Fresh from the meat counter

Looking to give your cooking a bit of a boost? Why not visit one of our meat counters. Not only are they stocked with 100% British meat and poultry sourced from farmers we know and trust, they're staffed by colleagues who can help with recipes, give you cooking tips, prepare the meat to your liking or introduce you to cuts you may never have tried before.

Getting to know your cuts

There's a lot of language that surrounds the different cuts of meat and it can be a bit daunting if you're unfamiliar with it. Here's a little introduction to some of the more common cuts, so you can expand your cooking range.

Beef steaks

Fillet is perhaps the best known steak but actually has less flavour than others because it has virtually no fat. It is very tender though and is a really versatile meat. Rump and sirloin are both tasty cuts which benefit from being left to slow mature. Cook them on a griddle for a delicious smoky finish, or pan fry. Rib-eye may look fatty, but that's what gives it its rich flavour, so leave the fat on to cook and remove afterwards if you don't want to eat it.


Shoulder tastes best, and in fact becomes deliciously tender, if it's slow roasted with a rub or in a tray filled with veg.  Pork tenderloin is a very versatile tender cut. It can be sliced into medallions, stuffed, grilled or roasted. Chops come from the loin of the pig; try grilling or frying them. All the pork we sell on our counters is Freedom Food endorsed to standards approved by the  RSPCA.


Lamb is a very seasonal meat. At Sainsbury's we source it from around the country, so you can be sure it's always best in season. Probably the best known cut of lamb is the leg, which makes a wonderful roast, dotted with rosemary and pieces of garlic. You can also buy boneless leg steaks which can be ready in just a couple of minutes on a griddle. Just as good for a roast, and a little bit cheaper, is the shoulder, delicious when it's slow cooked. Rack of lamb, which is a series of cutlets, is another treat - roast it until it's just done.

Bring out the flavour with a rub or marinade

Even before you start cooking you can add to the flavour of your meat with a marinade or a rub. Marinades are based on something acidic like lemon juice, yogurt or wine. You can get ready-made marinades free from our meat counter, including a sweet chilli mix for chicken and a mint for lamb. Just smear them over the meat and leave in the fridge from 20 minutes to 2 hours for the flavours to infuse. Rubs are generally a dry mix of seasonings and spices like sugar, cinnamon, chilli powder and pepper. They're great if you're short on time - just dab them on the meat and leave for 20 minutes, then get cooking.

Did you know...

  • 1

    When you're buying meat bear in mind that the neck and shoulder of the animal are the parts that have worked the hardest, and so they're at their best when they're given a long cooking time - in a stew or slow roasted.

  • 2

    Rib-eye steak is traditionally the butcher's favourite. If you're going to treat yourself to one, choose a relatively thick cut with a certain amount of fat in the centre. That way, when you serve it up, you'll enjoy a perfect, juicy steak.

  • 3

    If you want to get more out of a meal, why not roast a whole chicken? Use the meat left over next day for salads or sandwiches. Put the carcass and scraps in a pot, cover with water, add herbs like a bay leaf, some peppercorns and salt, bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. It'll make a great stock for soup or risotto.

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