Category: Meat / Poultry

Grilled Pork Medallions with Fig Sauce

I love figs and pork. Walking through Stew Leonard’s the other day I saw a crate with 24 lovely purple figs. Along with the figs, I bought pork tenderloin and made Grilled Pork Medallions with Fig Sauce.

Method

Preheat the grill.

Remove the small tail. Cut the pork in half and each of the two pieces in half.

Stand each piece of pork cut side down on the board, cover the top with plastic wrap and using a meat mallet or heavy-bottomed pan, pound the meat to a one-inch thickness. Place on a tray.

If you want to use the tail, pound it on the uncut side to a one-inch thickness. Otherwise, freeze and save for another purpose, such as a stew or for grinding.

Season each medallion with salt and pepper on both sides.

Remove the tops from the figs and discard. Chop the four ripest figs in to small pieces. Slice eight figs into quarters.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Stir in the onions and garlic and sweat for three minutes, or until the onions have softened.

Add the wine, bring to boil and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the figs, chicken stock, sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, grill the pork over high heat for about 4 minutes per side, turning halfway through to get the grill marks.

Remove from the heat and let sit, lightly covered, on the serving platter for four minutes.

Sauce the medallions and serve or serve the sauce on the side.

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Grilled Pork Medallions with Fig Sauce

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Grilling

Ingredients

Scale

1 whole pork tenderloin
12 fresh figs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock, preferably unsalted*
2 sprigs of fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the grill.

Remove the small tail. Cut the pork in half and each of the two pieces in half.

Stand each piece of pork cut side down on the board, cover the top with plastic wrap and using a meat mallet or heavy-bottomed pan, pound the meat to a one-inch thickness. Place on a tray.

If you want to use the tail, pound it on the uncut side to a one-inch thickness. Otherwise, freeze and save for another purpose, such as a stew or for grinding.

Season each medallion with salt and pepper on both sides.

Remove the tops from the figs and discard. Chop the four ripest figs in to small pieces. Slice eight figs into quarters.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Stir in the onions and garlic and sweat for three minutes, or until the onions have softened.

Add the wine, bring to boil and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the figs, chicken stock, sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

 

In the meantime, grill the pork over high heat for about 4 minutes per side, turning halfway through to get the grill marks.

Remove from the heat and let sit, lightly covered, on the serving platter for four minutes.

Sauce the medallions and serve or serve the sauce on the side.

Notes

Reduce the amount of salt added if using a salted stock.

Veal Milanese

Veal Milanese is one of my favorite dishes. It’s commonly made with veal scallops, breaded, panfried and topped with an arugula salad.

One of the restaurants in our area use a bone-in veal chop and they have the freshest salad with thinly sliced red onions, sweet cherry tomatoes, and a delicious lemon vinaigrette. I’ve recreated the recipe and for a little twist, add a slice of mozzarella on the panfried chop.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Take abone-in veal chop and pound to flatten a bit, not super thin like the veal scallop. Season with salt and pepper, dip in flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs, I prefer Panko.

Heat about one-half inch oil in a skillet over high heat. Once the oil wavers a bit, place the breaded chops in the hot oil. Cook about 3 minutes or until golden brown, turn and cook and other 3 minutes. or until golden brown.

Remove to a baking sheet, top each chop with a slice of fresh mozzarella and pop into the preheated oven for a 3 minutes.

Top with a crispy, peppery green salad of arugula, sliced red onion and tomatoes and cucumbers dressed in a simple red wine vinaigrette. Shaved Parmesan cheese is a delicious garnish or use our tricolor salad.

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Veal Milanese

Veal milanese is a panfried veal scallop or bone-in chop topped with a peppery green salad of arugula with a tangy vinaigrette.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x
  • Category: Veal
  • Method: Panfry

Ingredients

Scale

Vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Veal Chops
4 bone-in veal chops
kosher salt
ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups plain breadcrumbs or Panko
peanut oil
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
6 cups peppery lettuce, such as arugula
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes or a large tomato cut into eighths
1/2 cup sliced cucumbers, cut into half moons

Garnish
shaved Parmesan

Instructions

Vinaigrette
Combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a covered jar and shake or in a bowl and whisk.

Veal Chop
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Take abone-in veal chop and pound to flatten a bit, not super thin like the veal scallop. Season with salt and pepper, dip in flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs, I prefer Panko.

Heat about one-half inch oil in a skillet over high heat. Once the oil wavers a bit, place the breaded chops in the hot oil. Cook about 3 minutes or until golden brown, turn and cook and other 3 minutes. or until golden brown.

