A MEATY AFFAIR

Choose cuts of meat that relate best to their cooking methods. For example, secondary cuts which have more fat (connective tissue) such as shanks, blades or briskets require longer cooking times. When cooked long and slow – like stewing, braising, casseroling – these yield some of the most satisfying and hearty winter dishes. 

HEAT SEDUCES ME

When heat from your stove, oven or grill is applied to meat, the proteins within the muscle begin to break down. Heat changes the colour of the meat from red to light pink to grey in appearance. This can help determine whether the cut is rare / medium / well done.

SLOW AND STEADY

When cooked long and slow – connective tissues (fat) in meat softens and become gelatinous. This allows tougher meats, like chuck, blade, cheek and brisket to become rich, juicy and tender.

SEARING IS SEXY

Searing meat at a high temperature prior to slow cooking, allows meat to develop in flavour through caramelisation.

DINNER IDEA

PULLED BRISKET

GOOD. BETTER. BEST. IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO REST.

– Meat should be brought to room temperature for at least 20 minutes prior to cooking. This is particularly important when cooking meat rare. When cooked, the meat needs to be rare in the middle but warm, not fridge cold.

– Rest meat once it has been cooked. This can be done on a board or plate covered loosely with foil and kept in a warm place. The juices will move from the centre to the surface of the meat, which will enhance flavour and tenderness. A good guide to follow is to rest meat for ⅓ of the cooking time. For example if a roast takes 1 hour, allow to rest for 20 minutes after cooking.

KEEP ME HOT

Always pre-heat cooking facilities (oven, frypan, grill, BBQ, pot). The meat will instantly sizzle and caramelise, rather than stew, which will enhance flavour and tenderness.

MAKE SURE I AM THE PERFECT FIT

Ensure the roasting pan size is appropriate for the size of the meat. A pan too large, will allow valuable pan juices to evaporate, resulting in meat with a burnt flavour.

EXPLORE CUTS

LAMB LOIN

A RACK IS WHERE IT’S AT

When cooking a roast, use a rack in the roasting dish. This will allow the heat to circulate and cook meat evenly.

HAVE ME THREE WAYS

There are three different oven temperatures to cook various meat cuts.

– A high oven temperature (220C) suits smaller, first class cuts of meat which are seared then quickly finished in the oven (e.g. lamb rump with cap-on).

– A moderate oven temperature (180C) is ideal for roasting large bone in cuts of meat to roast (e.g. a leg of lamb or standing rib roast).

– A low oven temperature (150C) is best for cooking meat cuts that are rich in connective tissues and require longer, slower cooking times to become tender (e.g. brisket, lamb shank or beef short ribs).

OIL ME UP

Always baste the meat with oil prior to cooking; do not place oil in the cooking facility (oven, pan, grill etc). This will prevent the meat from stewing.

JUST TURN ME OVER ONCE

When searing, panfrying or grilling meat, let bubbles rise to the surface of the meat prior to turning the meat once only, using a pair of tongs. This will ensure meat is cooked evenly on both sides, enhancing tenderness.

DINNER IDEA

LAMB RACK

PAT ME DOWN

If marinating meat, always pat it dry prior to cooking to avoid stewing the meat. With a brush, you can baste the meat with the marinade during the cooking process. Do not pour the entire marinade over the meat, as it will evaporate and dry out the meat.

SALT SECRETS

Salt the meat just prior to cooking, rather than in the marinating process. Never salt your marinade as it will draw the moisture out of the meat while marinating.

FLAVOURSOME FAT

The layer of fat on meat adds flavour, tenderness and keeps the meat moist during the cooking process. The fat can be trimmed back to ½cm. It is best to sear the fat first in a hot pan or grill plate to start the cooking process.

HEAT FOR THOUGHT

There are two main methods used to cook meat, dry heat and moist heat.

– Dry heat methods do not use liquid, but can use fat or oil and suit tender cuts of meat e.g. lamb eyeloin and beef tenderloin. Dry heat methods include roasting, grilling, char-grilling, barbecuing, pan-frying, shallow frying and deep frying.

– Moist heat methods use liquid and are more suited to less tender cuts of meat including e.g. lamb shoulder or beef brisket. Moist heat methods include braising, pot roasting, poaching, simmering, steaming and pressure cooking.

EXPLORE CUTS

BEEF PORTERHOUSE

MARINATE ME

Marinating meat increases tenderness. Acidic marinades such as lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or wine will help to tenderise meat. However, only use a maximum of 1-2 tablespoons of an acidic ingredient per meat portion, otherwise the meat will become dry.

DON’T OVERCROWD ME

It is ideal to cook meat in small batches to avoid overcrowding and stewing.

CUTTING-EDGE CARVING

Always carve meat, both raw and cooked against the grain to ensure that your meat stays tender. For braising or stewing, carving meat against the grain into 2cm cubes will produce tender, braised bite-size pieces.

TONGS ON TREND

Gently press the meat with tongs to test if the meat is cooked; if soft when pressed it is rare, and if firm when pressed, it is well-done. Do not tear or pierce the meat, as it will draw the moisture out of the meat.

I’M BETTER WITH AGE

Ageing of meat breaks muscle fibres down which results in tender meat. This length of time depends on how much connective tissue (fat) the muscle has. For example, muscles with little connective tissue (fat), such as a Porterhouse steak, will age faster compared to meat rich in connective tissue (fat), such as brisket.

Ageing of meat is completed through either “dry” or “wet” methods. Dry ageing refers to a carcass being hung in a cool room for a period of time. It is not a popular method today, however, some of the best butchers still prefer to carry out this method, which enhances the flavour of the meat. Wet ageing involves ageing the meat in a bag or cryovac packaging. In this method, the moisture is retained and flavour is enhanced.

DINNER IDEA

BEEF TENDERLOIN

BON APPETIT

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