How To Prepare And Cook These 12 Types Of Meat: A Detailed Guide
Did you know that 20-30% of an average person’s food intake consists of meat? That’s approximately one-fourth to one-third of the daily food consumption. It may not be surprising since you can always find meat on the average dinner table.
Centuries ago, ‘meat’ (or mete) was a term used to describe anything that can be eaten—in other words, food. Today, it refers to the flesh of an animal, but you can also use it to describe the edible part of a plant (e.g., coconut meat).
Have you ever wondered how many types of meat there are? For red meat, the most popular ones include pork, lamb, and beef. Poultry, which primarily comes from chicken and turkey, is commonly referred to as white meat.
Aside from these popular ones, there are other types of meat you might like to know about, such as veal, venison, duck, etc. In this post, you’ll explore the different kinds of meat as well as how to cook each perfectly. Read on to learn more.
Pork is arguably the most popular type of meat due to its protein content, omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin B1 (thiamine), and cheaper cost. Its high myoglobin levels are responsible for its rich red color. Hence, it’s classified as red meat.
The nutritional content of pork may vary depending on the cut of meat. For example, pork tenderloin has less fat and more protein than pork belly and pork butt because it’s a leaner cut.
Regardless, pork has all the vitamins and minerals essential for human health. These include vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), which are good for metabolism and cardiovascular health.
However, eating too much pork can be bad for your health because of its high cholesterol levels, especially the cuts with a high-fat content (e.g., pork belly). Also, make sure your pork is cooked thoroughly, as it’s prone to bacterial and parasitic contamination.
Here are some ways to cook pork:
- Barbecue (e.g., barbecued pork ribs)
- Stew (e.g., classic pork stew)
- Fry (e.g., pork tonkatsu)
You can also brine pork chops and give them a sear on a hot cast-iron skillet for an easy-peasy weeknight dinner. If you’re looking for high-quality cuts of pork, you may visit Grand Peaks Prime Meats or other butchers in your area.
Like pork, beef is a popular type of meat but is more expensive and flavorful. This is especially true when it comes to its highly sought-after cuts like steaks and ribs.
When eaten in moderation, beef can be good for your health. It’s rich in iron, vitamin B12 (cobalamin), and zinc. Nevertheless, it’s important to watch your consumption because some cuts of beef contain a lot of fat (e.g., short ribs), which can harm your health.
There are plenty of ways to cook beef. You can make burgers for an all-American vibe, sear steaks for a fancy weeknight dinner, or slow-cook ribs for a hearty and comforting meal.
Lamb comes from a young sheep less than a year old. Although it’s more expensive than others, it’s also believed to be one of the healthiest because it contains all essential amino acids and high-quality protein.
Like other types of meat, the fat content of lamb may vary depending on the cuts you choose. If you want a cut with a small amount of fat, choose a leaner cut (e.g., loin). Also, other cuts may contain higher amounts of calories, such as ribs, shoulders, and legs.
However, cooking lamb may produce carcinogens. To prevent that, make sure not to sear your lamb over extremely high temperatures, and it’s best to consume them moderately.
Here’s one way to cook the lamb: sear a rack of lamb in medium-high heat, baste it with butter, and let it finish cooking in a preheated 375F oven for five minutes.
You can also braise lamb shank in red wine if you prefer something with liquid. Or roast a leg of lamb for a fancier weeknight dinner.
Chicken is arguably the most popular poultry known for its high protein and low-fat content. However, some parts may have higher amounts of calories than others. For example, a drumstick has 180 calories, while a thigh has 210 calories.
Nonetheless, take extra precautions when handling chicken. Don’t wash it like beef and pork unless it’s extremely necessary. This is because washing chicken could spread disease-causing microorganisms everywhere and contaminate everything.
On the other hand, chicken is a versatile type of meat. You can cook it however you want; you can stew it, grill it, bake it, broil it, roast it, or fry it. The possibility is endless with chicken.
The king of the holiday banquet is well-known for its large size and belongs to the white meat category. However, it has fewer calories and is darker than chicken.
Moreover, turkey is an excellent source of high-quality protein and contains significant amounts of essential nutrients, such as B vitamins.
Turkey may not be as expensive as beef and lamb. But like chicken, it requires extra precautions to prevent the spread of bacteria and other pathogens.
You can cook your turkey like chicken, but it’d be best to have it roasted in a preheated oven while it sits on a bed of mirepoix—onions, celery, and carrots. You can also add some herbs, like sage, rosemary, and thyme, to make it more flavorful and aromatic.
Veal is meat from a young calf between six and eight months old—or younger. It offers plenty of benefits, such as lowering high blood pressure and building muscle.
Veal may help reduce blood pressure because of its high potassium content, around 330 mg per 100-gram serving. Potassium helps control blood pressure by maintaining healthy blood circulation and fluid balance.
In addition, veal may help build and maintain muscle because of its high protein content. On top of that, it contains all the essential amino acids, such as leucine. This will help you grow and maintain muscle without gaining extra pounds.
However, the muscle-building benefit of veal is only possible with intensive physical training and a proper diet.