Remove to a baking sheet, top each chop with a slice of fresh mozzarella and pop into the preheated oven for a 3 minutes.

Top with a crispy, peppery green salad of arugula, sliced red onion and tomatoes and cucumbers dressed in a simple red wine vinaigrette.

Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Alternatively, use our tricolor salad.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Mozzarella Crostini

I’ve made this hors d’oeuvre a couple of times and it’s always a big hit. I like the presentation and when you bit into each Prosciutto-Wrapped Mozzarella Crostini, there’s a lot going on – sweet, salty, juicy, crunchy. I usually make enough for 3-4 pieces per person, less if there are other options.

This weekend I happened to have some leftover pesto, which I spread on the bottom of the crostini – a great addition to an already delicious bite.

 

Veal and Turnip Stew

This recipe for Veal and Turnip Stew was inspired by the remaining ingredients from a photo shoot.

I had carrots and a bag of pearl onions that pair so nicely with veal. Tarragon is one of my favorite herb and a few fennel seeds add to the anise flavor I like so much. thought they’d add an interesting layer to the stew. Substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence for the herbs in this recipe, if anise doesn’t appeal to you.

Peeling pearl onions is a bit tedious and the task is made easier by blanching. Bring a pot of cold water with a couple a teaspoons of salt to boil and pop the onions in for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Slice the bottom off with a sharp paring knife stopping short of the skin on the far side. Pull that skin towards the top and slide the remainder off.

This stew with it’s delicious sauce is great with egg noodles.

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Veal and Turnip Stew

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 portions 1x
  • Category: Veal
  • Method: Slow Cooking

Ingredients

Scale

2 pounds boneless veal shoulder or rump, cut into 11/2 inch cubes, trim excess fat
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
24 pearl onions, peeled
1 pound turnips, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
5 peppercorns
Bay leaf
1 cup stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon

Instructions

Place the veal on a tray and season both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Heat the oil in large sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Stir in the onion, celery and garlic, cover and sweat for 4 minutes.

Add the wine, raise the heat to high and boil until the wine is reduced by one-half, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the turnips, carrots, fennel seeds, peppercorns, bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Pour the stock over this, give a stir, and set the veal cubes on top of the vegetables.

Stovetop Method: Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours at barely a simmer or until the veal is fork tender.

Slow Cooker Method: Set the slower cooker on low and cook for 6 hours or until the veal is fork tender.

Just before serving toss in the peas and combine the water and cornstarch and pour into the hot stew. Stir frequently until the sauce has thickened. Garnish with chopped herbs and serve.

Notes

Substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence for the herbs in this recipe, if the anise flavor doesn’t appeal to you.

 

 

Grilled Lamb Chops

It’s Valentine’s Day and we gave up going out to celebrate years ago. The food is usually mediocre, even the best restaurants go off menu and over book. It’s a nightmare. We’ll have a low-key, peaceful dinner at home with Grilled Lamb Chops.

I marinated the chops in olive oil, with a generous dollop of Dijon mustard, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a handful of roughly chopped garlic, a couple of branches of minced rosemary, salt and pepper. I’ll grill these to medium rare.

On the side we’re’ having sweet potatoes with goat cheese and creamed spinach. I’ve prepped both ahead so all I have to do is heat them through before serving to keep the cleanup minimal. After all, cleaning the kitchen isn’t very romantic!

Eric won’t get home until 8pm and having the prep work done in advance and the grill preheated means I can have dinner ready in 15 minutes. While the chops are on the grill, I’ll reheat the sweet potatoes and spinach and we’ll be eating at 8:05.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Calzones

Calzones

Superbowl Sunday is upon us, and while I’m not a fan, my husband is a fanatic (unfortunately for him, he’s a Jets fan). Some buddies are coming over for the game and, of course, I’m cooking.

This year I’m making Italian sausage and broccoli rabe calzones with a marinara sauce on the side as the main course.

Calzones

My favorite pizza dough recipe is from Anne Burrell; you’ll need to double the recipe to get the 24 ounces needed for this recipe. Don’t hesitate to purchase your dough from the store or your favorite pizzeria.

