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Buying and Grilling Tips from New York’s best butcher, Pat Lafrieda

Want to impress your friends and family or just learn a little bit more about grilling?  Take note of what Pat has to say,  and believe me, he knows meat!

Pat LaFrieda is a fourth generation butcher and provides meat to over 1,000 restaurants in New York City and beyond.  His family business is featured on the hit Food Network show MEAT MEN.  Pat also has an app where he shares everything you need to know about meat.  Pat LaFrieda’s Big App for Meat is available on iTunes.  Get it today!

Buying Tips

1.       Odor over color – Fresh meat should practically be odorless. If you get home and open the package and it has a slight gas odor, this does not mean your meat is spoiled. This is a natural occurrence and should dissipate within a minute. If the odor does not dissipate, your meat is spoiled.

2.       Look for the USDA inspection seal on package. This ensures food safety & that the product was processed under government oversight.

3.       When USDA product is not available, buy from a trusted butcher. Get to know your butcher & observe the facility. I.E. A butcher’s outer garment should be a clean, white coat and should not look like he had done roof work that day.

4.       Buy domestic – The USA has the best meat in the world. Don’t worry if product is local. As long as it’s domestic, you’re helping a farmer in the USA. From coast to coast, we have the best growers in the world.

5.       Stay away from marinated meats in the supermarket. Today’s marinated meats can be yesterday’s oxidized or spoiled meats.

Grilling Tips

1.       Heat your grill – Before you even start fussing with your meat. Heating with the top down will heat the grill as fast as possible. Your first piece of meat should hit the grill at no less than 450 degrees F surface grill temperature.

2.       Once your meat is on the grill – do not close the top. The beauty of BBQ is to be cooking with the surface temperature. This will allow the beautiful caramelization of the meat, which is the maillard reaction you want to occur.

3.       A little brown sugar goes a long way. Most marinades can cook off the meat but a little brown sugar will help the marinade to adhere to the meat.

4.       Salt before the grill. Pepper after the grill. Salt gives a nice crust. Pepper will get bitter if used before grilling.

5.       If you’re looking for an external sear on  a rare or medium-rare steak – do not bring your meat up to room temperature before hitting the grill. If you put cold meat on the grill you will ensure the exterior will sear while keeping you’re the interior rare or  medium-rare.

Thank you Pat!  Those are really helpful tips for a rookie griller like myself. Want more meat tips? Check out Pat LaFrieda’s Big App for Meat, available on iTunes.

Rachael Ray