I can still remember the cut of meat that started it all, a pound of marginal beef brisket a few days from its expiration date. While I did not realize it at the time, this discount meat freezer would become the source for many future purchases and lead to a newfound hobby and pastime, cooking.
I do not remember much about the brisket recipe except it required orange juice, barbecue sauce, an onion, and was required to bake in the oven for multiple hours. I’m pretty sure I ate the whole thing, so it must not have been that bad.
One of my next projects was a piece of meat called a London broil. I thought the name was interesting, so I decided to make the purchase and see what happened. It turns out this was not one of my better efforts for a number of reasons. Probably the first sign that something was wrong was the smoke billowing from the oven minutes after I placed the meat in there. Broiling was an entirely new concept for me , and I quickly learned this high-temperature cooking style was not as easy as it sounded. In the end, my London broil was about the consistency of old leather and probably tasked like this as well.
I discovered my next recipe in a Men’s Health magazine, and it was literally called “muscle chili.” With a name like this, I figured there were few things that could go wrong. In fact, this recipe was really up my alley… chopping a few vegetables, browning some meat, and then mixing it all together and allowing everything to cook unattended for a period of time. I’m not sure if this dish has quite lived up to its name, but nevertheless, it is still a solid, relatively easy, and hearty recipe.
Overall, my experiences with these discount meats have been okay. I’m not really sure if the small monetary savings outweigh the potential for mild cases of gastroenteritis or other food-borne illnesses that may accompany these meat products, but I guess life is all about calculated risks, right?