MEAT KNOW – HOW UNDER THE SKIN

how under skin

USING HERBS, SPICES, AND FLAVORED LIQUIDS WILL TRANSFORM NOT ONLY THE  FLAVOR OF MEAT, BUT SOMETIMES ITS TEXTURE AS WELL. DIFFERENT FLAVOR  PAIRINGS COMPLEMENT DIFFERENT MEATS—SEE PP32–33 FOR SUGGESTIONS.

SPICE AND HERB RUBS Rubbing spices and herbs onto the surface  of meat, or under the skin of poultry, introduces new flavors. Adding salt or oil helps to draw the flavors into the meat.  Leave the rub for several hours before  cooking to intensify the flavors.
UNDER-THE-SKIN RUBS FOR POULTRY •  Try making a pocket in a small fillet of meat or poultry, then stuff with herbs and spices mixed with butter or oil into the pocket. Secure with string or a toothpick. •  Lift the skin off the breast meat of a bird and slash the meat underneath. Mix herbs and spices with butter and smear this mixture into the meat. Replace the skin.
HERB CRUSTS These can be as simple as pressing herbs onto the oiled surface of meat, or using a thicker crust made of herbs and grains bound with  egg to add flavor and a crunchy texture. Once you have prepared the crust mixture, press it on firmly so it does not crumble off the meat during cooking. If the crust is thick, allow a little extra cooking time. Note that covering meat with a herb crust will prevent it from browning.
MARINATING MEAT Marinades flavor meat without preserving  it. Acid liquids (such as vinegar, wine, and citrus juice) dry out meat. Oily marinades absorb spice, vegetable, and herb flavors  and transmit them to the meat. Depending  on its size (a roast or small pieces), marinate the meat for 1–5 hours before cooking. 1 Mix together the marinade ingredients and heat if instructed. If heated, allow to cool before proceeding. 2 Immerse the meat in the marinade. For awkward-shaped pieces of meat, use a strong plastic bag to hold the meat and draw up  liquid around it.

salt the meatSALTING AND CURING MEAT  Using salt to cure meat is an ancient technique. It is simple, because just salt, flavored with spices, is used to draw out some of the meat’s moisture, but it is also complicated because only trial and error will produce the effect you want to achieve. Experiment, and keep notes  of all your weights and timings.

type of salt

TYPES OF SALT Curing salt prevents bacteria forming and maintains the meat’s red color. •  Pickling or kosher salt A fine salt that dissolves quickly, but does not contain iodine or anti-caking agents that can turn brine cloudy. Good for brine-curing. •  Coarse salt Free of iodine or anti-caking agents, it is cheaper but takes a little longer to dissolve. Good for dry-salting. •  Curing salt or Prague powder no. 1 Often colored pink, this contains sodium nitrite that helps to preserve meat and keeps it red. •  Dry-curing salt or Prague powder no. 2 Similar to Prague powder no. 1, but contains sodium nitrate as well. Highly recommended for home dry-salting in place of saltpeter.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? Meat that is to be fully preserved will need longer to cure than meat that will be cooked afterward. The thinner the meat, the more quickly it will cure. •  Pork belly Dry-salt or brine for one week  to make bacon. •  Whole pork leg Dry-salt for 4–6 weeks to make ham ready to cook. After salting it can take 6–12 months to fully dry. •  Rolled beef brisket Brine for approximately one week to make salt beef ready to cook (see p150). If salted for longer, soak the meat for 12–24 hours before cooking.
DOS AND DON’TS

•  Never use old-fashioned saltpeter, which contains potassium. Use modern curing salt.
•  Never use metal dishes for salt cures; they will corrode. •  Boneless meat preserves better than meat on the bone. •  Lightly cured meat has an enhanced flavor but will not be preserved; it must be cooked. •  Due to the risk of food poisoning, do not attempt to preserve poultry. It should always be cooked after being cured.

DRY-SALTING MEAT Use salt for small pieces, or two parts salt to one part sugar for larger roasts. Add spices if wished. Allow approximately 3lb 3oz (1.5kg) salt mix plus 1oz (30g) dry-curing salt for every 61⁄2lb (3kg) meat. Work in a cool place. Dry-cured meat is ready when it has lost about 30 percent of its weight, but test it  for taste and give it longer if needed. Adding sugar or honey to the salt prevents the meat from becoming hard. If the meat is very hard after curing, soak it before cooking.