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Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Calzones

Tasty pizza dough stuffed with both spicy and sweet Italian sausages, broccoli rabe and three cheeses. Serve with marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 Calzones 1x
  • Category: Flatbread/Pizza

Ingredients

Scale

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded skim milk mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups chopped blanched broccoli rabe
1 1/4 cups cooked crumbled sweet Italian sausage
1 1/4 cups cooked crumbled hot Italian sausage
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 pounds pizza dough, divided into 8 four-ounce portions
1 large egg, lightly beaten
cornmeal
2 cups marinara sauce

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Combine the egg, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in a large bowl. Stir in the sausage and broccoli rabe. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

Roll out 4 ounces of dough to an 8-inch round. Brush the edges with beaten egg. Place 1/2 cup of the filling in the lower half of the circle. Fold over and crimp the edges. Press the filling down a little to spread within. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray sprinkled with cornmeal.

Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve with a marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

Notes

Note: Taste the mixture first before adding salt. The saltiness of the cheese and sausages varies.

Keywords: calzone, pizza, marinara sauce, pizza dough,

Lemon-Tarragon Rotisserie Chicken

Roasted Chicken

I purchased a rotisserie several years ago, which I love, especially for poultry. The rotisserie self bastes and browns evenly all over. Delicious. One of my favorite rubs for chicken is lemon and tarragon. Try this Lemon-Tarragon Rotisserie Chicken, it’s moist and flavorful. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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Lemon-Tarragon Rotisserie Chicken

A rotisserie self bastes and browns evenly all over and with a lemon tarragon rub, this Lemon-Tarragon Rotisserie Chicken is moist and flavorful.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 80 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 portions 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Roast/Rotisserie

Ingredients

Scale

1 four- to five-pound whole roasting chicken
1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
10 garlic cloves, minced
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Remove giblets from the chicken and either toss or freeze for another purpose.

Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat with paper towel inside and out to remove excess moisture.

Slip your fingers under the breast and wiggle them until the entire skin separates from the flesh. Then take your fingers and run them under the thigh and leg skin. If the skin rips a bit, don’t worry, you can fix it with a couple of toothpicks. Repeat on the other side.

Season the cavity with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Combine the parsley, tarragon, garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl.

Take 1 tablespoon of the mixture and place inside the seasoned chicken cavity and rub it around.

Scoop one-half of the mixture onto one side of the chicken and using your fingers, spread evenly over the breast and down onto the leg and thigh. Repeat on the other side.

Tie the chicken and season with remaining salt and pepper.

At this point you can either cook the bird or wrap it in film and store it in the refrigerator until dinner.

Rotisserie Method

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

Place the chicken on the skewers and into the rotisserie. The rotisserie cooks faster than the oven, about 45-50 minutes. Internal temperature should read 175ºF.

Oven Roasting Method

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the chicken on a roasting rack in a roaster.

Roast for an hour and ten minutes, check internal temperature, and adjust time, if necessary.

Notes

To repair ripped breast skin, just pull the skin together and weave a toothpick through one side and then the other.

Stuffed Pork Loin

A stuffed pork loin is versatile, the variety of fillings is endless. This recipe uses sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, and basil. The stuffing can be made a day or two in advance, you can stuff the roast in the
morning, place it covered in a roasting pan and refrigerate for later cooking.

The ideal internal temperature for a moist pork roast is 145 degrees F, if you prefer it less pink, aim for 160 degrees F, but b careful not to overcook or the roast will be dry.

 

 

Put one tablespoon of the oil in a small covered saucepan over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot stir in the onions and garlic, cover the pan, and sweat for a couple of minutes. If the onions are browning, lower the heat.

Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and breadcrumbs, then mix in the remaining oil, and continue cooking. As the breadcrumbs toast, stir to prevent sticking and burning.

Cook until the mixture is aromatic (toasty) and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

The mixture is done when the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Remove the pan from stove and cool mixture.

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Remove the butcher string from the roast and stand it on its side.

Place your chef’s knife 1/3 of the way across the top and slice through to about an inch from the bottom.

Lay the pork flat on the board and place your knife at the center (2/3 remaining ) of the pork and slice it in half across, again leaving about 1 inch from the bottom.

Open the roast flat across the board and season the pork with salt and pepper.

Now, complete the filling by mixing in the parmesan, basil, and parsley. Taste to adjust seasoning, but remember, both the cheese and tomatoes are inherently salty.

Gently dump the filling over the top of the meat and spread evenly over the surface.

Take the interior cut and fold it back in place and then again.

Tie the roast tightly, season all sides with salt and pepper, and place in the roasting pan.

Place roasting pan in preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350ºF and continue cooking for another 40-50 minutes, or until internal temperature is 140 to 145 degrees F.

