Grilled, Baked or Pan-fried: Tips for Cooking Meat to Perfection
Meat is a staple in many households, and it’s one of the most versatile ingredients you can add to a meal. There are meat recipes suitable for every occasion and taste, but cooking and preparing a good cut of meat requires a bit of research and skill. While you may be able to easily grill up a steak or flip a burger, perfecting the art of cooking meat will transform your meals and take dining to the next level. Follow this guide to learn some practical tips for cooking and preparing healthy meals with meat.
Tips for Cooking
From steaks to ground round, there are many cuts of beef out there. Whether you prefer your beef rare or well-done, you’ll want to make sure that you always choose the right technique and seasoning for the cut you’re preparing.
Grilling is one common practice that can be used for steaks, briskets, loins and other common cuts of beef. Braising beef in a slow cooker is another popular method. It produces a much more tender meat and yields juices that are used to flavor accompanying vegetables—typically hearty potatoes and carrots.
A general rule of thumb is that tender cuts of meat will produce tender meat when cooked via dry-heat methods, like roasting or broiling. Less tender cuts will require moist-heat at low temperatures and must be cooked for longer periods of time to soften the connective tissue and avoid drying out. It’s best to use the water as part of the dish, so you don’t lose the nutrients released via this cooking method. If submerging the beef in water, make sure the temperature doesn’t get too high, because boiling (212°F) causes the meat protein to become tough.
If you’d like to cook less tender cuts via a dry-heat method, it’s best to marinate it first. Just be aware that if the cut of meat is too thick, marinating it won’t help. The marinade only affects the first few centimeters of meat. Poking into the meat with a knife or fork may help the marinade penetrate more deeply.
Poultry consists of chicken, turkey, duck, geese and other domesticated birds. Some people prefer poultry over beef because it contains less fat, more protein and higher levels of iron and zinc. In order to avoid the dangers of food poisoning, cook your chicken all the way through and don’t leave any pink. You may choose to marinate your poultry and grill it, or you could pan-fry it in light oil to produce a crispy, golden finish. Chicken breasts are a great choice for stir-frying, while roasting is best for chicken on the bone, such as wings, drumsticks, chicken thigh cutlets and whole chickens.
Pork is produced from pigs, and its naturally sweet flavor makes it a fantastic base for a wide range of dishes. Pork chops can be baked or grilled, while a pork loin can be baked in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour and served with vegetables. Pork ribs are usually cooked quite slowly after being marinated in a barbecue sauce. Lightly coating your pork prior to cooking helps you avoid drying out the meat. Alternatively, you can sear both sides to create a crispy surface and leave the pan uncovered when you fry.
These tips for cooking meat will help you prepare the perfect meal every time. Whichever meat you prefer, make sure that you prepare it carefully and cook it properly. No matter what you’re cooking, safety always comes first!