If you’re like most people, you tend to stick with what you know…
And this is especially true in the kitchen. We all like to experiment and try new foods and recipes… but when it comes to the weekly meal planning and daily cooking, even the most adventurous among us usually stick to the same old familiar standbys.
When we’re in our “comfort zone”, we can operate on autopilot, removing the additional decision-making we have to make in an already-chaotic world.
But when we stay in our comfort zone – in cooking and in life – we tend to miss out on the experiences and growth that comes with trying new things.
In today’s article, I’ll share five of my favorite “gourmet” cuts of meat from US Wellness Meats… why they’re so spectacular… and the best ways to prepare them.
Teres Major: “Poor Man’s Filet Mignon”
We’re all familiar with the choicest of cuts, the filet mignon. But many are not familiar with its less expensive “cousin”, the teres major.
Sometimes called the “poor man’s filet mignon”, this shoulder cut is second only to the tenderloin filet in tenderness. In other words, it provides a similar decadent experience to filet… at a fraction of the cost.
Like filet mignon, the teres major does best with a quick top and bottom sear in a hot pan and then transfer to a pre-heated oven until the desired temperature is reached. You may cook the entire teres whole, or slice into filet-mignon-style rounds and pan-sear individually.
A few of my favorite ways to serve include: Pan-Seared Teres Major with Broccoli Raab and Grape Tomatoes… Filet Mignon-Style Teres Major over Cauliflower Mash with Garlic Butter… and Bacon-Wrapped Teres Major and Wild Shrimp Scampi and Buttery Asparagus for a surf and turf delight!
Pork Belly: The “Dessert” of the Meat World
Pork belly is essentially “better bacon”…
It has more meat, more healthy fat and greater culinary complexity. One delicious bite of pork belly can be delightfully crisp, and yet succulently tender. It’s packed with the savory flavor of meat and satisfies our carnal urge for fat.
And as the menu of any upscale tapas bar will attest, this age-old staple is all the rage in haute cuisine around the world. If you’ve ever tasted a piece of silky, meltingly-tender pork belly, you already know this special cut is a true delicacy!
Unfortunately, however, cooking pork belly can be intimidating and time consuming. This causes home cooks and professional chefs alike to steer clear.
And while slow-and-low oven roasting is the most common method, you can enjoy all of the fatty, nutritious goodness of pork belly – in a mere fraction of the time – when you use the Instant Pot. (Check out my quick and delicious recipe for Instant Pot Pork Belly here).
Whether you want to create Asian-Ginger Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps… Mediterranean Pork Belly with Thyme and Fava Beans or French-Inspired Pork Belly Confit – one basic recipe (and a few spice swaps!) is all you need to get started.
We’ve also found that US Wellness Meats has some of the finest pork belly we’ve ever had the pleasure to taste!
Pork Shoulder: The Inexpensive & Forgiving Cut You Can Use for Anything!
If you love crispy carnitas, pulled pork and classic Italian ragùs, then you’re already familiar with the cut that makes these delicious dishes possible – pork shoulder!
Perfect for feeding a crowd, this thrifty and generous cut offers versatility and pure culinary pleasure. What’s more, the rich supply of health fats make this a very forgiving when cooking (unlike its leaner relatives, pork tenderloin and pork chops which can easily become too dry).
My favorite preps for pork shoulder include: dicing and adding to a slow-cooker stew, marinating overnight with aromatics (rosemary, fennel and garlic are my favorite!) and roasting in a Dutch oven slow-and-low, or simply dicing and adding to the Instant Pot for quick and delicious shredded pork to stuff in Paleo tortillas or make a quick salad. If you have a meat-grinder, you can also turn pork shoulder into ground pork for homemade meatloaf and meatballs.
At the end of cooking, you’ll find that the pork shoulder will be practically swimming in rich, flavorful fat. And best of all, about 60% of the fat content in pork is monounsaturated (MUFAs) – the fats best known for the heart healthy aspects of the Mediterranean diet.
Marrow Bones & More: The Nutrient-Dense Starter Staple
The hidden “flavor secret” of authentic cuisine is often found in rich, fragrant broths that serve as a base.
Whether it’s an umami-infused Vietnamese Pho… a good, old-fashioned Chicken Soup… or an Italian Bolognese – homemade bone broth provides unparalleled flavor (and nutrients!) that boxed broths rarely touch.
I love to create bone broths in batches using a few different flavor profiles (Asian, Mediterranean, Traditional) and freeze for later use. This allows me to have the perfect bone broth on hand to suit any culinary fancy.
I also like to keep canoe-cut beef marrow bones stocked in my freezer for a quick superfood appetizer. And they could not be simpler to prepare…
Place bones marrow-side up on a baking sheet, sprinkle with mineral-rich sea salt and roast at 425F for 25 minutes. (I love to serve with my sliced and toasted Keto & Paleo Miracle Bread and a drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil).
Ground Lamb: The “Multivitamin” Meat Packed with Gourmet Appeal
Whether you simply want an alternative to the usual beef burgers, or you’d like to create a classic Mediterranean Lamb Kofta, ground lamb offers all the versatility of beef, with a unique flavor profile and nutritional twist.
What’s more, lamb is exceptionally nutrient-dense offering:
- 50% of the omega-3 fats found in tuna (ounce for ounce)
- A high proportion of monounsaturated fats (MUFA). In fact, 40% of the fats in lamb come from oleic acid – known for its anti-inflammatory effects.
- High amounts of cell-protecting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
My favorite ways to incorporate ground lamb include: Greek-Inspired Lamb Burgers, topped with Feta Cheese and Cucumbers … or Oregano-and Garlic Infused Lamb Meatballs – either of which can be served with a simple Greek Salad.
Wonderful Flavors and Deep Nutrition for Lifelong Health & Enjoyment
Of course, with US Wellness Meats you can’t go wrong with the basic staples either!
From tender, flavorful grass-fed ground beef and steaks to the BEST grass-fed hot dogs on the planet (really, if you haven’t tried these yet, you must!) – I love the wonderful flavors and deep nutrition that goes into each and every one of their pasture-raised, naturally grazed products.
Do you have a favorite cut? If so, how do you like to prepare it?
Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Keto Breads – which includes more information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Keto Breads…
1. G Demirelemail, J.D Wood, M Enser. Conjugated linoleic acid content of the lamb muscle and liver fed different supplements. Small Ruminant Research. Volume 53, Issues 1–2, June 2004, Pages 23–28
2. Nuernberg K, Fischer A, Nuernberg G, et al. Meat quality and fatty acid composition of lipids in muscle and fatty tissue of Skudde lambs fed grass versus concentrate. Small Ruminant Research, Volume 74, Issues 1—3, January 2008, Pages 279-283.