Human beings discovered the benefits of cooking meat eons ago. Heat destroys
harmful bacteria, causes physical and chemical changes and brings out
the natural flavor of the meat. However, there is much more to cooking
meat than simply the application of heat. Venison should not be cooked
the same way as fish; a rump roast should not be cooked the same as a
flank steak. There are many different ways to cook meat, and the method
should be determined by the type of meat, its cut, its condition and the
When meat and fish are fresh and tender, broiling is one of the best
cooking methods. The main goal of broiling is to seal the outside of the
meat quickly to prevent juices from escaping. The broiler or oven should
be preheated to the highest temperature possible before placing the meat
or fish under it. Broiler trays should be placed as close to the heat
as possible, at least until both sides of the meat are browned.
The intense heat may have a drying effect, which can be counteracted
by brushing the food with butter. This will also flavor it.
Spraying the broiling pan lightly with an oil such as Pam will make handling
and cleaning easier. Top...
Much of the same technique that applies to broiling also applies to grilling,
except grilling is done on a barbecue grill or over an open fire. The
important thing is for the temperature to be hot enough to sear both sides
of the meat. Once this is accomplished, the heat should be lowered to
finish the cooking process.
Try to limit the number of times you flip the meat, and try not to cut
it to see if it is done; instead, use a thermometer to determine the meat’s
internal temperature. This is especially important for ground meat, which
should be cooked to 160 F throughout to kill bacteria. Thinner patties
will cook faster, but don’t try to flatten them on the grill –
the uncooked meat will squeeze between the bars and may get cut off by
the spatula. Top...
Roasting is the best method for larger cuts of tender meat, fish and
fowl. Roasting is cooking in an oven without any liquid other than fat.
Meat being roasted without the benefit of a spit should be basted a few
times during the cooking process to enhance the flavor and to prevent
the top part of the meat from drying out. Game is normally very lean and
should be barded or larded when roasting. Barding means to tie pieces
of fat around the meat; larding means to insert the fat into meat with
a knife. Bacon usually works well using both methods, and the flavor compliments
Cuts of meat that may bleed, like moose or venison, should be browned
all over in a hot pan to prevent juices from escaping.
Game birds, including wild turkeys, should also be barded and a very moist
stuffing, like those made with sausage, should be used. I usually insert
butter just under the bird’s skin to help moisten the bird. Cooking
the birds and turkeys upside down for most of the cooking time will also
help. About a half hour before the bird is to be taken out, turn the bird
over so that the skin will brown up. Top...
Shallow Frying (Pan Frying)
During shallow frying, tender cuts of meat are treated with intense heat
for a brief time period. This method is great for frog legs, thin pan
steaks, liver and other suitable cuts.
Meat should be in oil no more then a fourth of the depth of the pan.
It is important to note that the type of oil used will partially determine
the flavor of the finished product. Different oils also have different
smoking temperatures. It is a good idea to learn about the different kinds
of oil so that the best kind can be used for the task at hand. Peanut
oil has one of the highest flash points and quite a nice flavor. Top...
Sautéing comes from the French word that means jumping or tossing
and is basically the same as shallow frying except that less oil is used.
The fry pan will only have about 1 tablespoon of oil in it. A lot of recipes
– for example, those for stews – will call for the meat to be
sautéed before it is cooked further. Top...
Deep-frying is a fast process where, as the term suggests, the meat is
totally submerged in hot oil. Once again, as in shallow frying, the type
of oil used will make a difference in the final product. When deep-frying,
it is important to keep the temperature at the desired level. If the temperature
is too low the meat will absorb a lot of oil, resulting in a greasy meal.
If the temperature is too high the meat will burn. Make sure the oil is
up to temperature when you start to cook and goes back up to temperature
after you add the meat.
Sealing the meat is very important when deep-frying; a seasoned crumb
coat or batter is an excellent choice. This not only enhances the flavor,
it also seals in the juices and stops the oil from spattering. Make sure
to drain the final product to maintain the crispness. Top...
In baking, tougher cuts of meat are cooked slowly in an oven at controlled,
moderate temperatures to ensure even cooking. Meats are usually baked
in one of two ways: pot-roasting or braising. Top...
Pot-Roasting – Pot-roasting is a combination
of frying and baking. The meat is first browned all over (seared) in fat.
The fat adds flavor, and the searing keeps the juices from escaping the
meat. Searing will also give the impression that the meat was roasted.
When pot-roasting, it is normal to add vegetables and a little liquid
and cook until everything is tender. Top...
Braising – Braising is slow cooking
on a bed of chopped vegetables in a covered pan. Little or no liquid is
added, since the meat cooks in its own juices and the steam from the vegetables.
This is probably not the best cooking method for game, as game is too
lean to produce enough juices. However, the method works well for fish. Top...
Steaming is cooking food in hot vapor instead of liquid. It is a great
way to cook without the addition of fat or salt, and yet the food remains
very flavorful. The food also keeps most of its nutrients. Steaming is
useful for food that tends to break up when cooking, as many vegetables
Poaching and Stewing
These two terms are often substituted for each other, as they both refer
to cooking slowly and gently in a liquid. Food that is being poached is
usually completely immersed in liquid at a temperature just below the
boiling point. In stewing, the meat is only partially immersed in liquid
and then covered with a lid. Both methods can be used on the stovetop
or in the oven. Top...