It’s grilling season and I know that most of you have been waiting patiently to be able to cook outside. It is usually meats that most cook on the grill, and I think it is important to have a little refresher on how to best buy, store and cook different meats.
Tips on Buying the Meat
It is important to buy meat wisely, know how to store it and how to cook various cuts of meat for optimum results.
Recognize quality – Meat should be firm, velvety and fine grained with streaks of fat through it.
Beef – Outside fat is creamy white and firm, the meat is uniform rich red colour, varying from light red to dark red.
Veal – Outside fat is creamy white or tinged with pink. Young veal is greyish pink and older veal is pinkish brown.
Lamb – Outside fat is creamy white or slightly pink in colour. Mutton is more brittle and white in colour. The meat varies from a light pink to dark pink and in mutton from light to dark red.
Pork – Outside fat should be firm and white and there should be a good proportion of lean to fat. The meat varies from greyish pink to deep rose colour.
Tips on Storing Meat
Remove store wrappings and wipe with damp cloth. Place on a shallow plate and cover loosely with waxed paper. Store in refrigerator. Cured meats can be left in store wrappings.
Approximate storage time in refrigerator:
Roasts – 2-3 days
Steak and chops – 2-3 days
Ground meat – 1-2 days
Liver, heart, kidney, etc. – 1 day
Cured, smoked meats – 1 week
Sausages – 1-2 days
Wieners – 2-3 days
Cooked meats – 3-4 days
Tips on Cooking Meats
Tender cuts – Suitable for roasting, pan frying and broiling
Less tender cuts – Suitable for pot roasting, braising and stewing
How to roast: Roast meats in moderate oven (325F) .Place roast, fat side up on a rack in an uncovered roasting pan in centre of oven. Insert meat thermometer in the centre of the meatiest part of roast so that the tip is not touching bone or fat. Base occasionally during roasting. Season halfway through cooking. Roast to desired stage of doneness or until meat thermometer registers required internal temperature. Let roast stand for at least 10 minutes to make carving easier. Make gravy from drippings in pan.
Timetable for Roasting Meats at 325 F: – Minutes per pound
Beef – Rare – 20 – 25 minutes (thermometer temperature – 130 – 140 F)
Medium – 25 – 30 minutes (Thermometer temperature – 140 – 150 F)
Well – 35 – 40 minutes (Thermometer temperature – 150 – 170 F)
Veal – Well done – 35 – 40 minutes (Thermometer temperature – 180 F)
Lamb – Well done – 30 -35 minutes (Thermometer temperature -180 F)
Pork – Well done – 40 – 50 minutes (Thermometer temperature – 185 F)
Cured meats – Well done – 25 – 40 minutes (Thermometer temperature – 170 F)
How to pan fry (or pan broil): Use a heavy frying pan and add small amount of fat. Snip fat edges of meat to prevent curling. Brown meat on both sides, over medium heat, cooking to desired doneness. Do not cover pan unless indicated in the recipe you are using and do not prick meat. Season only after browning, using salt and pepper. If youa re cooking fat meat, do not add fat. Pour off excess fat that accumulates in the pan.
How to broil: Direction will vary with the type of broiler used, thickness, kind of meat and degree of doneness desired. Preheat broiler and leave door slightly opened. Place meat on cold rack of broiler pan – distance form the broiler should be about 3-5 inches. Broil meat on one side until browned, season and do the other side.
How to Pot Rast: Brown meat well on all sides in hot fat in a heavy pan or Dutch oven pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cool pot slightly and slide a rack under the meat. Add a small amount of water or soup stock – about 3-4 tablespoons. Cover and cook over low heat on top of stove or in moderate oven (325F) until tender and well done. Allow 30 -35 minutes per pound for bone-in meats, and 40 – 45 minutes for boneless meats. Add vegetables if desired, during the last hour of cooking. Uncover oven cooked roast last half hour of cooking for better browning. Use pan juices to make gravy.
How to Braise: Score or pound the meat to break down coarse fibers. Season and flour meat and brown in fat in heavy frying pan. Add liquid, cover and cook slowly over low heat in a moderate oven (325 F) until tender and well done.
How to Stew: Trim off excess fat and gristle. Cut meat into 1”cubes. Flour meat and brown in hot fat in a heavy kettle or Dutch oven. Add seasonings and enough water or stock to half cover the meat, stir well. Cover tightly and simmer meat slowly until it is tender. Add vegetables about 30 minutes before the meat is done. For a thicker stew, add flour mixed with a little water.