Remove the roast to a cutting and cover with foil and let sit for 8 minutes.

Slice and serve.

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Stuffed Pork Loin

A stuffed pork loin is versatile, the variety of fillings is endless. This recipe uses sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, and basil. The stuffing can be made a day or two in advance, you can stuff the roast in the morning, place it covered in a roasting pan and refrigerate for later cooking.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 70 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 portions 1x
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Roasting

Ingredients

Scale

2 tablespoons olive oil divided
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced (I prefer using tomatoes not packed in oil)
½ cup breadcrumbs (I use seasoned, totally optional or season your own)
1 three-pound boneless pork loin roast
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 cup packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup finely chopped parsley

Instructions

Put one tablespoon of the oil in a small covered saucepan over medium-low heat.

Stir in the onions and garlic, cover the pan, and sweat for a couple of minutes. If the onions are browning, lower the heat.

Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and breadcrumbs, then mix in the remaining oil, and continue cooking. As the breadcrumbs toast, stir to prevent sticking and burning.

Cook until the mixture is aromatic (toasty) and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

The mixture is done when the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Remove the pan from stove and cool mixture.

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Remove the butcher string from the roast and stand it on its side.

Place your chef’s knife 1/3 of the way across the top and slice through to about an inch from the bottom.

Lay the pork flat on the board and place your knife at the center at the larger side  of the pork and slice it in half across, again leaving about 1 inch from the bottom.

Open the roast flat across the board and season the pork with salt and pepper.

Complete the filling by mixing in the parmesan, basil, and parsley. Taste to adjust seasoning, but remember, both the cheese and tomatoes are inherently salty.

Gently dump the filling over the top of the meat and spread evenly over the surface.

Take the interior cut and fold it back in place and then again.

Tie the roast tightly, season all sides with salt and pepper, and place in the roasting pan.

Place roasting pan in preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350ºF and continue cooking for another 30 minutes, or until internal temperature is 140 to 145 degrees F.

Remove the roast to a cutting and cover with foil and let sit for 8 minutes.

Slice and serve.

How to Cook Protein

How to cook protein to a particular doneness and maintain moisture is an essential technique to master. But first you need to understand what happens when you manipulate protein in order to control the process.

Composition

Protein is made up of, among other things, 21 amino acids. These amino acids are grouped together in a variety of ways. Some are attracted to each other and some are not. It is the composition of and the attraction of these amino acids that affect the outcome of cooked proteins: meat, fish, poultry and eggs.

To demonstrate what happens to protein bonds, I’m using a beaded necklace in the photos. Each bead represents an amino acid. The bonds are looped together in a particular way when proteins are raw, whole, or never frozen. Keep in mind this is all microscopic and three-dimensional.

Loops are formed by amino acids that are attracted to each other and held captive inside each loop is bound water; it cannot escape until something happens to loosen the grip, such as cutting, chopping, grinding, pounding, cooking, freezing, brining, or marinating. Water is bound to amino acids on the outside loops as well. This is the liquid that leaks out, which is why raw meat is moist on top and liquid pools on the bottom of the package.

how to cook protein

How to Cook Protein

One of the ways we change protein at home is by cooking. Cooking  changes texture, color, moisture, and appearance. It doesn’t matter what cooking method is used, the same thing happens each time, only the speed of the change will vary and that depends on temperature.

Most cooking methods require high heat initially. We want to sear and create a crust or we want to stew and infuse flavor. But once high heat is achieved, temperature control is very important. Those bonds inside begin to change as a protein heats up. They denature or relax and unwind. Juices are free to escape, the appearance may change from translucent to opaque (egg whites), and texture firms. How much moisture you lose and how firm the meat becomes is dependent on temperature control and desired degree of doneness, rare, medium, well done.

how to cook protein

For rare to medium rare, the bonds will never completely unwind, preserving moisture and tenderness, with a lesser-cooked center; very rare meat is blue/red and has a cool center, medium rare has a pink-red warm center. Medium requires more cooking and a barely pink and hot center. It has less moisture and the meat is firmer – a result of the lost moisture and the tightening of protein bonds. Well done will have a completely colorless (grey/beige) hot center, very little moisture and is very firm and chewy.

