Working with Meat

 

Not sure how to handle the meat you're working with? Read through these tips to figure out your next cooking project.

Never use the same plate to carry cooked food back that you had raw meat on. If you do, your chicken could become contaminated with bacteria from the raw meat. The same goes for your utensils. Use clean plates and utensils after you remove cooked foods from the heat, and wash your hands often while you're working with raw meats.

If you're marinating meat that will be cooked in a couple of hours, don't leave it out on the counter! Always put marinating meat in the refrigerator to keep bacteria from multiplying. Also, never reuse marinade after it's been on raw meat or fish or you risk cross contamination of your food.

Does your roast or chicken stick to the pan you're cooking it in? Stop your meats from sticking by adding a few stalks of fresh celery to the dish before putting it in the oven. The celery will lend a bit of flavor and make cleaning up a breeze.

After you brush your meat with a sauce, you're ready to truss it. Why isn't there ever clean string to use when you need it? Grab some dental floss instead. Dental floss is the best material to use for trussing up meat to be grilled or roasted. It's strong enough to do the job, and it won't burn during the cooking process. Plus, it comes in a handy little dispenser. What more could you ask for? (Make sure you buy a non-flavored variety—you probably don't want the added cinnamon or mint with your meal.)

Do you find that inexpensive stew meat or stewing steak becomes tough after you cook it? Try one of these tips to keep the meat tender.

  • Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water while boiling your stew meat. Vinegar will tenderize even the toughest meat so that you can cut it with a fork.
  • Cut a kiwi into small pieces and add it to your stew. That little green fruit contains an enzyme called actinidin, which breaks down the tough meat, and kiwi gives an interesting flavor to your recipe.

Be very careful with any meat recipe that calls for pineapple. There is an enzyme in fresh pineapple that will make your meat fall apart if it's on too long—canned pineapple doesn't generally contain the enzyme. Your meal will be most stable if you add the pineapple just before serving.

If you like to make your own gravy, soups, or broths but hate the slow process of separating the fat from the meat juice, simply strain it through a paper coffee filter. You'll be left with natural, flavorful, fat-free broth.

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