Useful Tips Before Cooking Any Kind of Meat

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Meat can be cooked in a number of different ways. However, it usually boils down to hot and fast or low and slow. Anything else within this spectrum is likely to end in toughness. This applies whether you are boiling, frying, grilling, roasting, barbecuing, stewing, steaming or even microwaving.

Meat is made of collagen and juicy muscle fibres. Collagen is naturally tough and starts to break down slowly at about 5C/12F. Hotter than this and the muscle cells start to break down too. If you are serious about your meat, you may want to get a meat thermometer for professionals while cooking. Here are some useful tips you should consider before cooking any kind of meat:


  1. High heat develops flavor. If you are looking for that lustful flavor that comes with browning meat, high heat will achieve this. What happens is a chemical reaction when the meat is exposed to high heat causing amino acids and sugars in the food to combine. You will see a deep brown sear and a thick crust on all sides. If cooking in a pan, make sure there is enough space between the meat chunks.
  2. Preserve moisture with low heat. This allows the centre of the meat to achieve the same temperature as the surface. This is especially effective in larger meat chunks. An added advantage is that you get to keep all the yummy juices inside the meat and the fat too.
  3. Cook your meat with regard to the cut. Tough cuts are usually the parts of the meat that were heavily exercised such as the shoulder or rump. These cook better with low heat and a slower cooking time to make them tender. They are also best served well done. Tender cuts such as the loin are the parts that are subjected to very little exercise. They respond better to fast and dry-heat cooking like grilling and roasting.
  4. Meat continues cooking even after it leaves the oven or pan. If you want your meat to reach a particular temperature – measured with a meat thermometer for professionals – remove it from the oven, grill or pan when it is 5 to 10 degrees below the desired temperature. This is referred to as carry-over cooking. However, this does not apply to poultry meat, which does not retain heat as much.
  5. Figure out how much time you need to marinate the meat. Marinating can take a whole night but usually, you would like to do it in the time it takes for the meat to reach room temperature. Use water-based marinades rather than oil-based ones which do not penetrate the meat and burn during grilling.

Cooking meat can be an exhilarating experience when you get to master it. It is very dependent on timing and heat used. Spices and flavor will only add to the taste but you can know how good meat is just by its look and texture.

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