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Reading Meat Labels

Meat labels give you a variety of information. The label states the type of meat (beef, pork, veal or lamb), the wholesale cut (loin, rib, shoulder, leg, etc.) and the retail cut (steak, chops, roast, etc.). The label also states the sell by date, the weight of the meat, cost per pound and total price. The wholesale cut is an indication of tenderness; for example, a loin or rib chop will be more tender than a shoulder or leg chop. Tenderness helps determine an appropriate cooking method. Tender cuts are best cooked with dry-heat methods (grilling, broiling, roasting, pan-frying, pan-broiling and stir-frying). Less-tender cuts are better cooked by moist-heat methods (braising or cooking in liquid).