Meat is the easiest thing to get wrong in the kitchen. If you cook it badly, you can easily end up with a tough, leathery hunk of meat that makes your jaw ache instead of the delicious melt in the mouth treat you were hoping for. Things could go the other way and you might end up making yourself and everybody else sick because you undercooked the meat, and that’s even worse.
The way that you cook the meat makes a huge difference to the flavor and if you want to improve your skills in the kitchen, you need to know different meat cooking techniques aside from frying. These are the meat cooking techniques that everybody should know.
We’ll start with boiling because it’s not one that we use that much but it does have its place. Boiling, as the name suggests, simply involves boiling meat in water. Sometimes, you can add some vegetables or stock to the water to add more flavor. This isn’t the tastiest way to cook meat but it is the healthiest and it does give you very tender meat.
Boiling is not to be confused with stewing, which is slow cooking meat in a sauce of some kind. This gives you delicious, melt in the mouth meat and the longer you cook it for, the better. This is quite a common way to cook tougher cuts of meat that will not be nice to eat when cooked using quicker methods.
Braising is similar to stewing but it involves frying the meat first and then putting it into the liquid to cook. This gives it a nice caramelization before it goes into the sauce, creating more depth of flavor. Again, this is a great way to cook tough cuts of meat that are packed with flavor but need more care and attention.
You’ve probably heard of the other methods so far, but you may not have heard of sous vide. This is a method that involves vacuum packing the meat in a plastic packet and then slow cooking it in a temperature controlled water bath. The meat can then be finished off using another cooking method, like grilling or frying. Check out this amazing beef rib recipe to get a better idea of how the process works. You do need to invest in some equipment to vacuum pack the meat and possibly for the water bath too, but it’s definitely worth it. The sous vide method gives you the most tender meat you could imagine while also retaining the pink center because you cook it on such a low temperature.
Grilling is usually done with a barbecue and although most people know how to do it, they don’t necessarily know how to do it well. How many times have you been handed a burger that is burnt on the outside but still suspiciously cold in the middle? Usually, it’s because people don’t flip their meat enough when they’re grilling it. The idea is to get a nice crust on the outside without making the middle too tough, but also to cook it through evenly. The best way to do that is by flipping it every two or three minutes. People also make the mistake of having huge flames on their barbecue. They think that they’ll get a flame grilled flavor and it will be delicious, but it just burns the meat before it has a chance to cook all the way through. Whenever you cook on the barbecue, you need to wait until the flames die down and the coals turn white, then get your meat on.
Roasting is one of the easiest ways to cook certain cuts of meat, but it can quickly go wrong. If you’re cooking a meatloaf, for example, you’ll roast it in the oven without any liquid. But meat can easily dry out when you roast it, so you have to be careful. Covering it with foil for the first portion of cooking time and then only removing it for the last half an hour or so to crisp up the top is a good way to prevent drying. You can also use a spoon and baste the meat with the juices that come out during cooking. They will then be reabsorbed and the meat will stay juicy. Once you finish roasting the meat, resting it is so important. If you cut into it right away, all of the juices pour out and you’re left with a dry piece of meat. But when you rest it for five to ten minutes, the juices soak back in.
These are some of the best meat cooking techniques to help you step up your game in the kitchen.