best beef cuts for charcoal grilling 

  • Burgers
  • Flank Steak
  • Flat Iron
  • Ribeye
  • Skirt Steak
  • Strip Steak
  • Top Sirloin


Hopefully, by following the tips and important notes on how to select quality meat for barbecuing, now it will not be a hard task for you to buy better quality meat, right? You can not expect to enjoy an amazingly mouth-watering BBQ without high-quality meat. So, by now you will have a comprehensive idea on choosing better quality meat and also know why it is important.  So, do not buy meat from any random store. It will be better to ask advice from your butcher.

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