BRINE-CURING MEAT A more gentle way of curing than salting, the brine can be made of water, wine, hard cider, or other liquids, plus spices and herbs to add flavor. The strength of brines varies, but start with 83⁄4 pints (5 liters) of liquid for every 21⁄4lb (1kg) of salt. Add 1oz (30g) of curing salt for a full cure. Brine meat for 8–12 hours if it is to be cooked or smoked, or for at least one week  if being fully cured.

Meat Know – HOW THE RAW DEAL

PROCESSING MEAT HAS MANY FUNCTIONS. SLICING AND CHOPPING MEAT ALTERS  ITS TEXTURE SO THAT IT CAN EVEN BE EATEN RAW. GRINDING ALSO MAKES  USE OF OFFCUTS TO MAKE A VARIETY OF TRADITIONAL PREPARATIONS.

SLICING, CHOPPING, GRINDING,  AND PROCESSING MEAT

•  Slice meat across the grain to make it feel more tender, or to prevent it from distorting during cooking. •  Slice meat with the grain for stir-fry strips so that they don’t break apart when cooked.

•  Chop large pieces of meat before grinding or processing, or into even-sized pieces for frying and grilling so that they cook evenly. •  Grind meat that is too tough to cook whole (breaking it into tiny pieces makes it feel more tender), to help it cook quicker, and for terrines, sausages, raised pies, and burgers.

•  Process or pound meat using a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle to make a paste for a smooth pâté, stuffing,  or quenelles.

HAND-CHOPPING GROUND MEAT

Finely chopping meat by hand produces meat that is far juicier than meat ground with a grinder, which can squeeze out moisture. This method is ideal for making gourmet burgers and steak tartare. Aim to chop the meat as close  to the cooking and serving time as possible for a fresher tasting dish. You will need a heavy cutting board and two matched heavy knives, which must be exceedingly sharp:
1 Trim off every scrap of gristle, fat, and  sinew from the meat. 2 Cut the meat into 1⁄2in (1cm) cubes and spread it out across the cutting board in  a single layer. 3 Using a motion rather like beating two drumsticks, use the weight of the knives to chop the meat with an easy rhythm. 4 From time to time, scrape the meat back  to the center of the board to ensure even chopping. Continue until the desired fineness is achieved.
MAKING CARPACCIO

Typically made from very thin slices of beef tenderloin cut about 1⁄8in (2mm) thick, carpaccio can be sliced from raw meat or the outside can be quickly seared first. Partially freezing the meat first makes it easier to cut very thin slices. If the slices are too thick, flatten them by beating them between sheets of plastic wrap.
MAKING GROUND MEAT PRODUCTS

making ground meat

Meatballs, burgers, patties, satays, and koftes all use a ground meat mixture. Most meat contains enough of its own natural fat, but lean meats may need extra fat to keep the meat moist. As a healthier alternative to adding fat  to lean ground meat, add finely chopped vegetables instead. Onions, eggplant, bell peppers, or mushrooms—softened in a very small amount of oil—all work well. Serving ground meat products with a sauce will also help to make them feel more moist when  you eat them. Burger purists use hand-chopped meat  (see above) mixed with only salt, pepper,  and sometimes a little chopped onion. These burgers can be cooked pink. Most, however, are made from meat and a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices added to taste. Patties are a flatter version of burgers.

FORMING BURGERS BY HAND

FORMING BURGERS BY HAND

1 Divide the meat into equal portions.  Squeeze each one tightly to form a firm ball. 2 Lightly press each ball to flatten the sides. Press harder to make patties.
FORMING BURGERS WITH A BURGER PRESS

1 Line the press with waxed paper or cellophane disks. 2 Fill with meat and press into shape.
FORMING MEATBALLS Use rubber gloves or wet your hands to prevent the meat from sticking to your fingers: 1 Divide the meat into equal amounts. Make reduced-fat meatballs very small so there is  a large surface to be coated with sauce. This makes them seem less dry. 2 Squeeze each portion together firmly and roll it into a ball between your fingertips. 3 Roll the meatballs in flour just before you cook them.
MAKING SATAYS AND KOFTES

Spicy flavored ground meat is pressed onto sticks before being grilled or fried. Miniature versions with a dipping sauce make good canapés: 1 Soak wooden sticks in water to prevent the meat from turning on the stick and to allow even cooking—this also prevents the sticks from burning. 2 Press the meat firmly onto the sticks.

slice meat

COOKING GROUND MEAT
Ground meat has a higher risk of contamination due to its large proportion  of outer surface. Unless you have prepared your own meat and are confident that it  has not been contaminated, all these ground meat products should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF (75ºC).

