Meat has appetite appeal, rich flavor and satisfying qualities. It is a good food around which to plan daily meals. It combines well with many vegetables, cereals and fruits; and can be served hot or cold at any meal.
Meat is an important food for good nutrition, which supplies valuable amounts of protein of highest quality, a good source of the B vitamins and minerals. It supplies energy in proportion to the amount of fat it contains. It varies in food value between different kinds more than between different cuts of the same kind.
Meat retains more food value if properly cooked and the drippings used in gravy. Here are the healthiest methods of cooking meat:
How to Roast?
Roasting is a dry heat method of cooking large tender cuts. Roast all meats in a moderately slow oven (325 °F.).
- Do not sear meat before roasting.
- Place roast fat side up on a rack in a roasting pan.
- Do not cover pan. Do not add water.
- Insert meat thermometer, if available, in center of meatiest part of roast so that the tip is not touching bone or fat.
- Place roast in oven so that center of roast is in center of oven. Baste occasionally during roasting.
- Season halfway through cooking. Roast pre-cooked vegetables around meat if desired.
- Roast meat to the desired stage of doneness or until meat thermometer registers required internal temperature.
- Let roast stand for at least 1 0 minutes to make carving easier. Make gravy from drippings in pan.
(Note: Some cuts of meat when roasted in the oven are referred to as “baked”).
How to Panfry Meat?
Panfrying is a dry heat method of cooking meat, particularly thin, tender cuts.
- Use a heavy frying pan. Add a small amount of fat or fat cut from the meat.
- Snip fat edge of meat to prevent curling. Brown meat on both sides. Season meat after browning.
- Avoid pricking meat to prevent juices escaping — use tongs to turn meat.
- Do not cover pan except as directed for certain meats.
- Cook to desired stage of doneness. Serve with gravy. When cooking fat meat do not add fat.
- Cook in ungreased pan, uncovered and pour off excess fat. This is sometimes called “pan-broiling”.
How to Broil?
Broiling is a dry heat method of cooking thin, tender cuts. Directions vary with type of broiler unit used, thickness and kind of meat and degree of doneness desired.
- Preheat broiler. Leave door ajar. Snip fat edge of meat to prevent curling.
- Place meat on cold rack of broiler pan at recommended distance from heat.
- Broil meat on both sides to desired stage of doneness. Season meat as each side is browned.
(Since manufacturers’ directions for using broiler in gas and electric ranges vary, follow instructions supplied with your particular range as to: (i) preheating broiler, and (ii) leaving door open or closed.)
How to Pot Roast less tender cuts?
Pot roasting is a moist heat method of cooking large, less tender cuts.
- Use heavy kettle or Dutch oven. Brown meat well on all sides in hot fat. Season meat well.
- Cool kettle slightly before adding liquid. Add a small amount of liquid. Cover kettle closely to keep in steam. Add vegetables, if desired.
- Cook meat slowly over low heat on top of stove or in moderately slow oven (325°F.).
- Cook until tender and well done. Uncover oven-cooked pot roasts last half-hour of cooking for better brownness.
How to Braise Meat?
Braising is a moist heat method of cooking thin, less tender cuts. Here are the steps:
- Score or pound the meat to break down coarse fibers. Brown meat well in a little hot fat. Season meat well.
- Sprinkle with flour and brown again slightly. Add liquid, stir well and turn meat.
- Cover and cook slowly over low heat on stove or in moderately slow oven (325°F.). Cook until tender and well done.
Stewing is a moist heat method of cooking small pieces of less tender cuts. Here is one method of stewing meat:
- Trim off excess fat and gristle. Use a heavy kettle. Brown meat well in a little hot fat.
- Sprinkle browned meat with flour and brown again slightly. For light stews, omit browning and flouring and thicken before serving.
- Add seasonings. Add liquid and stir well. Cover kettle closely. Add vegetables if desired.
- Simmer meat slowly over low heat on stove or in a moderately slow oven (325°F.). Cook until tender and well done.
“Boiling” (simmering below the boiling point) is a moist heat method of cooking large less tender cuts. Here is the simple way of boiling meat:
- Add hot liquid to cover meat. Add seasonings. Cover kettle closely. Add vegetables if desired.
- Simmer meat slowly on low heat until tender. Allow meat to cool in the liquid to improve flavor and juiciness.
- Use stock for soup or to serve with meat.
Pressure cooking is a moist heat method of cooking the less tender cuts in a pressure saucepan. Follow manufacturer’s directions for each type of pressure saucepan.
- Brown meat well on all sides, if directed. Add a small amount of water. Cover and cook for given time.
- Allow pressure saucepan to cool slowly to prevent juices being drawn out. Add vegetables, if desired, at end of cooking time to avoid overcooking.
Consumers should become familiar with the kinds and the various cuts of meat in order to buy to best advantage.
Here are some points to keep in mind:
- Color of lean and fat of each kind of meat.
- Shape of each cut and proportion of meat to bone.
- Carcass from which cut comes. Most tender cuts are from the center section along back bone; the farther the cuts are from this section, the coarser and less tender the meat becomes.
- Grades, in the case of beef, indicate the quality.
- Read the label. Prepackaged meats in self-service counters are often labelled with the name of the meat, the cut, and in the case of beef, the grade.