(Meat Shown Here is 2nd Cut Brisket with an Apricot Leek Sauce)
The month of September is a month full of Jewish Holidays. With that comes menu planning, shopping and lots of cooking. In my opinion, a piece of meat cooked to perfection is an essential part of every holiday meal and the best thing about it is that anybody can do it!
Cooking Meat Perfectly:
My ultimate goal in preparing a meat dish is getting it nice and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. There are many methods of cooking meat- grilling, broiling, searing and even slow cooking in a crock pot. My proffered method with most meats is searing and then cooking in the oven. Here are some of my tips and tricks when it comes to getting your meat cooked best. From steaks to roasts you will wow your guests for sure!
1) Start with a piece of meat that has already been trimmed and prepared by the butcher- it will save you alot of time in preparation. Keep in mind that some meats are especially salty naturally- skirt steak is a good example. In this case you will want to soak it in some water for up to an hour pouring out the water and filling it back up every 20 minutes or so, this will aid in removing some of that saltiness.
2) Rinse the meat and pat it dry. Then put it in a container with a lid after coating it completely in the sauce it will be cooking in. Place it in the refrigerator to marinate for an hour at the very least to overnight at best. A homemade sauces should be your first choice but if you are very short on time, there are plenty of great store bought sauces available at groceries.
3) Rub the piece(s) of meat with a little salt and pepper or a steak spice/rub of choice to ensure it is very flavorful later on.
4) Heat an inch of oil in an ovenproof skillet on the stove top over a low flame for a few minutes until it is sizzling. If you will be cooking more then one piece of meat then do this step with one piece at a time to avoid overcrowding which can cause overcooking or under cooking. Once the oil is heated, add your meat to the pan to begin searing. Sear it for 3-5 minutes on each side. This not only looks good but adds plenty of flavor. Resist the temptation to move the meat around as it's contact with the pan is what creates that desirable crust.
5) Carefully remove the piece(s) of meat from the saute' pan to a large oven proof roasting pan. If you plan on cooking it with a sauce, now is the time to pour it over each piece of meat. Most recipes that you follow will tell you exactly what temperature to cook it on and for how long. Be sure to go according to that as each cut of meat can be different. The recommended time and temperature may be anywhere from 200-500 degrees and from 1 hour- 6 hours depending on the cut and specific method of cooking. In most cases the longer it is cooked, the softer it becomes.6) As it is cooking you will want to flip the meat over and baste it with the sauce every 15-20 minutes- this technique will keep the natural moisture locked in and get it to that perfectly soft desirable finish.
7) Using a meat thermometer to check the done-ness of your meat is a fantastic way of being sure that it is cooked exactly as you expected.
8) Let your meat rest and cool a bit before slicing it.
9) Slice the meat against the grain. Meat is made up of long muscle fibers that are laid out parallel to one another.The goal is to shorten those muscle fibers as much as possible with the help of a sharp knife which makes chewing the meat alot easier.
Those are my tips and tricks for cooking a piece of meat to perfection!
Good luck with all of the upcoming cooking, baking and holiday preparations!
Do you have some tips and tricks that you find helpful when you are cooking meat? Please leave all of your comments and
suggestions below- I love to hear new ideas that make my life easier in the kitchen and I'm sure it will be helpful to others!