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How to Select, Store and Cook Meat

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Different cuts of meat suit different cooking methods. There are two main methods: dry heat, which includes char grilling and stir frying, and moist heat, which includes casseroles and curries. Dry-heat methods need tender cuts while moist-heat methods give much better results with tougher cuts cooked over a longer time.

Selection of Meats

Meat should have a moist, red surface with no signs of drying or surface film. The fat should be a creamy white color and should not be dry. Look for even, well-cut meat free from sinew and excess fat.

How to Store Meats

Meat is best stored loosely wrapped on a plate in the coldest part of the refrigerator so the air can circulate around it. If meat is tightly wrapped it will ‘sweat’. Meat should be either cooked or frozen within 2-3 days of purchase. When freezing meat, wrap it very tightly or seal it in a plastic bag to prevent air spoilage or freezer burn. Also, don’t pile pieces on top of each other but be sure to pack meat as flat as possible so it freezes quickly, which will ensure its texture is not spoiled. Meat should be completely thawed before cooking. Thaw meat on a tray in the refrigerator.

Pan Frying

This is a hot, quick method that requires tender cuts of meat. Ensure pan is well heated over medium heat for a few minutes before cooking. To avoid oil splattering during cooking, brush meat, not pan, with oil.

CUTS TO USE:
Beef: Rump, fillet, scotch fillet or porterhouse, T-bone, marinated blade.
Lamb: Boneless leg steaks, cutlets, loin chops, chump chops, fillet.
Pork: Fillet, butterfly steaks, schnitzel, cutlets.

Casseroles/Currying

These are slow, moist-heat methods that require tougher cuts of meat that tenderize well when simmered in a liquid. Tender cuts are not suitable as the meat does not break down as well as the tougher cuts. When cooking with a liquid, allow mixture to simmer but do not allow it to boil.

CUTS TO USE:
Beef: Blade, chuck, skin on the bone (osso bucco).
Lamb: Shoulder, shank.
Pork: Forequarter.

Roasting

This is a dry-heat method and requires tender cuts to be cooked on high heat quickly or tougher cuts to be cooked more slowly for longer. Meats are often best cooked on a rack in a baking dish with water or stock in the base of the baking dish to keep the meat moist.

CUTS TO USE:
Beef: Corner piece topside, piece sirloin, piece scotch fillet, standing rib roast, rolled rib roast.
Lamb: Leg, shoulder, rack roast, boneless loin, rump piece, boned leg.
Pork: Leg, shoulder, loin, rack, fillet, rolled and boned pork loin.

Barbecuing or Char Grilling

These are hot, quick methods of cooking and require tender cuts or meat that has been marinated. Heat the barbecue plate or char grill well and allow the flames to subside. Drain marinade from meat before cooking. Coals should be red and glowing when the meat is placed on the barbecue or char grill to cook. Oil the food, not the barbecue or char grill, to avoid smoking and splattering. Char grilling can also be done in a char grill pan on the cooktop.

CUTS TO USE:
Beef: Rump, marinated topside, sirloin, T-bone, scotch fillet or porterhouse, eye fillet, marinated round, marinated blade, marinated ribs.
Lamb: Fillet, backstrap or boneless loin, cutlets, marinated leg chops, chump chops, loin chops.
Pork: Fillet, cutlets, marinated leg steaks, butterfly steaks, marinated ribs.

Stir Frying

This is a very hot, quick method of cooking and requires tender cuts of meat or strips of meat that have been marinated. Drain marinade from meat before stir frying and ensure that frypan or wok is well heated before adding meat. Cut meat into similar-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.

CUTS TO USE:
Beef: Rump, topside, marinated round.
Lamb: Fillet, backstrap or boneless loin.
Pork: Fillet, strips from the leg or neck.