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Plumping: Underhanded Practices Cheat Meat Consumers

So the other night, I found a GREAT deal (or so I thought) on meat at a local, well-known grocery store chain. They had pork chops for $1.99 a pound. Now, please understand that I don’t really eat pork that often. I don’t think it’s particularly healthy — but when the ground turkey is now over $4.00 a pound, and a decent cut of steak is running over $10, I get a little less picky — or I did.

I bought about 8 pounds of this stuff — a family pack — and come home and immediately stuff it all in the slow-cooker. It nearly fills the pot. It’s almost time for bed, so I turn it on low, throw a slathering of my favorite BBQ sauce EVER in there, and figure I’ll have meat in the morning to take into work for lunch — and I’m very excited about that.

An aside: I know Dave Kleckner — the inventor of this BBQ meat-manna — and he is both a client and a friend. Dave makes the only Barbecue sauce that my man will touch. He USED to say, “I just don’t like BBQ.” and now he says, “I’m just gonna put a little of Dave’s sauce on that…” Yeah, it’s that good. Dave often comes by to share a new recipe or to drop off cookies, or salmon, or something he thinks I need to try. It’s kinda awesome! 🙂

So now you know why the maker of the sauce told me the following information — that I needed to know and share with my readers — about my porkchops.

When I got up the next morning, I accused my man of sneaking into my cooker and devouring about half the meat while I slept. He claimed innocence. Then he swore that, no, really, he had not touched it. We both gazed down into the half-empty crockpot.

Dave came by later that afternoon and I told him what happened and asked him, as the BBQ expert, if he had any idea why meat would shrink up like that and just leave a half-empty slow cooker of mostly water.

He asked me if I’d bought it at (and he named the grocery store). When I said yes, he explained that they added water to all their meat and that’s why he didn’t buy from them when he was grilling. He said he usually lost about half of the volume of any meat from that store.

Since that conversation, I did a little more research and — to my surprise — this is nothing new — it has been going on for quite some time. It’s called “plumping” and it is the injection of salt water into the meat, sometimes up to 30% of the total weight!

So, that’s some pretty expensive water, don’t you think?

That leads me to wonder what ELSE might be in this high-sodium chicken and pork and other meats that can still be labeled “all natural” under current USDA regulations. It’s not only bad for the budget, it’s bad for your health — the salt content can be as much as 10 times that of chicken in a truly natural state (without the injections and “enhancements”). Ten TIMES!

So my next step is to find out where Dave DOES get his meat, and start buying from a more reputable source — and if you are buying your meat in standard grocery stores, a sale might not really be a sale. Just so you know…

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