Beef is available all year round.
Beef contains a unique combination of iron, zinc, omega-3, vitamin B12 and protein. Eating 3-4 serves each week helps maintain a healthy balance of these essential nutrients in your body.
How to select
- Always buy beef from a reputable source, a good supermarket, local butcher or farmers' market.
- Choose your cut of beef depending on how you want to cook it. For roasts, the best cuts include rib eye/scotch fillet, rump, sirloin, fillet/ tenderloin and topside. For slow cooking chuck, topside, shin, brisket, round, shin bone- in/ osso bucco, boneless shin/gravy beef, oxtail, and beef spare ribs are among the best options.
- The flesh should be firm and moist, rather than dry or slimy.
- Cuts should also be smooth with no ragged edges, hacked bits, or uneven sections.
- While colour can vary from cut to cut, quality beef should have a rich, vibrant, and uniform colour. Discolouration of spots can be a sign of meat that's past its prime.
- Check packages for tears, damage or broken seals. Packaging should not be frozen or show signs of ice.
Tip: Cooking steak? Choose a cut with visible marbling for a tender and juicy steak. The fat should be pure white and hard, and distributed evenly throughout the entire cut of meat.
How to store
Fresh beef should be stored in the refrigerator or frozen immediately after purchasing. Place the beef at the bottom of the fridge (the coldest part of the fridge) on a dish that is large enough to contain any drips. Make sure the beef is not touching or near cooked meats and other ready-to-eat foods or food to be eaten raw. If the meat is in a cling-filmed tray or vacuum-packed, leave it in the packaging until ready for use. Ensure that the fridge maintains a temperature below 4 degrees Celsius. Beef will keep for about 3-5 days in the fridge.
Quickly freezing beef reduces the chance of damage to the texture or succulence of the meat. For ease of use, freeze cuts tightly wrapped in individual portions. Freeze in meal size portions to ensure only the amount needed is defrosted. Use good quality, strong plastic bags and good quality foil to protect meat. Expel as much air as possible. Secure with tape for an effective seal. Each package should carry a label showing name of cut, weight or amount and date of packaging. Don't freeze beef for more than 6 months.
How to defrost
Refrigerator: Place beef on a plate and store at the bottom of the fridge. Once thawed, it can safely stay in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
- Before defrosting meat, remove the freezer bag or wrap to prevent meat sitting in ‘drip’, which will otherwise boil as the meat defrosts causing meat to go grey and begin to stew.
- Remove meat from Styrofoam tray, as they are not microwave safe.
- Most microwaves come with a pre-programmed ‘defrost’ setting. Refer to your user manual for its preferred setting and timing.
- Check the meat throughout the defrosting time. As outer portions of mince thaw, remove them from the package. If the edges of meat feel warm, stop microwaving and allow meat to stand for a few minutes or until edges are cold again.
- After defrosting the meat it must be cooked right away. Don’t leave it to stand for any length of time at room temperature or in the fridge.
- Osso bucco: (Shin, bone-in) Perfect for slow cooking as the bone adds great flavour.
- Chuck: (Stewing steak) Taken from the most active part of the animal, ideal for slow cooking to help tenderise the meat. It’s also the main cut in mince meat.
- Gravy beef: (Shin) Known as boneless osso bucco, it comes from the top of the leg and is best slow cooked or in casseroles.
- Blade: (Available in steak & roast) From the very top of the leg. Look for a piece with good marbling. Try pre-browning then roasting on medium heat for tender meat.
- Scotch: (Rib eye) Very tender and well marbled cut which makes it slightly pricier than other cuts and makes an impressive standing rib roast with the rib bones left intact.
- Porterhouse: (Sirloin/New York steak) Popular, tender and easy to cook.
- Rump: The most plentiful cut, perfect for marinating and grilling.
- Eye fillet: (Fillet/Tenderloin) The fillet is the smallest and most tender cut of beef with very minimal fat content.
- T-bone: Bone-in steak which includes both the eye fillet and the porterhouse, making it very tender and full of flavour. Two steaks in one!