Best ways of cooking meat

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 09, 2011 1:49 PM GMT
    OK I'm tired of eating overcooked/dry meat, usually the center will be fine but most of the outside is tough and dry and putting tons of sauce on top is not really an option.

    Anyone have any suggestions for cooking chicken breasts both individual and then a bunch at a time since I have to make meals in advance too. A lot of times the chicken dries out fast in the fridge too so after a day it becomes inedible and I end up throwing it out.

    Also what about beef? I personally like it in between medium-rare and medium. Even on low heat I burn the outside whilst the middle looks raw as hell haha. Maybe my stove and pans suck haha.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 09, 2011 2:36 PM GMT
    You're probably cooking it at too high a heat and for too long. You want to cook meat fairly slowly to bring the temperature in the middle to the right point without overdoing the outside. Unless you're searing it, in which case, short time on high heat on each side but then turn the heat way down to slow cook the middle. Also, grilled meat should rest for about 15 minutes after you take it off before you eat it. That allows the juices to reabsorb and not bleed out when you cut it. The meat keeps cooking during resting so take it off before you think it is done completely. If you're having trouble, a meat thermometer isn't a bad idea until you get the hang of it.

    Good luck.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 09, 2011 2:43 PM GMT
    I agree that you are cooking on too high of a heat. If you are cooking stovetop, try a different type of frying pan. I use cast iron for ALL my cooking.

    Leaner meats will cook and dry out much quicker than other meats. Therefore, the leaner the meat is the lower the temperature needs to be and with leaner meats, the cooking time is much shorter.

    Try cooking meat different ways.... Grilling, frying, baking, broiling, etc.....

    Broiling is a great way to cook meats that people used to do much more of. Today, very few people use a broiler or even know what a broiler is. lol
  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Dec 09, 2011 2:44 PM GMT
    Get a good digital meat thermometer so you can actually quantify what you're doing. You can figure out the perfect temperature of the center of the meat for your tastes.

    For chicken, roast them whole. It's cheaper and tastier. Then you have plenty of leftovers for subsequent meals.

    For cuts of beef, depends on the cut. If it's thick then sear it on the stove top in an oven proof pan and finish it in the oven.
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    Dec 09, 2011 2:45 PM GMT
    Another hint: With red meat (not with poultry), be sure to take it out of the refrigerator 20 or 30 minutes before cooking, so the outside isn't stone cold when you start to cook it. Will help it to cook through evenly.

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    Dec 09, 2011 2:51 PM GMT
    Personally I don't take chances with chicken and don,t mind risking overcooking.

    With steak the general rule I use is cook is

    -medium heat,
    -cook on one side till blood appears and pools on the topside
    -flip once
    -cook till blood appears on that side
    -done

    -Don't flip the steak multiple times
    -Never press the steak with a spatula into the pan
    -Refrain from making incisions into the steak to check if it's done

    Mmm, all this talk of steak has me salivating.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 09, 2011 3:32 PM GMT
    Pour a bit of water on the bottom of the pan or cooking container and cover it before baking it at 350 degrees for 30-60 min so that the chicken stays remotely moist and juicy.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 09, 2011 3:35 PM GMT
    I don't cook it on high just slightly over medium then with chicken I cover it with something hoping it'll cook more evenly maybe that's my problem?

    How low a heat are we talking?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 09, 2011 3:49 PM GMT
    if you are not so concerned about taste and want function as protein, you can always just boil your chicken in a big pan for about 30- 40 minutes and its not as dry. Use the thin sliced as they taste better. It will come out moist yet just unseasoned chicken but you can always dip in it mustard or cut it up and put it in a salad with some dressing.

    You can make alot and then put in the fridge, even chop it up as chicken salad. I love me some boiled chicken.
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Dec 09, 2011 4:04 PM GMT
    UofMGrad saidOK I'm tired of eating overcooked/dry meat, usually the center will be fine but most of the outside is tough and dry and putting tons of sauce on top is not really an option.

