The term meat is applied to the flesh of beef ,pork,mutton and lamb.The chief nutritional significance of meat is as a source of protein.
Meat generally consist of more connective tissues than other forms of flesh that is chicken and many kinds of fish.The texture and amount of connective tissues vary between animals and even in different parts of the same animal.The connective tissues holds together and connects the muscles,fat cells and fibers and other constituents of the flesh.When this connective tissue is destroyed or weakened,the meat becomes tender.
Meat is highly perishable and requires refrigeration.Low temperatures retard to kill bacterial action and minimize spoilage meats are aged or ripened before purchase.The term ageing is applied to the changes which occurs in meats due to the action of the enzymes (body chemicals) while the meats hang in cold storage. Ageing meats improve their tenderness and flavor.
When meats are over aged or over ripened they begin to spoil and become discolored,moldy and slimy. They develop an off flavor and odor and are no longer suitable for service.
We cook meat in order to sterilize it,make it more palatable,improves its appearance and supply a valuable nutritional need.
Ways To Cook Meat
There are two basic ways to cook meat.Meat may be cooked by dry heat and by moist heat.Each of these ways has modifications that give a variety of meat cooking procedures.
The methods of procedure to be used depends on the kind of meat;the quality and grade ;and the cut.
Under the moist heat method are (1) steaming,(2) boiling (3)poaching
Dry heat methods include (1) Roasting or baking (2) sauteing (3) Pan frying.Combinations of the two methods,dry heat and and moist heat,include (1) braising and (2)stewing the meat.
Deep fat frying is considered as a separate area however although some foods are deep fat fried from the raw stage,others are put through one or more of the previously mentioned cooking methods before they are deep fat fried.Deep fat frying is a popular way to use leftover If the leftovers are wholesome foods they may either be combined with different foods or converted to present new products.There is usually some type of breading used with fried foods that aids in sealing the product.The sealing of the product help to protect the foods from excessive grease absorption and to give it a crisp,palatable coating.
Moist Heat Combinations
In general the moist heat methods or combinations are applied to the more economical cuts of meat.These meats are tougher and requires moist heat to break down the connective tissues and make them tender.There are market tenderizing agents made from papaya juice and other ingredients containing enzymes that break down the connective tissue.These are used to a great extent in commercial feeding operations with low menu prices.While these low cost meats are satisfactory for such menus.It must be remembered that there is no substitute for quality.
Steaming is not used to a a great degree in meat cookery except in combination with other methods,although some steaming is done in institutional operations .In steaming a smaller amount of liquid is used than in boiling.Steaming may be done in covered pot on the range.
Boiling is the moist heat methods of cookery method used extensively for less tender cuts of meat.Boiling is recognized and accepted terminology,but should be amended to mean simmering.Meat should not be boiled,but simmered to retain its full nutritive value and to keep it from getting stingy.With the exception of salted or smoked meats,most other meats should be placed in a stockpot in boiling water (212 degree F).Cold water aids in extracting flavor and juice and is used principally in the making of stocks.
The temperature of the water or the stock will be lowered when the meat is added.When the boiling temperature is again reached,the stock should be skimmed to remove any scum and the heat reduced or the pot moved to a part of the range where it will simmer and not boil.Remember that vigorous boiling will produce cloudy stock and increase shrinkage of the meat.
If different Quality or different size cuts are cooked in the same pot,butchers twine is sometimes tied to the smaller or more tender cuts so that they may be easily checked during the cooking process and removed when cooked.
After simmered meat have become tender,it may be held on the steamable for the future service.Meat so held should either be stored in liquid or wrapped with clean wet towels so that it does not dry out in the heat of the steamable.
Meats to be served cold,such as corned beef may be cooked and pressed in a pan with a heavy weight on the top.The weight compress the meat which aids in slicing and produces greater yield.All meats excluding the poultry are sliced across the grain.
Many boiled meats because of their bland flavor are served with tangy and savory sauces to increase their palatability and make them more appetizing..The following are the examples of the meats that are at their best when broiled or simmered.
fresh brisket of beef
corned brisket of beef
Ham,cured or smoked
Short ribs of beef
Ox tongue,smoked or cured
shoulder or breast of veal
Smoked Pork Butt or picnic
Fresh shoulder of beef
Poaching is simmering process that takes place in a small amount of water.The stock or water in which the poaching is done barely bubbles.This process is used primarily with specialty items and the variety meats such as sweetbreads,brains and kidneys.
