When Is It Done?
Knowing when something is done to your liking is perhaps the single most important aspect of being a good cook. Like every other food that is subjected to heat, meat will be underdone, underdone, underdone, done, then overdone. In other words, the window of perfect doneness is a small one, and you need to learn how to jump right through it when it opens!
These cooking guides are meant to serve as a guideline. One person’s rare may be another’s medium-rare. The temperatures are the temperatures at which the meat should be removed from the heat; the temperature will rise 5 to 7 degrees as the meat rests—an important reason why you should be sure to give meat a rest before eating it.
Top 5 Tips For Cooking Meat –
- Use the right method for the right meat.
We’ve said it before and now we’ll say it again: It is crucial that you match the method to the meat: cook tender cuts with dry heat, tougher cuts with moist heat.
- Use plenty of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
When we say “sprinkle generously,” we mean it. Nothing brings out meat’s rich flavors like salt, and as for fresh pepper, we think it is one of the few ingredients for which there is no substitute. It is a whole different animal from preground, and well worth the small amount of extra effort.
- Sear the meat longer than you should.
Look for a dark brown sear on the outside of the meat, not just a light golden hue. And for best results, always dry the meat well before searing it.
- Check for doneness early and often.
There are plenty of variables in cooking, from the particular piece of meat you buy to the pot you use to the stove or grill you cook on. That means that the times given in recipes are only guidelines. Start checking for doneness well before the recommended cooking time is up, and check frequently after that.
- Get to know your butcher!
Since buying good-quality meat is the first step to a good meal, this may be the most important tip of all. As with fishmongers or farmers or cheese sellers, having a personal relationship with a butcher is an invaluable help.