During the Eid-ul-Azha, goat, cow, sheep and camel are sacrificed. The meat of these animals is known as red meat which is very nutritious. They are packed with high-quality protein, iron vitamin B12, niacin, and vitamin B6 and zinc. On the other hand, it is high in cholesterol, saturated fat and salt, which are harmful when consumed in larger amount. American Institute for Cancer Research is suggesting that people should “eat no more than 18 oz. (cooked weight) per week of red meat. I can share some basic tips on how to handle, process and store the meat of sacrificed animals on Eid to avoid food-borne diseases such as salmonella, listeria and toxoplasma.
Do not rinse the meat before cooking, as it will cause more bacteria spread out around the sink, which can infect other foods as well. Cooking the meat to a proper temperature far better way of killing bacteria. Beef, veal and lamb should reach 63 C. Reheat leftovers to 70 C before eating.
During the sacrifice and distribution, and also while preparing meat dishes, you should wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before, during and after handling raw meat. Make sure to use two separate cutting boards to avoid cross-contamination; one for raw meats and the other for fruits and vegetables. Alternatively, you can thoroughly wash the cutting board before switching from meats to vegetables and fruits and vice versa. Do not immediately cook or store the meat of sacrificial animals to prevent the possibility of infectious diseases, which could affect one’s lungs, stomach and cause high fever. Keep the meat of sacrificial animals at least for six hours in open air for its proper dehydration of blood and moisture before cooking or placing it in deep freezer. Grilling on a BBQ, in a safe way, is a healthy cooking technique, as this method requires no added fat, and the excess fat in meat drips away. However, don’t leave your steaks sizzling in the sun for hours before you are going to cook them. Keep the meat in the fridge until about 10-15 minutes before you are ready to cook it. Marinade meat in the fridge — not on the counter or outside in the field. If you want to re-use marinade that has touched raw meat, always bring it to boil first.
Cooked meat should not be left un-refrigerated for more than two hours. If there is any meat left and needs to be stored, always handle the meats with clean, dry hands. Store meat in the coldest part of the refrigerator, or in the meat bin of the refrigerator. Use fresh, raw meats stored in the refrigerator within 3-4 days. You can freeze uncooked cuts of meat, for several months. According to the FDA, you can keep cuts, like roasts, frozen for anywhere from 4 to 12 months and steaks for 6 to 12 months. Ground beef should be frozen for no more than three to four months. Do not forget to put the labels for leftover and make sure the meat is tightly wrapped.
Defrost meat in the refrigerator on the lowest shelf with a pan or a plate below it to catch any drips or in the microwave by using the defrost setting- never on the counter. Do not re-freeze thawed meat. Do not throw away the visible fat from meat. This can be made to tallow. This is a hard fat obtained from the parts of animal, in melted form of beef or mutton fat, processed from fat chunks. It is solid at room temperature. Tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration. This process is very easy, requires slow heat to melt the fat in the cooking pan. Tallow can be accommodated in healthy diet, especially if they come from pasture-raised and grass fed animals. Fat is required for the health and provides the dense calorie. Substituting fewer and cheaper fats than usual will increase the availability, affordability and accessibility to the animal fat. Proper care for prevention of contamination can save us from infection, diarrhea and some very deadly diseases.