How to Choose and Prep Meat for Nigerian cooking

This is a guide on how to choose and prep meat for Nigerian meals.

prep meat - boiled - cooked - meat - Nigerian - stew - soup - seasoning

Oven Roasted meat pieces

Some recipes you thought you would never see right? who doesn’t know how to boil meat you might ask yourself. Well, the truth is most people actually have issues boiling flavorful meat. It’s one request I get every so often . My apologies sincerely, this post is long overdue. I was going to put this up right after I did this post on How to fry fish, but life got in the way.


Things to Note


Don’t Add Water While Boiling

No matter the meat (beef or chicken), it’s best if you don’t add water while boiling. There is often enough water in the actual meat to cook it through. Not adding water makes for a more flavorful meat. Some exceptions to the rule :

  • When you are trying to make stock, remember to adjust your seasonings accordingly.
  • If you are using a pressure cooker ( there is a lot of steam and water loss with pressure cooker, you will need water).
  • If it’s an excessively tough cut of beef that will require over an hour of cooking.


Choose Your Seasonings Wisely

Here is what I do:

Meat for Nigerian stew:
  • Salt, maggi, curry, thyme, rosemary, ginger, garlic, onion and pepper

Nigerian Stew - west African red stew- Recipe - Tomato stew - 9jafoodie - Recipe


Meat for soups:
  • Salt, maggi, pepper and crayfish

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Meat for sauces:
  • Salt, maggi, pepper and whatever other craziness I can get my hand on; I would typically add in bay leaf- a word of caution though, the impact is long lasting no matter what you put the meat in.

Not sure what I will eventually use the meat for:
  • I season with maggi, salt and pepper Only


The Cut of Meat Is VERY Important

For Sauce Or Stir-fry: 

Its better to get more tender cuts of beef and slice very thinly. This way you will not need to boil the meat before. It also helps to have something acidic in your marinade (lemon, vinegar, plain yoghurt etc) these items will help tenderize and lead to a more flavorful cook.

My choice cuts for this are : tenderloin, sirloin and ribeye


For Soup or Stew: 

Aside from the special orishisrishi assorted meat (feet, tripe, roundabout, tail etc), the actual cut of meat should be one that is able to withstand the 3 step cooking without falling apart (boiling, grilling/frying then stewing or souping). The best choices are typically cuts from the part the animal uses the most.  Foreshank, chuck and round.

If everything I said said sounds like gibberish and you are wondering how you will ask baba sule for foreshank, thou shall not freight. Here is a picture that details all the cuts. You describe the animal part you want to the seller, they KNOW!

How to know cuts of meat - Nigeria

Image credit – Google

Okay, that was a long lesson on meat wasn’t it. This is a rough recipe for boiled meat, add in things like shaki, oxtail etc as you need. Just remember to adjust the seasoning. I recommend 2 cubes of maggi and 2/3 teaspoon of salt for every 5 palm sizes of meat.


Oya on to the process:


  • 5 lbs beef, goat, chicken, tripe, etc
  • 4 maggi cubes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon each (curry, thyme)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (optional)
  • 2 large onions (cleaned and cut)
  • Thumb size fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4-6 fresh hot pepper ( Scotch Bonnet (rodo) or chili (shombo) )


  • Combinemeat with spices and onions. Place on medium heat and boil until  tender (~1hr)
    • If you need to add water – add in enough to just cover the meat.

Boiling Meat for Nigerian stew

Boiling meat for nigerian soup

  • Remove cooked meat pieces from broth and set aside. Strain broth through a colander to remove excess fluid (if available! collect this liquid for use in cooking things like fried rice)

Boiled meat - Nigeria

Making Stock - Nigeria

Arrange meat pieces on lined oven tray and bake at 425F until browned on all sides (sprinkle the meat with a little oil for more even browning)

Oven roast meat - Nigerian cookin

Meat in Nigerian cooking

Alternatively, you can deep fry the boiled meat

Prepared meat can be used in stews or soups. Store unused portion in the freezer for future us.

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Lose It Nigerian

By |October 21st, 2015|5 Comments


  1. toonna December 18, 2016 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Hallo 9jafoodie,
    Thanks again for all your great culinary wisdom.

    I have a peculiar beef (pun intended, lol) with making beef broth. No matter how much meat I cook the broth never seems to be plenty enough as I’d life it. I always cook lots of beef at one time and expect lots of broth to cook stews and soups stews in bulk but I always end up adding water to the broth to spread across the various stews and soups, which I think lowers the flavour vigor I strive for. This always seems to happen no matter how plenty the meet or turkey I use.

    Could it be that the broth liquid is evaporating I cook, or I’m not letting the meeting boil for long enough to extract all the liquid? Or perhaps I am underestimating how much liquid comes out of meat?

    I appreciate any thoughts you may have on this, and thanks again for the great content !

  2. Tricia December 4, 2016 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Thank you 9ja foodie, this came in just at the right time. I however still have unanswered questions.

    Please what is the right way to cook cow meat (the part before the chuck- it’s the part I used ) and all other parts that are generally tough, viz ponmo etc.
    I recently cooked and cooked and cooked this meat for stew. was super-tough!! I finally had to fry it and then boil again after the initial cooking.

    Please what’s the best method. Thanks.

    • 9jafoodie
      9jafoodie December 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      Hello Tricia – Try using a pressure cooker, it will cook the meat much faster.

  3. Estti E. November 21, 2016 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    this is really informative. thank you!

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