    Anyone have any suggestions for cooking chicken breasts both individual and then a bunch at a time since I have to make meals in advance too. A lot of times the chicken dries out fast in the fridge too so after a day it becomes inedible and I end up throwing it out.

    Also what about beef? I personally like it in between medium-rare and medium. Even on low heat I burn the outside whilst the middle looks raw as hell haha. Maybe my stove and pans suck haha.
    Well it sounds like you have to learn how to cook your food. If I were you I would buy a foreman grill. I think it will help you with your dry meat problem. I was going to suggest grilling your food but if you are having problems cooking it using the stove than I will not suggest grilling. What kind of stove do you have? Do you have a gas or electric stove?
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Dec 09, 2011 5:26 PM GMT
    aside from the suggestions given, you could always just cook with thinner cuts of meat... or get a sous vide machine
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 09, 2011 5:37 PM GMT
    George Foreman Grill.

    *pauses while people laugh historically*

    But for serious, I have yet to 'meat' a slab of meat I can't grill on that thing to perfection.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 09, 2011 5:38 PM GMT
    calibro saidaside from the suggestions given, you could always just cook with thinner cuts of meat... or get a sous vide machine


    Yeah if you want to start cooking your food 3 days in advance.

    There's the Crock-pot: aka slow cooker...

    then there's the sous-vide...
  • dancedancekj

    Posts: 1761

    Dec 09, 2011 7:16 PM GMT
    I like to toss my chicken in the slow cooker. You could also try brining your chicken before you cook it...
  • jim_sf

    Posts: 2094

    Dec 09, 2011 7:26 PM GMT
    dancedancekj saidYou could also try brining your chicken before you cook it...


    THIS. A HUNDRED TIMES THIS.

    Brining is almost too simple, but it gives fantastic results. Just soak the meat in saltwater before cooking, and it will turn out juicy, while being more forgiving of cooking errors.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 09, 2011 7:27 PM GMT
    For chicken that isn't dry, I like to use those McCormick's packages where you have a bag and the seasonings. You place three or four breasts in the bag, coated with the seasonings. Then you place the bag in a glass pan - and close the bag. You punch a few fork holes in the top. Bake at 350 for an hour. No mess in your oven. You have great chicken and a sauce in the bottom of the bag to spoon over each breast. Not messy and not dry. Serve with rice or potatoes and a vegetable.

    For beef, I prefer to cook outside. I like filet mignon because there is so little fat and no bone to cut around. I just butter each side lightly - and cook outside. Varying temps and gas vs. charcoal - everyone has their preference.

    Salmon is something I also do outside. I use lemon juice and wrap the piece in foil - making a little tent on the top. So easy - so clean - and very good.

    icon_cool.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 10, 2011 4:42 AM GMT
    Try baking your chicken breasts in the oven. Make little foil pods, place some veggies on the bottom, lay the breast on top, add some seasoning, pinch it shut.. but leave a little opening so the steam can escape.

    It's been a while since I baked chicken like that, but if I recall, you want to bake it at 450 for about 15 minutes. Make sure you preheat the oven though.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Dec 10, 2011 6:13 AM GMT
    Jeandeau said
    calibro saidaside from the suggestions given, you could always just cook with thinner cuts of meat... or get a sous vide machine


    Yeah if you want to start cooking your food 3 days in advance.

    There's the Crock-pot: aka slow cooker...

    then there's the sous-vide...



    depends on what you're cooking, but if it's good for joel robuchon it's good for me
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    Dec 10, 2011 6:50 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidI use a pressure cooker and my chicken is perfect from the freezer to juicy in about five and a half minutes.

    Once the pressure valve activates it takes less than six minutes to cook frozen chicken to chicken that is more juicy than anything I've ever made using other methods.

    I use a Presto pressure cooker eight quart sized cooker.

