We all know our drill when it comes to buying halal meat, between biryani and baked chicken- we love our halal meat alhamdulillah. We all have our go to meats- ground beef for quick recipes, chicken breasts when I need somethings easy and nutritious and marinated chicken or mutton in spicy yogurt when there is a crowd to please.
The key to get good quality halal meat is to know more about what you’re buying. Below are 5 tips that you can learn to get better quality halal meat-
Know what you’re buying-
The best way to ensure that you’re buying good quality meat is to buy it from a local muslim butcher who sells meet from ethically raised animals. You want to find someone who owns a local farm and does the butchering himself. The next best thing would be finding someone who sells local meat and supervise the butchering himself. If neither one is available to you, find a halal meat store that offers local halal meat. Get to know the owner and ask him if the animals are humanely raised, what they are fed and if antibiotics are to used etc.
Check out if they have a website and read reviews about the meat store you plan on frequenting.
Be butcher friendly-
Get to know your butcher better. Instead of placing your regular order and waiting in the line to pay, get to know the person who’s taking care of your meat better. This active act of kindness will earn you a reward from Allah(swt). And, the bonus is that your butcher can help you choose the freshest meat and the best cut for your curries and kebabs.
Meet your meat-
Fresh meat should have a uniform, rich, vibrant color. Dull color is a sign of poor handling and it’s a sign of meat that’s not fresh and likely past its prime. The cuts of meat should be smooth without any uneven edges. The meat should not give off any unpleasant smell. Always ask the butcher how fresh the meat is,or how old it is. Butchers rotate meat and place the oldest meat at the front of the shelf. Ask them to get the meat that’s in the back of display. If you’re at a grocery store that offers halal meat, reach in the back to the bottom of the stack to find the most recent pack dates for better quality meats.
Being flexible when it comes to cuts of meat is the best way to save on meat, especially when you order them in bulk or get the same cut of meat frequently. Don’t feel obligated to always buy the meat your recipe calls for. Enlist the help of your butcher for for a budget friendly cut.
Go the extra mile-
Be willing to go the extra mile for quality halal meat. We used to drive 4 hours each way to get our meat from a butcher who offered great quality meat. We would order a portion of a cow and bought a freezer just to store this meat that we ate for months. The drive was shorter (2 hours) for chicken and duck but it was worth it. The trick is to find out how much meat your family consumes regularly so you can plan accordingly, reducing the need to make fewer trips to these faraway butchers.
Don’t buy meat from a store just because everybody else is buying from them. Be patient and keep searching for better quality meats.
Steer clear from stores that look dirty and where your kids refuse to step in it because it stinks.
Don’t be shy to ask your butcher to cut a whole piece of meat into your choice of cuts. This service is usually free and you can get your preferred cut of beef or chicken at no extra cost to you.
Chicken thighs are much more flavorful than chicken breasts.
A little fat in the meat aka marbling makes juicier burgers, koftes and meatballs.
Save soup bones, unwanted cuts or scraps of meat in a container in the freezer. Once it’s full, it’s time to make a batch of great chicken stock.
Crock pot makes an easy “roasted” chicken which allowed me write this post today :). Crock pots are also great for making bone in meat stews that can cook overnight so you can wake up to a nice smelling house with your lunch/dinner all ready for you.
Paying more for better quality meat is worth every penny. It’s like an investment that you’re making for your family and for yourself.
Consider consuming less great quality meat than consuming more inferior quality meat.
I prefer meat that are local than buying beef from Japan and lamb from Australia etc.
Stock up on meat when they are on sale. Cook them right away or freeze them right away, but don’t leave them in your fridge past the best by date.
Do you have any tips to share for buying great quality halal meat?