As a protein coagulates, begins to recoil, those loops reform binding water inside and out. How much heat, how quickly and how long that heat was applied affects the tightness of the reformed loops. This determines moistness and tenderness.

how to cook protein

Resting

All meat should sit off heat after cooking. The residual heat continues to cook the meat and protein bonds coagulate or reform. Cutting immediately releases those juices that would otherwise be bound within. In the rare to medium rare meat, the cooling time may only be a minute or two and most of the reaction occurs on the outer edges. Anything cooked to medium will have a higher residual heat and cook for 3-4 minutes more. The well-done piece continues to cook for up to 5 or more minutes, depending on size and density. Waiting before cutting allows the bonds to reform and retain whatever moisture is left within the meat. This process is called resting.

Well Done Meat

Is it possible to have well-done meat and still have moisture? Yes. It requires proper temperature control. The initial high heat used to sear the outer crust can be lowered significantly to cook meat slowly for a longer time. This slows the unwinding process, but still allows the heat to penetrate throughout. If you continue to cook at high temperatures, the process of unwinding and reforming happens quickly; the resulting coagulation is very tight, which equals very little moisture and tough texture. A well-done piece of meat will never be as juicy as lesser-cooked meat, but with care, you can retain moisture.

Demonstration

Below are pictures of cooked eggs. Two fried eggs and two scrambled eggs. For this demonstration, I cooked the eggs for the same amount of time, in a preheated pan, with a light spray of cooking oil. The only difference was the temperature used.

how to cook protein

The eggs were both flipped at 2 minutes and removed from the pan after an additional minute. Notice the difference in color and texture. The one on the right was cooked on high. It has crispy edges (protein with no moisture left). I heard the water (egg whites are about 80% water) sizzling and the egg white jumped in the pan as the water instantly reached boiling point.

Thesescrambled eggs were each cooked for a minute and a half. The one pictured below, cooked over low heat, is plump and moist.

This egg, cooked over high heat, broke into pieces, has browned edges, and firmer texture and less moisture.

how to cook protein

Shown together.

how to cook protein

For more information on how heat affects moisture and texture, see our post on how to cook meat.

How to Cook Meat

There are many transformations that occur in meat, well all protein, during cooking. Here’s a primer on How to Cook Meat to help you understand the process and become a more competent and confident cook.

How to Cook Meat

Dry heat techniques, such as pan roasting, sautéing, or grilling, the exterior forms an eye appealing brown crust and imparts a mouth-watering aroma and savory flavor. The trick is how to get the degree
of doneness you want and the range is broad: rare with a black and blue center, medium-rare with a rosy warm center to well done or the proverbial hockey puck that’s dry and gray.

Demonstration

I did a little experiment to show the time, temperature and outcome for rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done with five small ends of filet mignon, each seasoned with salt and pepper and dab of olive oil. I grilled them using a large Weber grill (Summit model) with 6 burners. The temperature reaches 600º F in 15 minutes.

how to cook meat

First, I weighed each raw filet and placed them on a lined tray with sticky notes strategically placed to record the data.

how to cook meat

Before:

Top Row (left to right):

  • 2.6 ounces
  • 2.4 ounces

how to cook meat

Bottom Row (left to right):

  • 3.3 ounces
  • 3.4 ounces
  • 2.8 ounces

After (I sliced each filet after resting it for five minutes):

Top Row (left to right):

  • well done -1.6 ounces, weight loss – 39%, total cooking time – 14.5 minutes
  • medium well – 1.8 ounces, weight loss – 25%, total cooking time 9 minutes

how to cook meat

Bottom Row (left to right):

  • rare (red warm center) – 3.0 ounces,  weight loss – 9%, total cooking time 3.5 minutes
  • medium rare – 2.9 ounces, weight loss – 15%,  total cooking time 4.5 minutes
  • medium – 2.1 ounces, weight loss – 25%, total cooking time 6 minutes

I put the filets on the grill at the same time and turned  them 90º after 60 seconds, and cooked for another 60 seconds to create crosshatch marks.

how to cook meat

how to cook meat

I flipped them and continued cooking another 60 seconds; turned each 90º and turned the heat to low (in colder months I would lower the heat to medium).

how to cook meat

The drop in temperature was gradual. Not a problem for the filets coming off quickly, but important for the more well done ones. The lower temperature prevents excessive loss of juices and allows more uniformity in texture.

how to cook meat

The rare filet came off first, after an extra 30 seconds. Notice the loose structure and red color.

how to cook meat

The medium-rare filet came off a minute after that. The structure is not as loose and the color is pinky red.

how to cook meat

The medium filet cooked another minute and a half and has firmer structure, a light pink center, and retains some moisture.

