meat & poultry
- When you grill, pull your steaks out of the refrigerator one hour ahead of time so they can come to room temperature.
- When searing meats, you need to make sure the skillet is preheated. You need the right size skillet – too big and the food will burn, too small and the food will steam. Be sure to use the right amount of oil – too little and the meat sticks, too much and it fries.
- To keep all of the natural juices inside your roast, sear it on all sides in a hot skillet with a little vegetable oil before putting it in the roasting pan.
- Meat, especially beef, lamb and pork – needs to rest before you slice it to allow the juices to redistribute. If you cut right into the meat once it comes out of the pan or oven, you’ll see the juices run out and the meat will taste dry.
- To store your meat, it is best to loosely wrap it on a plate and put it in the coldest part of your refrigerator so the air can circulate around it. Red meat should be either cooked or frozen within 2-3 days or purchase.
- When freezing red meat or poultry, wrap it very tightly or seal it in a plastic bag to prevent air spoilage or freezer burn. Be sure not to pile pieces on top of each other but do pack meat as flat as possible so it freezes quickly, which will ensure that its texture is not spoiled.
- Meat should be completely thawed in the refrigerator before cooking. Never thaw poultry at room temperature or you risk salmonella contamination.
- Tired of meatloaf that sticks to the pan? Toss in a slice of raw bacon before adding meat to the pan. It may not be the healthiest alternative but it does work.
- For crispier fried chicken, add a teaspoon of baking powder to your coating mix then coat and fry as you normally would. Remember to make sure that the oil is very hot before adding the chicken to avoid an overpowering greasy taste.
- Don’t salt meat before cooking. One of the biggest faux pas when it comes to cooking meat is to salt it prior to cooking. What the salt actually does is draw the juices out and impede the browning of the meat.
- Always be sure that poultry is cooked through. To test for readiness, pierce the flesh at the thickest part with a fork. If the juices run clear then it is cooked.
- For tender, juicier roasted meats, substitute wine, tea or beer for water in your favourite recipes. These liquids help to tenderize the meat more than plain water does and they add a rich flavour to whatever you are cooking.
- In most cases, regular ground beef is a better buy than medium or lean. And some foods – such as hamburgers – are more tender and tasty when made with regular ground beef because of the extra fat content. Any excess fat can easily be drained off.
- For a juicier hamburger, add cold water to the beef before grilling (1/2 cup to 1 pound of meat).
- An easy method to prepare chicken for recipes that call for pre-cooked chicken is to “poach” it. This involves simmering it slowly in liquid. This can be accomplished with water, broth, fruit juice, wine or a combination of these. Poach the chicken until tender, about 15-20 minutes, then chop or slice as specified in the recipe.
- A roast with the bone in it will cook faster than a boneless roast - the bone carries the heat to the inside of the roast quicker.
- Chefs pound meat not only to tenderize the meat, but to help even the meat so it cooks evenly.
- Marinate red meats in wine to tenderize.
- Put meat used for stir frying in freezer for 45 min. to 1 hr. to make slicing easier.
- Sausage patties rolled in flour before frying won't crack open during cooking.
- For a steak sauce with a kick, de-glaze your frying pan (after searing your New York steaks) with brandy, and add two tablespoons of butter, a little white wine and a splash of Grand Marnier (that's an after-dinner cordial). Serve over steaks.
- Tenderize pot roast or stewing meat by using two cups of hot tea as a cooking liquid.
Use a gentle touch when shaping ground beef patties. Over handling will result in a firm, compact texture after cooking. Don't press or flatten with a spatula during cooking.
- When braising meat, cook it at a low temperature for a long time to keep the meat tender and have it retain all the juices.