The right color depends on the type of meat you are buying. Red meat should be dark in color, and can vary between purple, red, and brown. If it’s brown, it simply means it has been exposed to oxygen. It will still be safe to eat! Pork meat should be a light blushing pink color, while game meat should be dark brown.

You might have noticed that the color of poultry varies somewhat and this is because their diet affects their meat color. So, the color of fresh poultry can range anywhere from blue-white to yellow!

The Smell

It’s Christmas Time

Not everyone (even meat-eaters) like the smell of fresh meat, so many home cooks find it difficult to establish whether the aroma they’re smelling is a normal raw meat funk, or whether it’s spoiled.  But smell is actually the best way to determine whether the meat is still fresh. If the smell is in any way pungent (or smells like rotting flesh), then stay away!

Look for clean cuts

Raw fresh beef spider steak
Raw fresh beef spider steak

You can easily spot good quality meat by the way it’s butchered. Look for smooth cuts that are uniformly sized, and stay away from jagged edged meat. This is especially the case when buying poultry. Lower grade poultry are not always butchered well, which means care is not taken when removing joints and bones. If you don’t like small bones in your chicken, then opt for higher grade cuts.

The meat surface

If you look closely at red meat, you will notice meat fibers. The grain of the fibers will tell you whether the meat is tough or tender. Coarse meat grains, with many visible muscle fibers, means a tough meat with lots of flavor. Choose these cuts for low and slow cooking. When buying beef tenderloin, you will notice the lack of these grains, meaning the meat will be tender when cooked.