Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tips to Cooking Meat


cooking tips meat

Choosing the Beef

The best joints for roast beef are either a Rib of Beef, a Sirloin or a Fillet. Rib works well as usually it will be cooked on the bone as keeping the bone in makes for a tastier piece of beef when cooked but both Sirloin and Fillet are also very good.

The beef should be:

1) Dark in color - meaning it has been hung well and is mature.

2) A thick covering of fat which adds flavor and prevents the joint from drying out during cooking. This layer can be removed before serving so no need to worry too much about excess fat.

3) Marbling: Marbling is small slivers of fat running through the flesh which again adds flavor and prevents drying out during cooking.

How to Cook Meat to Enhance its Flavor

Cooking Meat - How much Flavor? Flavor is another major consideration when deciding how to cook meat. When proteins are heated together with sugars (in this context 'sugars' include large molecules made by joining small sugar rings together such as polysaccharides or starch and other carbohydrates to temperatures above about 140°C,a whole series of chemical reactions occur (the Maillard reactions). These reactions (which also brown the meat) break the large protein molecules down into smaller molecules that are volatile and hence can release flavors and smells. The flavours we think of as 'meaty' smells in fact are only generated during cooking at these high temperatures.

Thus, if we do not allow the meat to get hot, none of these Maillard reactions will occur and the final dish will not taste very 'meaty'. To achieve the desirable 'meaty' flavors we need to make sure that some parts of meat reach high temperatures (well above 100°C) and remain at those temperatures for long enough for the meat to become a rich dark brown colour.

The combination of attempting not to heat those muscles that contain little connective tissue above about 40°C,while heating those parts where there is lots of connective tissue to temperatures above 70°C; and at the same time ensuring that some parts are heated to above 130°C makes the cooking of meats a complex process .

However, there are a few simple guidelines that, if followed, should ensure a good, tender, and flavorsome result every time.

Key Points to Bear in Mind When Cooking Meat

1) Always ensure the outside of the meat is cooked at a high temperature until it is a dark brown color.
- i.e. start cooking meats at high temperatures

2) Cook meats with little connective tissue for only a short time so that the outside is browned, but the inside does not become tough
- i.e. grill, fry or roast these meats.

3) Cook meats with lots of connective tissue for very long times so that all the connective tissue denatures and the bundles of coagulated muscle proteins fall apart making the meat tender again.
- i.e. make stews with gristly meats

Why are These Key Points Important?

Cooking at high temperatures and browning the meat is most important since the main flavor is generated by the "Maillard" reactions which only occur at temperatures above about 130 Ce. The cooking time should be adjusted to be just long enough to degrade the connective tissue present in the meat, without toughening the muscle proteins too much.

The Effects of Heat on Meat




start to coil up and shrink

begins to flow

coagulation well under way

begins to denature
mostly coagulated

flow ceasing

light brown
densely associated tough meat


rapidly turning into gelatin


If you have time you can apply the techniques above by trying this recipe Texas Barbecued Beef Brisket

cooking tips meat

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