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Meat Cooking Methods

 

 

Grilling

 

Grilling means exposing to the dry heat of a preheated grill thick pieces 3 - 6 cm (1 - 2 1/2 inch) of very good quality meat, which have first been rubbed with either oil or butter to prevent them drying out. In the US this is called broiling under a broiler, as opposed to our grilling under a grill.

 

They can be flavoured beforehand by rubbing with pepper, garlic etc., although salt should not be added until halfway through the cooking as it keeps the surface of the meat moist and prevents it from sealing. This means that the juices are lost and the meat will not brown easily. After flavouring, the pieces of meat should first be sealed by searing each side under a hot grill. The heat is then turned down and it finishes cooking more slowly with all its juices sealed inside.

 

Grilled meat is often served with a sauce or a pat of herbed butter, as there is no natural juice or gravy produced by this method of cooking.

 

Grilling over a wood fire

 

Meat grilled over a wood fire is really quite different from anything else. The smoke, of which there should be rather little, since an intense bright fire is the best for grilling, gives a very subtle taste.

 

Oil the well-trimmed meat lightly before grilling. Try not to let too much fat drip into the fire as this may burst into flames and blacken the meat.

 

A sandwich-type grill which encloses the meat, is best for this kind of cooking, since it can be turned without anything dropping into the fire. Clean it immediately after use and keep it well oiled.

 

 

Frying

 

Frying is cooking small pieces of good quality meat in a little fat or oil in a heated shallow pan. Always see that the meat is at room temperature before you start cooking. The pan and the fat must be hot when the meat goes in, so that it is sealed immediately on contact with the heat. As in grilling, salting should be done after the meat has been sealed.

 

The meat can be turned once or twice during cooking, but should not be pierced with a fork, as this will let the juices escape.

 

Do not use too much fat during frying, as this produces a hard crust. Keep a fairly brisk heat going, but do not overheat the pan or the fat will overheat too and burn any loose particles of meat, giving the food a bitter flavour and unpleasant appearance.

 

 

Roasting

 

Roasting in the oven is really baking. The meat, which should be top quality, is cooked in a shallow open tin and basted frequently with hot fat to seal the outside, imprisoning most of the meat juices and preventing it from drying out. Many people like to put meat on a rack to keep it out of the fat in the roasting tin and to turn the meat from time to time as it cooks.

 

Roasting times and temperatures vary according to the quality and type of meat, which should always be at room temperature before going into the oven. Meat should not be seasoned with salt until after roasting, and then again after carving.

 

Allow all roast meat to rest, covered, in a warm place (either on top of the stove or in the oven, turned off and with the door slightly open) for 20-30 minutes before carving. This settling time makes it firmer and easier to carve. Kitchen foil makes a good cover.

 

The juices that collect in the tin, when skimmed of fat, form the basis of the most delicious gravy. The fat (except in the case of lamb fat, which tastes too strong when reheated) can be kept and used for frying potatoes and so forth.

 

To improve the juices for the gravy, some people like to add a glass or two of wine or cider to the fat in the roasting tin half an hour before the end of cooking. Wine or cider can also be used to baste the joint.

 

 

Braising

 

Braising, used for large pieces of medium quality or dry meats, can be done in the oven, or on top of the cooker. The meat, previously browned and sealed, is placed on a rich bed of chopped vegetables, bacon and herbs, which can also be fried and lightly browned in fat beforehand. It is then moistened by pouring in enough liquid - stock, water, wine, cider or beer - to cover the vegetables. A tight lid is put on the pan and it is cooked at a very moderate temperature, perhaps 170 C / 325 F / Gas 3, until tender. This normally takes about 30-35 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 30 minutes over.

 

The meat should be turned and basted once or twice during cooking and seasoned halfway through. Serve with the braising vegetables and the juices skimmed of their fat and reduced a little by boiling.

 

 

Pot-roasting

 

This is cooking a medium quality or dry joint of meat in a tightly covered pan or casserole dish with fat to prevent drying but without liquid. The steam from the cooking meat condenses on the lid and bastes the joint.

 

Pot-roasting is done slowly, or moderately slowly. The meat is sealed and browned before seasoning and before you cover the pot. Turn the joint once or twice. The juices, skimmed of fat, make very good gravy to serve with the meat. This can be stretched by the addition of wine or stock shortly before the end of cooking time.

 

 

Stewing

 

Stewing consists of cooking the tougher cuts of meat slowly and long in liquid, either water or stock with wine, beer or cider, or whatever the recipe specifies, to break down tough fibres and connective tissues. To improve the flavour of the meat, onions, garlic, carrots and other vegetables, herbs, spices and seasonings are added.

 

The meat to be stewed must be carefully trimmed and cut into smallish pieces - this helps the cooking process. It can then be fried and sealed, or left plain, depending on whether you want to have the juices from the meat completely mingled with the gravy or not.

 

The cooking liquid can be thickened with flour. In Britain this is normally done by frying the meat with flour and then adding the liquid. Some stews are not thickened, in which case some form of starchy vegetable, such as boiled potatoes, is necessary to mop up the gravy. These are very often placed on top of the stew where they absorb any fat that rises. Hot pot is a good example.

 

Stew generally takes from 1 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours, according to the quality of the meat and the oven is always kept very low, or the meat will shrink, 140-150 C / 275-300 F / Gas 1-2.

 

 

Boiling

 

Boiling is used for large joints of medium-quality meat, either fresh or salt. However, boiling is really a misnomer, since the meat should actually be simmered very gently and steadily throughout the cooking and never boiled. The liquid is normally flavoured with vegetables, spices and herbs, but not seasoned with salt until halfway through the cooking, or not at all, in the case of salted meat (which may need soaking before cooking starts).

 

There are two schools of thought about boiling: the meat can either be started in cold water and brought to the boil, or plunged straight into boiling water or stock. The first method is the more traditional one, but means that you must skim very carefully for the first half hour as masses of scum will rise. Then cover the pan and keep the heat fairly low so that the waters simmer steadily. This method gives you a very good rich broth. With the second method, plunging into already boiling water or stock, most of the flavour remains trapped inside the meat. Either way the meat absorbs some of the flavour from the liquid and gives some of its own flavour in return.

 

The liquid must only simmer. As a rule allow 20 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 20 minutes over for large pieces of meat over 3.6 kg (8 lb), 30 minutes per 450g (1 lb) and 30 minutes over for smaller joints.

 

Of the vegetables chosen for flavourings, probably carrots, leeks and onions, with a little turnip, swede or celery, are the most usual. Parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns are also good flavourings for boiled meat, notably beef

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking times for Meat and Poultry
Meat Cooking time /kg Starting Temp Accompaniment
Beef

15 mins per kg

+ 15 mins over

230c 250c

Yorkshire pudding

Gravy

Watercress

Horseradish sauce

Lamb

20 mins per kg

+ 20 mins over

230c   250c

Gravy

Watercress

Mint sauce

Redcurrant Jelly

Pork

25 mins per kg

+ 25 mins over

230c   250c

Gravy

Watercress

Apple Sauce

Sage and Onion Stuffing

Chicken

20 25 mins per kg

200c   230c

Gravy

Watercress

Bread Sauce

Game Chips

Turkey

15 20 mins per kg

200c   230c

Gravy

Watercress

Chipolata Sausages

Cranberry Sauce

Bacon rolls

Game

12 20 mins per kg

200c  230c

 
Goat

25 30  mins per kg 

180c   - 200c