    I do have to warn that after having it for eighteen months that the seal ring now needs replacing. But that is only $9 or so. I just need to buy a couple and have them on hand.

    I cook chopped up sweet potatoes in three minutes, frozen broccoli in two minutes. I can't promote a good pressure cooker enough. Saves time, resources and the food tastes great.


    reminds me of being a kid...the old man pressure cooked the livin shit out of everything.... the sound of one drives me nuts...and the thought of that bland, pasty pale food.... YUMMM... LOL... although, im sure yours is way better,,,,
    cast iron for eveything....
  • johndubuque

    Posts: 319

    Dec 10, 2011 7:01 AM GMT
    With lean meats I've had the best results marinating it for three or four hours before cooking it.
    One problem is that most chicken and pork these days comes from factory farms (many from my own state of Iowa) and is bred for fast growth rather than flavor.
    You can try using "free range" animals, which might have been raised on a more diverse diet than factory farm animals. But the term "free range" can be meaningless...the USDA allows the term "free range" to be used for any animal that has access to the outdoors, however limited.
    Either get your meat from a local producer you know, or do some marinating to add flavor.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 10, 2011 7:07 AM GMT
    it really depends on the cut of beef as 2 cooking methods. check out America's Test Kitchen's website 4 recipes:

    http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/index.php?recipes=Meat

    have u tried cutting the chicken breasts into strips? that way u can cook a lot (in batches), use some immediately, and freeze the rest in individual portions 4 later use.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 10, 2011 10:23 AM GMT
    Buy a rotisserie to cook chicken.

    Best chicken you will ever have... trust me

  • Twenty_Someth...

    Posts: 1388

    Dec 10, 2011 10:32 AM GMT
    I cook them in olive oil on the pan for 5 minutes on each side with some seasonings and a little balsamic vinegar. Then I throw them in the oven at 350 for another 10 minutes after that. They always come out juicy on the inside, and seared on the outside. I add sun dried tomato and some aged parmigiana cheese to melt together over the top too! (Not until they're in the oven though)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 13, 2011 3:03 PM GMT
    Chicken breast is a drier cut of poultry - it doesn't contain a lot of fat, which makes it good - but also drier.

    I barbecue chicken breasts - but I cut them through the middle so they're thinner "slices" or fillets. "Butterflied"

    Allow the chicken breasts to come to room temperature- rubbed with a little oil - seasoned lightly and , place onto a hot barbecue plate or grill, given around 4 minutes a side, turn once only. Rest it for about 4 minutes under tin foil

    If done right, the chicken will have been sealed on the down side and retain juice, but not be red inside - a little pink isn't so bad but to be safe you will need to experiment to determine how hot you need your barbecue for the thickness of chicken.

    Some cuts of Steak can be drier than others, I prefer a scotch fillet when cooking steak as it usually has some fat, which helps to keep the meat moist.

    Allow the meat to come to room temperature, rub with a little oil and season to taste.

    Put the steak on a hot bbq plate or grill, you should be able to see the meat cook on the bottom, once it's around 1/3 of the thickness cooked, turn it once.

    Cooked steak will spring back more from a prod with tongs, rarer meat less so.

    Once cooked for around the same amount of time on the second side, take off the heat and place on a plate and cover with tinfoil to rest for the same amount of time

    Resting meat allows the clenched up tissues within the meat to relax again, and makes the meat more tender....

    All the best.
  • buckled

    Posts: 165

    Dec 13, 2011 3:07 PM GMT
    Jeandeau saidGeorge Foreman Grill.

    *pauses while people laugh historically*

    But for serious, I have yet to 'meat' a slab of meat I can't grill on that thing to perfection.


    Win. I eat grilled chicken 2x a day, every day... best thing I learned was to cut up the chicken into tenders and then grill it... cooks faster / leaves them juicier than cooking an entire breast.

    Edit: I work full time / school.. so time is a huge constraint.. sometimes I'll do it right but usually I just throw some pepper on it and I have a meal in ~5 min...