Our team of experts in the Meat Dept. brings decades of combined experience to the table, so we quizzed them on everything we could think of to help answer questions you may have, from Safeway’s meat selection to how to order meat at a butcher. Here are some meat-prep tips and tricks to help make your roasts and grilling favourites a success.
Meat Dept. Q&A
1. How do I order meat from a Safeway butcher? Can I request a special cut of meat at the counter?
Come in or call us – our team members are here to help you. Many cuts are available at our counters, and we can customize to your needs. Please feel free to refer to our online portion calculator to determine the amount you need, plus some great recipe ideas to get you started.
2. What’s your favourite cut to prepare for big holidays?
You could say our team is full of traditionalists. Our picks include traditional turkey, ham, or prime rib roast, but our Meat Dept.’s handy Roast Calculator has multiple options, including lamb, Cornish hens, duck, stuffed turkey breast and beef Wellington, to name a few.
3. How do you like to cook these roasts?
We always recommend you cook to a food-safe temperature, based on Health Canada recommendations; always use a meat thermometer. Most importantly, let the meat rest before carving.
4. How do I marinate meat for the BBQ? Is there a right way to use a marinade?
Lots of Canadians love a flavourful marinade when grilling. Our advice? Be careful when using sweet marinades, as they can burn, and keep in mind that different marinades require different preparations. Read the marinade’s label carefully, and if you’re unsure, cook the meat indirectly using medium heat until the appropriate safe internal temperature is reached.
5. How do I best use a BBQ sauce or glaze so it doesn’t burn when I’m grilling?
The same as with marinades, the key is to be mindful of burning due to the potential sugar content in BBQ sauces or glazes. We recommended brushing these on at the final stage of cooking to avoid charred sauce and meat.
6. What cuts are best for hot-and-fast cooking, like grilling or pan-searing?
Burgers and kabobs do well with some caramelization, but remember to always cook to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F), using a meat thermometer to check!
7. What is silverskin on meat? Should we remove it from certain cuts of meat, like pork ribs or beef tenderloin, before grilling?
Silverskin is a tough connective tissue on larger cuts of meat. Unlike other fats, silver skin doesn’t break down during the cooking process. If you’re making pork ribs, for example, remove the silverskin prior to cooking and finishing on the grill. Here are two ways we recommend you do that: Pick your technique!
8. Everyone loves a juicy burger, especially on summer nights and long weekends. How do I grill mine so it’s perfect?
That depends on the kind of burger you’re looking to grill, but one thing is sure: Fat content differs (the leaner the burger, the drier it will be when grilling, for example), so the best practice is to cook to an internal temperature of 75°C (165°F, always using a meat thermometer! For more tips on grilling various kinds of meat burgers, hit up our Grilling Guide for more tips and what to look for.
9. What are your must-have grilling items you enjoy every summer?
This summer, we’re looking forward to grilling any one of our featured summer-lineup meat options. This includes our pre-seasoned beef brisket, our denuded beef tenderloin, pre-seasoned beef short ribs, Sterling Silver® beef medallions and strip loin steaks, a new selection of Compliments frozen burgers, fresh burger offerings from our Meat Dept., kabobs, Nagano pork ribs, and our hotel-cut pork loin chop. Check out our Grilling Guide to learn more about how to grill these to perfection.
10. Do you sell halal-certified meat?
Yes, there are halal meat offerings in every store across multiple departments, but some stores have a more robust offer. Please check with your local Sobeys store for more details.
11. Does your meat department also offer plant-based alternatives?
Yes, we have an extensive offering of grinds and burgers available in fresh and frozen varieties, including plant-based alternatives.
12. Do you sell dry-aged meat?
Right now, we have about 6 Safeway stores selling dry-aged meat. See if your location is one of them.
13. Can you explain the dry-aging process?
It’s a complicated process, but the quick version is: Whole beef cuts are stored open, on racks in a temperature-controlled environment for approximately 50 days, allowing for a controlled loss of moisture. This tenderizes the meat and concentrates the flavours so you get an exceptional piece of beef.
14. Can you explain what makes Sterling Silver® special and what Certified Tender means?
Sterling Silver® beef is special because it consists of the top 2/3 of Canada AAA beef, ensuring a well-marbled product that gives you a tender, juicy steakhouse-style experience. There are various cuts that also have the Certified Tender shield, which means the meat has been certified by the Canadian Beef Grading Agency* to be tender and aged perfectly, so you can count on delicious results. You’ll find this label only on select Sterling Silver® premium cuts.
*CBGA certiﬁes that this product meets process requirements for Certiﬁed Tender beef. For more information on Certiﬁed Tender beef, visit CertiﬁedTenderBeef.ca .
15. Can I buy free-range chicken and grass-fed beef or pork in Safeway’s meat department?
While we don’t currently offer free-range chicken, select Safeway stores do have grass-fed beef. Check with your local store for more details.
16. What’s the secret to cooking tender, juicy chicken or turkey?
The first rule is to not overcook the bird. We recommend it’s cooked to specifications in the Health Canada internal-temperature guide that we’ve followed in our Roast Calculator, and as always, use a meat thermometer and let rest before carving.
17. Can I order meat in bulk for a large gathering?
Yes, you can. If your order is very particular regarding certain cuts or meats, a few days’ warning is always helpful so we can meet your needs.
18. What’s the secret to cooking juicy pork?
Much like chicken or turkey, the secret is to not overcook it. Regardless of method, pork should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 155°F (68°C), rested to a Health Canada-recommended final internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
Much like chicken or turkey, the secret is to not overcook it. Regardless of method, pork should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 68°C (155°F), rested to a Health Canada–recommended final internal temperature of 71°C (160°F).
19. What’s your favourite cut of pork?
Our team enjoys the Nagano hotel-cut loin chop because it’s delicious, impressive, 100% Canadian, and raised following strict guidelines, which results in a tastier, juicier, and more flavourful meat. Nagano pork is exclusive to our stores and will satisfy those who love to eat Canadian pork.
20. What’s your favourite way to season and cook pork?
We’re salt-and-pepper kind of people, but if we had to pick a seasoning, it would be a Montreal Steak Spice, no marinade, no BBQ sauce. We prefer to cook a pork chop like we cook a grilling steak. Let it rest on the counter for 20 minutes before it hits the grill, and let it rest after for a few more minutes to let the juices settle before consuming. Regardless of method, pork should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 68°C (155°F), rested to a Health Canada–recommended final internal temperature of 71°C (160°F). For us, any day that ends in “y” is our favourite occasion to enjoy pork.
21. What’s an uncommon pork cut that more people should try, and why?
Pork belly is a really overlooked, delicious cut that’s well-marbled for flavourful results. It’s great for roasting, braising, or barbecuing.