In the poaching process,items are seldom cooked well done.Poaching helps them to set or hold their shape.;makes it easy to remove tough tissues or membranes.and prepares them for final cooking procedures such as sauteing or boiling.Poaching also extends keeping qualities as in variety meats which are highly perishable when raw.The poaching of kidneys also extracts the strong odor that sometimes prevails and makes them more appetizing.
Dry Heat Methods
Dry heat methods are intended for the better cuts of meat that have little connective tissues and have become readily tender when cooked.The two methods are not interchangeable as the economical cuts of the meat are never at their best when cooked by dry heat.On the other hand it is waste of money and food to cook tender cuts by any moist heat methods .The exception to this rule are extremely rare,although some of the less tender cuts,such as chuck or bot to round are often ground as (hamburger) and then cooked by the dry heat method (either grilling or broiling)
To saute is to fry lightly and quickly in a small amount of fat.Only tender cuts are used for this method.Its use is usually restricted to thin cuts of meat that do not require extensive cooking.The smaller and thinner the cut ,the more rapidly the searing and cooking should take place.When blood rises and appears on the surface the meat should be turned over and cooked on the other side.If the product is breaded ,it should be turned when the underside is golden brown.
The utensil used for sauteing should have a heavy bottom and be just large enough to hold the product to be cooked.
Nearly all sauteing of meat is done uncovered.
Many of the sauteed meats are served with sauces made from the crust that coat the bottom of the pan in which the meat have been cooked.The excess fat is poured off and the meats removed and held in a warm place until services.
The utensil is then deglazed by scrapping and swishing it with wine or stock with the resulting liquid or fond allowed to boil until the remaining crusts have been entirely dissolved.A prepared sauce or gravy is is sometimes added and it may be further seasoned to produce the desired flavor.The sauce which is usually of light consistency may be poured over the meat and served separately with an appropriate garnish.
examples of meats to be sauteed are;
Scalloping of veal,chausseur
Tenderloin tips,mushroom sauce
Pork tenderloin,saute normand
Pan frying differs from sauteing principally in the amount of fat used in frying.Considerably more fat is used in frying.This prevents the formation of crusting on the bottom of the pan.
Pan frying is used extensively in cooking poultry and some fish.Products that require a longer cooking time are first browned in a pan on the top of the range until they acquire a golden brown colour and then finished with lower colour and then finished with lower heat,uncovered in a slow or moderate oven.
Roasting Or Baking
The term roasting was originally applied to the large pieces of meats over an open fire.The meats were spitted or held over the fire by rods inserted in the ends of the meat or entirely through the body cavity.The splits were held in place by forked sticks and turned by hand to cook the meat uniformly.
This type of cooking is now referred to as open roasting or barbecuing.Marinades or liquid in which meat is soaked prior to cooking play an important role in barbecued foods.Spicy sauces quite often accompany food prepared in this manner.
As now used, the terms roasting and baking refers to cooking uncovered in the oven with little or no added liquid.
Meat to be roasted is usually placed fat side up in a shallow roasting pan that most nearly approximates the size of the roast.The roast should not be covered .
Cooking meats at at low temperatures ;instead of high temperatures;instead of high temperatures results in ;(1) a more tender products,(2)a more flavorful and juiceful product,(3) less shrinkage (3)greater yields ,because of the ease of carving.There is less watching of the meat cooking,less cleaning afterwards,since there is no burning on the pans and equipment and less fuel is consumed when constant low temperatures are used.
The old method of starting a roast at high temperatures to sear the meat and then reducing the temperatures has been corrected.It has been found that a constant temperature produces the best product if the oven is properly preheated.
The fat content of the meat will determine whether additional fats or oils are necessary to prevent burning.Extreme lean cuts are sometimes barded or larded to permit proper cooking and to give additional flavor.(larding is insertion of strips of salt pork along the surface of the of the meat. Barding is covering lean meat with thin slices of fat bacon or salt pork.
