Choosing the Right Recipe
Choosing the right recipe for your family and your cut of meat can be overwhelming! Especially if it's a new cut of meat, in which case, I suggest you read our other blog post, Top 5 Tips for Cooking a New Cut of Meat, for some helpful tips there.
Here are 4 helpful tips that I've used to help me decide which recipe will do my selected cut of meat, justice, while also keeping my family and friends (and whoever else is eating it) happy.
1. What's the occasion? Are you looking to cook a holiday centerpiece or a simple dinner with friends? Consider the amount of time, energy, and money that you're willing to put into the occasion. Some occasions require greater pre-planning than others. That traditional Thanksgiving turkey won't cook well without some pre-planned work and investment into the turkey itself. However, if you're prepping the turkey for dinner with friends, you may just want to cook it ahead of time and turn it into sandwich meat with gravy for a quick and easy, but equally satisfying dish. Whatever the occasion is will help dictate the type of recipe you choose.
2. Look at the ingredients. How much are you willing to spend on ingredients, what ingredients are in season or currently available to you, what ingredients do you have that need to be used anyways, do you have any dietary restrictions, etc.? These are all important questions to consider. Depending on your situation, you may have the time and money to explore a new or more exotic recipe. If you're looking to use up items you already have, consider those pantry staples (rice, beans, tomatoes, flour, butter, etc.) and search for recipes that use those ingredients instead. Keep in mind the possibility of substitution and that recipes are guidelines. Some ingredients are essential and others are not. Comparing one recipe to similar ones can help you distinguish which items are essential to the cook and which are simply influencing flavor points. For example, if you don't have fresh garlic, you're likely alright to substitute garlic salt, skip the garlic entirely, or search for a completely different recipe that doesn't call for garlic at all. Again, it depends on the recipe and is up to your personal judgement to decide what can stay or go. If you have a dietary restriction, such as a gluten intolerance, look for recipes that use rice instead of pasta, or simply substitute it.
3. Look at the clock. Are you a spur of the moment cook or one to pre-plan most meals? You're likely both, depending on the occasion. If you're looking for something quick, cheap, and easy for dinner tonight before practice, you may be looking for a recipe that uses pantry staples like tomato sauce, onion, garlic, pasta, etc. so you won't need to make a special trip to the grocer or spend extra money. If you have more time to plan ahead, you may be free to try a more involved recipe that may call for specialized ingredients that require an extra trip to the store.
4. Look at the reviews. Most recipes posted online have a place for user reviews. Read through them and, no pun intended, *take them with a grain of salt*. Get a feel for how other people enjoyed the recipe - its flavor, its instruction, its estimated time and ingredient amounts. Firsthand experiences are the best experiences, though everyone possesses different skill sets and taste buds. Thus, it's important to read multiple reviews to gain a more balanced view of the recipe. Reviews exist for hard cookbooks too, especially older or used books. I always look for the recipes in a book that are the dirtiest and most damaged, because they are generally the ones that were most often used. That, in and of itself, is a review and one that can help you decide what's best for you and your family!
I hope that helps you decide which recipe is best for you, your family, and your select cut of meat! Remember, you can always reach out to us with any questions you may have about cooking any of our products. Good luck and enjoy!