You know the ones we mean. The ones you pass right by on your way to the familiar comfort of a boneless chicken breast or a rib-eye steak. The ones that make you say to yourself, “Someday I’ll learn how to cook you.”
Because the Wedge’s Meat & Seafood Department does its own butchery (unlike a regular supermarket that just buys cases of customary cuts), we boast a number of lesser-known protein options. This is good news for all the local, sustainable producers we work with, because it means that every part of their animals gets used and that that value gets returned to them. And it’s good for you, the customer, because it offers you maximum cooking choice and versatility. Plus, all those cuts are cheaper than their relatives with more prominent name recognition.
So let today be the day you say yes to liver, to shank, to rump! With our handy guide, you’ll be making the most of our more out-there cuts in no time. Or just ask a butcher the next time you’re at the Meat & Seafood counter. They love to give a little love to the ones that always get picked last.
Oxtail comes from the tail of a cow or steer. The bones in the meat contain lots of marrow, which lend a richness to recipes and carries many health benefits. Used frequently in Italian and Korean cuisines.
What to look for: Tailbone cut into sections-should be bony and somewhat fatty.
How to cook: Low heat, long period of time. The crockpot is your friend. Try the Curried Beef Oxtails recipe.
Best in: stocks, stews, braises, bone broth
Pork belly is from the same cut off the hog as bacon, so depending on the fat content the flavor will either be more like bacon (fattier), or more like a pork chop (leaner). It can be purchased in both the sliced and slab form, just ask our butcher!
What to look for: a thin layer of skin, thick ribbons of silky fat, and streaks of reddish-pink meat. Also goes by “side pork”.
How to cook: Slow and low first, then hot. Slow cooking ( at 250–300° F) will break down the tougher fibers in the meat and make it tender. Then a bit of a sear or blast of high heat will crisp it up for the best of both worlds. Try the Molasses and Apple Pork Belly recipe.
Best on its own surrounded by fall veggies.
The tenderloin (not to be confused with the loin) is the muscle that runs alongside the backbone of the pig. It is a very lean cut of meat, with a similar fat content to skinless, boneless chicken breasts.
What to look for: Long thin cut; also goes by pork filet and pork tender.
How to cook: Quickly over high heat, great for grilling. Try the “Pork Tenderloin Tacos” recipe.
Best in: stir fries, tacos, salads
Pro tip: Butterfly your loin for even faster cooking. And don’t skip the marinade!
Most people are used to getting their turkey breast presliced and sandwich-ready. But it’s actually a great cut of meat to cook with because it’s super lean and cooks up quicker than in-bone options. It’s as easy to prepare as skinless boneless chicken breasts, but even easier on the wallet!
What to look for: Tender pink breasts with no spots of discoloration.
How to cook: Low and slow in the oven or slow-cooker, or cut up and seared in the skillet. Try the “Shredded Thai Turkey Sandwich” recipe.
Best in: casseroles, chilis, sandwiches
Whole rainbow trout
Always opting for fish filets means you’re missing out on some serious flavor. Whole fish have a gelatin-rich backbone and skin to seal in moisture, producing sweet-tasting flesh with a cushiony texture. And at the Wedge, we bring you local Star Prairie trout raised right here in Minnesota!
What to look for: clear eyes; it’s an easy way to tell how fresh the fish is.
How to cook: Grilling, stuffing, oven roasting or pan searing. Try the “Stuffed Rainbow Trout” recipe.
Best on its own as an easy, quick and healthful dinner.
Smoked lake trout
This ready-to-eat, quick meal wonder gets a big flavor boost from the smoking process. It comes to us from Everett’s Fisheries and is a lean protein option for any night of the week.
What to look for: You can find it pre-packed in the cases in front of our fresh seafood
How to cook: Grilling, stuffing, oven roasting or pan searing. Try the “Zucchini Stuffed With Smoked Lake Trout” recipe.
Best in: salads, spreads, chowders, or stuffed inside vegetables