You can cook meat in several ways, from pan-searing to roasting to barbecuing. Yet, no matter how you cook your meat, there are basic rules that you must obey in order to cook the tastiest of meat. Find out next:
Tough cuts, which come from parts such as shoulder, rump or brisket respond best to stewing, barbecuing or roasting. These methods cook slowly in order to add moisture to the food and break down the tough proteins. Game meat such as moose or elk can even be taken to the extreme by braising.
On the other hand, tender cuts such tenderloin and striploin cook best with dry methods like grilling and broiling. But, be sure not to cook tender cuts for prolonged times as the food can lose plenty of moisture and become tough.
Browning is a crucial step when cooking meat and it creates a huge amount of flavour. This happens when the sugars and amino acids present in meat combine after being subjected to high heat. In turn, they create hundreds of different flavour compounds. These continue to break down further to create more new flavour compounds. This process is called Maillard reaction.
Away from the chemistry, you must ensure that your meat is dry before you start cooking. To achieve this, dry raw meat on paper towels and leave it to come to room temperature. This is especially mandatory with previously frozen meat, which often releases plenty of water. Drying will also prevent the meat from moving from cold to hot very fast. Most importantly, it ensures that meat cooks evenly.
Another thing you’ll have to do is preheating the pan over high heat until the oil poured in it is smoking. Be keen not to overcrowd the pan too. If you have a large chunk of meat, it makes sense to brown it in 2 or 3 batches. A crowded pan leads to steaming and not browning the meat. As a matter of fact, when browning meat in a pan, the result should be indeed brown and crispy.
This is especially the case when cooking large cuts of meat or those tough cuts. The idea is that slow cooking allows the inner part of the meat to come up to the desired temperature without overcooking the outer layers. Therefore, food cooks evenly. Low heat also helps reduce the loss of flavourful juices and fat. Generally, meat and other proteins shrink less and release less moisture when cooked at medium heat than when roasted or grilled over high heat.
Carryover Cooking is a process that allows food to continue cooking despite being removed from the oven, grill, roasting fire or stovetop. Most meat recipes will recommend a certain amount of time to allow food to rest outside a cooking chamber after the food has cooked.
During carryover cooking, the internal temperature of food can rise anywhere from 5 degrees C to 20 degrees C. As a general rule, the denser the food, the more carryover cooking is required.
There are two reasons why carryover cooking is crucial;
First, you’ll want to remove meat from the oven before it reaches the desired temperature to prevent it from overcooking. The food can then continue cooking outside the oven to the ideal temperature and then start to cool.
Second, it allows the meat to preserve its flavourful juices, which brings us to the last but very important rule:
Just leave the meat rest after it’s cooked.
Have you ever pulled a piece of meat straight from the oven or grill, sliced it and wondered why your cutting board was covered with a pull of juice? Well, it’s because you never gave it time to rest.
When meat cooks, the juices inside bubble up to the surface. Resting your meat will allow these juices to redistribute themselves throughout the food and preserve the flavour. And, the larger the chunk of meat, the longer the rest time is needed. A general rule of thumb is it should rest for half the amount of cooking time. Turn the meat over during resting also helps.
Meat recipes create some of the most fun and thrilling cooking experiences, whether barbecuing, roasting or pan-frying. However, many people don’t know how to cook meat to the desired taste. Now that you have the tips, show that meat the respect it deserves to end up on your plate.
Try one of our meat recipes today and apply the 5 tips on how to cook meat to it.