Non-Standard Meat and Poultry Options (Guest post)

beef, guest, pork | January 19, 2013 | By

While a perfectly cooked steak or tender barbecue chicken never gets old, it can be fun to bring new cuts of old favorites and alternative meat and poultry options into your kitchen. The following list comprises meat and poultry options that are often overlooked, but that offer a fantastic, flavorful alternative to my favorite meats. They are excellent with basic seasoning, in hearty stews or winter soups, or in deli sandwiches. I hope they whet your palate and inspire you.

Pork butt, which is often known as Boston Butt, is an excellent cut for making stew. Contrary to what its name might suggest, pork butt is actually derived from the hog shoulder. It often includes the upper arm, the shoulder blade, and connective tissue around the neck. Although it is slightly tough, pork butt can add a robust flavor to most dishes. It makes for excellent sausages and can be ground into patties for breakfast dishes. Pork butt is also often used to make a rich lard, which makes pork butt a rather versatile piece of meat.

Ostrich is, unfortunately, an overlooked type of poultry. Yet, ostrich is an exceptional choice if you are looking for non-standard poultry selections. It is a prime choice for individuals looking for leaner, healthier, nutrient-rich meat. Ostrich contains fewer calories than its feathered, more popular counterparts, chicken and turkey, and less than one-third the fat of the average chicken. A red meat with an unusually rich texture, ostrich can be included in any dish that calls for beef or lamb. Ostrich is tender, succulent, and rich with iron and essential omega-3 fats. If you are interested in changing up your breakfast or burger routing, ostrich can be easily crafted into a delicious patty.

If you enjoy lamb, rack of lamb is a cut that you absolutely must try. Rack of lamb begins at the lamb saddle and carries its way to the eye muscle. If you prefer a leaner cut, rack of lamb comes in three varieties. A frenched cut is one in which the fat between the bones is carefully removed while a capoffed cut removes the largest chunk of fat from the cut. A fully denuded cut, in which all fat throughout the cut is removed, might seem too lean, but lamb’s full flavor ensures that, with or without fat, the rack of lack is a mouth-watering choice. Rack of lamb may be sautéed, roasted, or braised and incorporated into a larger dish.

Finally, if you can find a good wagyu brisket for sale, this delicious meat offers an unexpected treat. Layered with a substantive cap of fat, the brisket is incredibly rich with buttery flavor and is an essential for any serious smoke-pit connoisseur. The marbled folds of this brisket lends itself to its uniquely abundant flavor. Many recipes suggest cooking wagyu brisket for at least 12 hours in a smoke pit to bring out its full flavor. Among barbecue and smoke pit meats, wagyu brisket is truly a delicacy.
In the end, there’s never an end to the amount of quirky options we have at our culinary disposal.  If you think there’s another great option that I missed, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

Ralph Venkirk is a lifelong fan of the culinary arts.  Nothing makes him happier than serving something that his friends have never seen before.  When he’s not cooking, Ralph enjoys trying a new beer while watching his favorite sports teams.


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