Roasts are sometimes seasoned with spices ,herbs,salt,pepper and minute silvers of garlic.Meats are usually salted on the fat side as excess of salt tend to draw the moisture out on exposed or very lean surfaces ,making the cooked meat dry.
A mirepoix consisting of carrots ,onions and salary is usually added to meat either at the beginning or during the roasting period depending on the length of the cooking time Fresh vegetables must be used in the mirepoix to obtain good gravy. Each gravy should be derived from the meat with which it is associated.Roast beef is generally served with natural gravy called “au jus naturel”
Roasting temperatures vary from 250° F to 375 °F,although there may be exceptions, large cuts of meat such as steamship rounds varying from 50 to 70 pounds ,are roasted for longer periods at extremely low temperatures.A 50 lb steamship round may cook approximately six hours to six and a half hours at 300° F.
Meats placed in the oven fat side up are in some measures self basting or moistened by their own fat.Further occasional basting may be necessary to prevent dryness.The back or rear of the oven is usually slightly hotter than the front because there is some heat loss at the oven door.It is sometimes necessary to change the position of the meat during the roasting period to insure the uniform cooking.
Determining Doneness Of Meat
The degree of the doneness of the meat influences shrinkage.As the doneness is increased the shrinkage is increased by extraction of of moisture.Pork must be well done to kill the trichina parasite but unduly overcooking it results in a dried out products with a high degree of shrinkage.When cooked to the correct degree of doneness ,roasts are juicier,give more flavor and yield.
Degree of doneness may be determined by (1 )time weight ratio (2 )insertion of needles (3) Applying light pressure with the fingers (4) Meat thermometer.
In the time weight ratio,a specific number of minutes of cooking time is allowed for each pound of meat.Insertion of needles is used to test the internal temperatures of the meat by placing the withdrawn metal against the cheek or other sensitive skin area.The degree of heat transmitted from the meat to the needle aids in determining the degree of doneness.The meat should not be pierced by heavy forks or tested constantly as these procedures result in the bleeding and loss of moisture.
The meat may also be tested by applying light pressure with the fingers to the middle or largest portion of the meat.The springier or more yielding the meat,the lesser the degree of doneness.The less yielding or the firmer the flesh,the greater degree of doneness.However the texture of some meats vary.A roast may sometimes feel undercooked,although it is actually because of the peculiar quality occasionally found in the meat.The characteristics of different cuts of the meat at different times,as well as the humans trait of error,have encouraged the search for a more accurate means of determining doneness.
When properly used a meat thermometer that registers the internal temperature of the meat is the most accurate means of determining doneness.The thermometer should be inserted in the thickest portion of the meat away from bones or fat pockets with the tip penetrating just to the middle.
Broiling And Grilling
Broiling is a popular method of dry heat cookery which is done by dry heat ,very hot coals,such as charcoal and briquets or under gas flame or electric units .Some electric units also have heating elements on the sides.
The intense heat used in broiling forces the blood in the meat away from the source of heat.The meat should be turned during the cooking process so that both sides will be equally done.
Only tender cuts should be used for broiling .All broiling should be done to order when possible and the meat cooked to the degree of doneness specified by the guest.
For banquet of large parties meat is often broiled a few minutes ahead to facilitate service.The meat is broiled very rare and removed from the heat.It is placed in the pan and reserved until services time when it is finished in the oven or preferably under the broiler.
Care must be taken not to overcook the food in the broiler as they lose natural flavors,juices and nutritive value.The broiler should be preheated before cooking time.If using gas the broiler should be heated until the ceramics (the brick-type elements over the grill) are radiating heat.If using electricity the reflector plates should be radiating full heat.Charcoal or briquits should be burned to glowing coals.
The intense heat of the broiler rack or grill rack will help to prevent sticking.Nearness of the broiler rack or grill will help to prevent sticking .Nearness of the broiler racks to the heat determines the cooking time of the products.
The proper location of the broiler rack or grill rack will help to prevent sticking.Nearness of the broiler rack to the heat determines the cooking time of the product.Most foods are brushed with or dipped in unseasoned oil or other suitable fat before being placed on the rack.The oil prevents sticking and affords protection to the meat .It aids in retarding the dryness and cracking and help to give the surface of the products good color.
Food less than moderate fat are not desirable for broiling since they tend to dry out.When very lean foods are used,fat supplement is advisable.