Tenderize MeatThe different types of meat consumed by mankind in modern times are many in number and extremely varied in their properties. This can often lead to confusion when you are wondering how to cook and serve a particular type of meat at its very best. One of the biggest concerns you will have is that the meat is served tough and this means that it is important to know the different techniques which can be employed for tenderizing meat - before, during and after cooking.
The most obvious way of tenderizing meat prior to cooking is by pounding it with a meat mallet. While this would definitely be applicable to tougher cuts of beef, it would definitely not generally be a good idea with the likes of chicken or wild game. If employing this method, you should lay the meat on a hard, steady chopping board and pound it evenly with moderate force. You may wish to cover the meat with plastic wrap to help protect it and prevent splashing.
A more delicate but similar way of tenderizing better quality beef is by simply massaging it with your fingers. Take a few minutes to gently rub the meat between your thumbs and first two fingers and this will help to break down any potentially problematic tendons before they toughen up during cooking.
Marinating meat is a lesser known but equally effective way of tenderizing meat prior to cooking. The marinade can be composed of any number of different ingredients but it is usually the inclusion of the acidic juice of a citrus fruit such as lemon or lime which best serves to break down the potentially tough tendons. Meat should be marinated in this way for at least a couple of hours but overnight, covered in the refrigerator, is also usually fine.
The temperature at which you cook meat, the length of time for which you cook it and the method by which you cook it will all determine how tender or otherwise most types of meat are when they are served. There are any number of ways of achieving this with different cuts of meat but there are some important principals you should be aware of if you are to achieve best results.
Fatty meats such as good quality steaks are best cooked quickly, on a very high heat. Never cut the fat off a steak prior to cooking, only immediately prior to service if that is your choice. Fat gives the steak flavor as well as serving to keep it moist during cooking.
Extra lean meats such as wild game need to be cooked either very quickly on a high heat or very slowly on a low heat. The cut of the meat will often determine which method you should employ. Small partridge breasts, for example, should be cooked quickly at a high temperature in a frying pan, while a large cut of venison is best cooked long and slow in the oven.
The most important consideration after you have cooked meat is allowing it to rest. During cooking, the fibers of the meat will have tightened and they have to be given time to cool slightly and relax. Particularly where you cut or carve meat immediately after cooking, the juices will flow out and leave the meat dry and quite possibly tough. Resting time will vary from five minutes for small portions of game, to an hour for large turkeys.
Cooking meats can be a minefield in many respects. This means that it is always more than worthwhile taking a little bit of time to investigate recommended best practices before cooking any type of meat for the first time. This is easily achieved in these days of search engines and will help ensure you serve any type of meat to your family as tender, juicy and tasty as possible.
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