Why You Should Buy Vacuum-Sealed Meat, According To Michael Symon

Selecting meat at a grocery store can sometimes feel like playing Russian roulette. Unless you have a close personal relationship with the store's butcher, there's a pretty good chance you don't know exactly what you're getting.

Many people in this pickle will assume that their best option comes in a vacuum-sealed package. This method of storing meat emerged in the 1940s to help food companies transport meat long distances before it spoils, per Grutto. Vacuum-sealing locks in freshness, prolongs the product's shelf life, and staves away contamination.

When meat is vacuum-packaged, all the oxygen is removed from the areas surrounding it. This stops the growth of fungus, mold, and bacteria. You can even sous vide bone-in meat that comes in a vacuum-sealed package. Meat stored this way may last up to five times longer than a cut that's just wrapped and stored normally, but one celebrity chef warns against purchasing vacuum-sealed meat altogether.

Why Michael Symon says you should buy from your butcher

On February 6, celebrity chef Michael Symon told a fan on Twitter that they should avoid buying vacuum-sealed meats when possible. "If you are lucky enough to have a local butcher, support them," Symon told the fan.

According to FreshMag, buying meat from a local butcher will give you knowledge about where the meat came from, which gives you the ability to support purveyors with ethical meat production practices instead of picking up whatever's on display in the meat aisle. Buying meat locally also lets you cultivate a relationship with your local butcher. They'll get to know your preferences and be able to make recommendations that will suit your palate, per HuffPost.

You'll also have the option of trying cuts of meat that are out of your usual repertoire and probably receive a few tips for preparing what you purchase. In fact, the biggest mistake you can make when buying meat from a butcher is not asking the person behind the counter for their thoughts.