There are plenty of ways to cook veal. You can boil it, roast it, grill it, stir-fry it, and simmer it in a hearty soup. When you cook veal steaks, let them rest for at least three minutes before eating for optimum flavor.
Venison is a type of meat you can obtain from deer. It’s classified as red meat and is a healthier option compared to pork and beef, with 25 grams of high-quality protein and only 127 calories per 85-gram serving. Plus, it contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, vitamin K, choline, zinc, and iron.
Venison might have a small amount of fat, but that doesn’t prevent the meat from releasing bold and distinctive flavors. However it’s notorious for being tough, but when handled correctly, it will be a meat that surpasses others.
One of the best ways to prepare venison is to simmer it in a rich broth to keep it moist without masking its natural flavor. For this type of dish, it’d be best to use the shoulder or leg part of the meat.
Venison pairs well with earthy flavors like mushrooms, parsnips, beetroots, and turnips. You may use juniper to experience an evergreen-like aroma to reduce its gamey taste. Or you may try eating it with dark chocolate. The bitterness and earthy note of dark chocolate perfectly complements the distinctive flavor of the venison.
Duck is a flavorful and healthier alternative to other types of meat, even though it’s high in fat. But don’t worry because most of this fat is unsaturated—healthy fat.
In addition, duck is an excellent source of high-quality protein as well as other essential nutrients. These include iron, niacin, and selenium, which pave the way for the following health benefits:
- Boosting the immune system
- Improving bone strength and density—as long as there’s a sufficient calcium intake
- Supporting thyroid health
- Substituting for unhealthy fats
- Reducing the risk of developing heart diseases—thanks to its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids
There are plenty of ways to cook duck. You may try roasted whole duck, duck confit (slow-cooking duck meat in duck fat), pan-seared duck breast, and more.
When searing duck breast, render the fat and crisp up the skin. Once you’ve released all the fat from the breast, don’t throw it away. Instead, keep it for recipes that call for meat fat (e.g., pork lard) because it’s healthier and offers a more versatile flavor.
Aside from duck meat, you may also try cooking duck liver, also known as ‘foie grass (liver from a fattened duck). All you need to do is sear it in a skillet like a steak and baste it in its oil until it’s done.
Goat meat is considered one of the healthiest red meats because it’s low in cholesterol and saturated fat but high in iron. However, it has a strong flavor and is sweeter than lamb but not as sweet as beef. So, cooking it with spices may help boost its unique flavor profile.
There are two types of goat meat: kid goat meat (or capretto) and chevon. Capretto is the meat from a goat four months old or younger. Chevon (or adult goat meat) is meat from a goat 14 months old.
Between the two, kid goat meat is more tender and leaner, and its high moisture content makes it suitable for a wide range of cooking methods. Adult goat meat is tougher, which makes it ideal for slow-cooking methods to bring out its distinctive flavor.
There are different ways to prepare goat meat. One of the most common methods to cook goat meat is slow cooking (e.g., stews and curries). Aside from slow cooking, you can also grill, roast, and pan-fry goat meat.
Rabbit meat is a healthy alternative to pork and beef. It’s high in protein, approximately 29 grams per 100-gram serving, and low in fat. This makes it ideal for people who want to build and maintain muscle.
Aside from high-protein and low-fat content, rabbit meat is also high in vitamin B12 and selenium. Vitamin B12 is essential for producing red blood cells, and selenium is necessary for a strong immune system and a healthy thyroid function.
You can cook rabbit meat like chicken; fry it on medium-high heat for at least 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 71C. Nevertheless, only fry cuts that are easy to cook, such as the loin. Other cuts (e.g., back and front legs) are perfect for slow-cooking and braising.
Goose meat is more tender, flavorful, and nutrient-dense compared to chicken and other poultry. However, it’s high in cholesterol, approximately 96 milligrams per 100-gram serving. People with health issues would have to avoid eating goose meat.
As mentioned earlier, goose meat contains plenty of essential nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A (retinol), which is good for the skin
- B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12) which is good for the heart
- Protein, which helps build and maintain muscle
- Essential amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, methionine, etc.) which support protein synthesis
- Minerals (calcium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, etc.) essential for several functions
There are many ways to cook goose meat. But it’s best to marinate the meat for at least two days in the fridge for maximum flavor before cooking it. If you want to roast a whole goose, make sure to prick its skin with a fork to ensure its fat renders out.
Seafood is approximately 15% of the world’s total protein intake. This makes it one of humanity’s most important food. Also, it’s healthier than red and white meats, although they have similar protein content.
In addition, seafood is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent stroke, eczema, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. So, if you’re looking for foods high in omega-3, seafood is the way to go!
You can cook seafood in different ways, including pickling, smoking, frying, stewing, braising, and fermenting.
Meat has been a common staple of the human diet for thousands of years, from red meat to poultry to seafood, helping humanity survive throughout the ages. Most types of meat are high in protein, but be careful because some cuts are high in fat, which can be bad for your health.
There are plenty of ways to cook meat. You can braise, stew, roast, or simply fry it on medium-high heat. Just avoid searing the meat over extremely high temperatures to prevent the formation of cancer-causing compounds.