Meat Know – HOW KNIFE STORIES

A CHEF’S FAVORITE KNIFE IS A PERSONAL MATTER. SOME PREFER HEAVY KNIVES;  OTHERS FIND LIGHT ONES SUIT THEM BETTER. ONE THING, HOWEVER, IS CERTAIN— THE SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL MEAT PREPARATION IS KEEPING YOUR KNIVES SHARP.

type of knifes

TYPES OF KNIFE

•  Cleaver Some people prefer to use a cleaver for all kitchen tasks; others never use one at all. Most Chinese cooks use nothing else.

•  Large chef’s knife Use for slicing large pieces of meat and for carving boneless roasts. Use long stroking cuts rather than a sawing motion to produce the neatest slices.

•  Medium boning knife The thin curved blade allows the knife to be manipulated around bones without damaging the meat.

•  Paring knife This is invaluable for many tasks, such as boning out poultry  or chopping small items.

knife blades

BLADE MATERIALS Knife blades are made from many materials, but the most common are:

•  Carbon steel and damasked steel These are the easiest to sharpen but rust unless oiled. They are unsuitable for dishwashers.

•  Stainless steel The most common material, it keeps its edge but takes longer to sharpen. Different alloys and ways of tempering them can produce very light, thin blades.

•  Ceramic knives Although they are very sharp, ceramic knives are expensive, fragile, and need special sharpeners.

knife additonal
ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT Equipment lists can seem daunting, but each piece is designed for a particular job and many people enjoy collecting these specialty tools. Not everything listed below is essential and many can be used for more than one function.

•  Meat thermometer Apart from good knives, this is the most important tool for the meat cook (see p29 for more information).

•  Oven thermometer Useful for checking  the temperature of the oven as very few— especially older ones—actually operate at  the marked temperature.

•  Cutting boards Wooden boards used to  be thought of as unsanitary, but now they are regarded as better than plastic (which is harder
to clean thoroughly when scored by knives) as wood contains natural antibacterial properties.

•  Tongs Invaluable for turning roasts and steaks when browning them, tongs prevent  fat from being splashed onto the hand. Use long-handled tongs for barbecue grills.

•  Gravy skimmer This pitcher with a low spout efficiently separates meat juices from fat.

•  Kitchen/Carving fork Use to lift or turn poultry and large roasts in the oven and to  hold meat while slicing. The guard prevents  the knife from slipping onto your hand while carving toward you.

•  Poultry shears or strong scissors Use for cutting through thin bones, usually poultry. Good quality, strong general-purpose scissors  may also be used.

•  Trussing needle A very long, very strong needle that can be threaded with string to  truss or tie meat.
POTS AND PANS FOR THE MEAT COOK

POTS AND PANS FOR THE MEAT COOK

•  Stock pot Stock bones occupy a surprisingly large space, so a stock pot needs to be large (31⁄2–41⁄2 gallons/15–20 liters) and have a lid. •  Extra large colander or sieve Use to strain stock into a large bowl or pan. A cheesecloth is useful to strain out fine debris.

•  Cast-iron lidded casseroles These allow an even distribution of heat. Meat and vegetables can be browned in them before adding liquid and either simmering or oven cooking.

•  Frying pans Use a large pan for browning many small pieces of meat without overcrowding them. Medium and smaller pans are good for cooking steaks or small pieces of meat. Buy pans with the heaviest base possible for the best heat distribution because thin bases can warp. •  Wok Good for stir-frying, woks can be used over gas or charcoal. Electric attachments and stand-alone woks are also available. •  Deep-fat fryer with basket Buy one large enough for your needs as deep-fried food must not be crowded or it will absorb the oil.
•  Roasting pans or dishes with racks Several sizes are useful, including a small  dish for two-person roasts. The rack allows excess fat to drain off the meat.

electric slower cooker

•  Electric slow cooker These use very little energy to slow-cook meat and are ideal for busy people because they can be left to  cook all day.
Blunt knives squeeze the juice out of meat, and can make cutting through skin and sinews hard. There are several ways to sharpen knives:
USING A SHARPENING STEEL

Method 1 Hold the steel vertically with its point on a wooden board or folded cloth. Keeping the angle of the knife consistently  at about 10–20 degrees, stroke it down either side of the steel to sharpen both edges.

Method 2 Hold the steel in one hand and the knife in the other. Stroke the knife down alternating sides of the steel toward your hand, keeping the angle consistent at all times.
USING DRAW-THROUGH HAND SHARPENERS Steel blades inside the device sharpen the knife as it is drawn between them. Handheld and electric (below) versions are available. Press the knife firmly downward and draw it through the device to sharpen it. Remember to tilt the end as you draw the knife through, to make sure the tip is sharpened.