how to cook meat

The medium-well filet remained on the grill for another three minutes. The structure is  firm with a pink-gray center. The meat is still a little moist but getting chewy. Notice that the moisture loss is the same as the medium filet (25%). The reason for that is the lower temperature, which gently cooks the meat and allows for more retention of meat juices than high heat.

how to cook meat

The well-done filet cooked for five and a half minutes more. Colorless center, very firm, and chewy. Had I left the temp at 600º F, it would have cooked faster but would definitely be much drier and solid — get out the saw, the steak knife just won’t cut it!

how to cook meat
Searing Doesn’t Seal in Juices
Contrary to popular belief, searing meat does not form a “leak-proof” crust. Juices are not held in, they escape throughout the cooking process. Just look at your platter when you remove meat from a heat source, juices pool in the bottom of the dish. A seared crust is esthetically and palette pleasing and definitely worth the time and effort needed to achieve it.
 
Rest the Meat to Retain Juices
Rest meat for a few minutes after cooking. The internal temperature of the meat is still high, especially with more well-done items, and meat continues to cook off heat.  Waiting a few minutes before serving and/or cutting allows juices to become structurally bound within, resulting in more succulent meat.
Keep these principles in mind and you’ll know how to cook meat perfectly every time.
See also our post on how to cook proteins for a more scientific look at denaturation and coagulation.

Blue Cheese and Bacon Sliders

Small plates are great fun for parties. And small plates give everyone a chance to sample lots of dishes without too much guilt. These Blue Cheese and Bacon Sliders are flavorful and easy to make. I’ll serve these on mini onion rolls.

I added the cheese, bacon, chives, and sour cream, for moisture, into the hamburger meat. It seems to make sense rather than  pile these on top of such a small sandwich.

Method

Combine the beef, blue cheese, bacon, chives, sour cream, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Use your hands to knead the ingredients into the ground beef.

Form into a 1 1/2 ounce meatballs and flatten.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Cook and serve, or freeze.

Cook’s tasting sample – delicious!

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Blue Cheese and Bacon Sliders

Make these Blue Cheese and Bacon Sliders for parties. Small plates are lots of fun for you and guests – and it feels guilt-free because of the size!

 

Ingredients

Scale

1 pound ground chuck (80/20)
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
4 ounces cooked bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

Combine chuck, cheese, bacon, sour cream, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Measure 1 1/2 ounces for each slider, roll into a meatball, then flatten.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours and grill, panfry, or freeze for a later date.

Garnish: Slice of cherry tomato, sprig of watercress or arugula, served on a mini roll.

Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork

We love pulled pork, but I’m not a barbecue expert and had to peruse many recipes before I was able to decide how to put this together. My daughter requested the moist version using vinegar, instead of a dry rub, which is my preference too. The finished pork is tangy and fall-apart tender.  We’re having tis with Cheddar cheese biscuits and a vinegar coleslaw.

To infuse a smoky flavor I sparingly used ground chipotle that offers heat and earthy undertones. Most recipes incorporated either a tablespoon of ground mustard or a couple of tablespoons of regular mustard. I thought 1/3 cup of a stone-ground was the best choice.

All ingredients measured and the pork shoulder.

1 large onion diced – about 2 cups

Four smashed garlic cloves – place the side of your knife over each clove and smack with the heel of your hand.

Stir onion, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and chipotle.

After 2 hours, notice the expelled juices. It is definitely not necessary to add more liquid.

Finished pulled pork

Finished pulled pork

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Pulled Pork

Serve this with mini Cheddar cheese muffins or biscuits and a side of creamy coleslaw.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 portions 1x
  • Category: Barbecue
  • Method: Slow Cooking

Ingredients

Scale

1 large onion, large dice
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/3 cup stone-ground mustard
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (either dark or light)
1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 smashed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon ground chipotle red
3 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of fat
1 tablespoon coarse salt

Instructions

Mix the onion, ketchup, mustard, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and chipotle together in a slow cooker.

Season the trimmed pork with salt and pepper and place on top of the sauce mixture. Turn the meat a couple of times to coat with the sauce.

Set the slow cooker on low heat and timer for 8 hours; turn the meat every 2 hours. Place the pork on a board and let cook for 20 minutes.

Shred the pork with a couple of forks and return to the pot. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Remove the hardened fat and discard.

Serve or freeze for another day.

Notes

Don’t be tempted to add more liquid; the meat will expel juices and fat and add volume. You want the sauce to have an intense in flavor!