Cooking Methods: Tips & Tricks
On the grill: You should only baste or brush with sauce, towards the end of cooking time — it ensures that the meat is cooked and safe for the brush to touch and keeps the sugars in the basting liquid from burning and creating off flavors.
In the oven: A simple affair; using a baster or a spoon, take broth or drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan and pour over the top of the meat.
REMINDER: DO NOT REUSE MARINADE
Braising is like roasting, but pot or pan is covered to keep the steam in. You can Marinate, Brine, rub with spices or herbs to start the braze.
To Braze: Preheat the oven to 350º F (232º C). Put the food in a covered oven-able pan or oven-able dish and cook until desired internal temperature is reached, usually about 15 to 18 minutes per pound.
Opening the oven door will only let heat escape, so resist the temptation. Instead buy a thermometer that has a long wire connecting the temperature probe in the meat, to a thermostat that you can read on the outside of the oven.
Almost every oven has a broiler. They are found either on the very top or bottom of the oven. Like a grill, it cooks hot and fast. It is great for browning or quickly searing food. Gas ovens have open flame broilers, while electric ovens usually have a red-hot coil.
Preheat the broiler to give your meat a blast of heat when it goes in. Place the Chicken, Turkey Steaks, Steak or Pork Chops on the rack close to the broiler. Broilers usually only have two settings, on and off. Open the door of the oven slightly to keep the cooking area from getting too hot.
You should watch the oven and food closely while broiling; it is very hot direct heat and it only takes a few seconds to burn.
Besides allowing you to enjoy a nice day, grilling adds smoky flavor and crispy char to your chicken, steak, or pork. Some advice for your next grill-out:
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken is best to use on the grill. The skin helps retain moisture, while the bone adds flavor.
- Brining or marinating your chicken or pork before grilling helps it retain moisture and taste great.
- Use a well-maintained grill brush to clean off grates, and make sure no loose bristles are left on the grates. Keep your grates well-oiled to prevent sticking.
- Cook chicken indirectly by using a two-zone fire, a fire where one side of the grill is hotter than the other. Medium heat is best for chicken.
- Cover your grill to save precious heat and ensure even cooking.
- Baste your chicken toward the end of cook time, as many sauces contain sugar and sugars, or sweeteners can burn easily.
- Scrape the grill when done to get it ready for next time!
For Steaks and Pork Chops, grill over high to med high heat. Season the Steaks and Chops with salt and pepper and grill until desired doneness is reached. To make the desired diamond shape pattern on the meat; grill until the marks from the grates are prominent and then do not turn over but turn clockwise a quarter turn to get the cross marks to also become prominent; then turn over to finish cooking.
Roasting a Whole Turkey or Chicken, Large Beef Roast or Large Pork Roast, may seem like a daunting task, but it is quite easy to master.
Let it Marinate or Brine: Marinating Pork Tenderloin or Pork Loin is a very good way to add flavor. Brining Pork, Chicken or Turkey can also add a lot of flavor. Marinating and Brining will help to make it tender and juicy also. Of course, there are many ways to add flavor like basting as you roast or rubbing with spices and or herbs before cooking. Your imagination is your only limitation, and the internet has limitless recipes for brines, marinades, rubs, etc.
The Roasting Process: Preheat the oven to 350º F (232º C). Put the Roast or Bird in the preheated oven and cook until internal temperature is reached, usually about 15 to 18 minutes per pound.
Opening the oven door will only let heat escape and keep your Roast or Bird from roasting properly, so resist the temptation. Instead buy a thermometer that has a long wire connecting the temperature probe to a thermostat that you can read on the outside of the oven. These are easy to find in most stores, especially Kitchen Equipment Stores.
To Sauté is like skillet frying, but there are three major differences:
- The pan is hotter
- The food size is usually smaller
- The food is kept in near-constant motion.
“Sauté” actually means “to keep moving”, but you don’t need to toss the ingredients into the air. Just moving them around with a spoon or with tongs will work also. It may be a good idea to also wear heat resistant gloves to protect your hands and arms.
After you’re done, it’s easy to create a sauce by deglazing the pan. To deglaze, add water, wine or broth and scrape up the little brown bits, (known as fond) at the bottom of the pan. Let this liquid reduce and add seasoning. You can thicken with a little cornstarch or arrowroot starch mixed in cold water; it usually doesn’t take much (use a tablespoon of starch to a tablespoon of cold water). Drizzle in small amounts into the liquid stirring constantly until it is as thick as you want it, again….it shouldn’t take much.
Frying in a pan or skillet (cast iron is the best), is a quick, easy way to get crispy, homemade breaded fried pork chops or fried chicken.
- Heat about 1/2-inch worth of oil (more or less, depending on the thickness of the food you are frying) in your pan until it hits 335º F/345º F (approx. 170º to 175º C).
- Gently…. (use tongs and heat resistant gloves) to place battered or breaded chicken or pork chops into the pan to avoid splattering the oil. It will not be completely submerged. Again, do this gently, do not drop it in the hot oil, it will splash and you could be splattered with hot oil.
- Nudging the chicken or chops a few times before you turn it keeps it from sticking to the pan.
- Turn it over only once after about 3 to 7 minutes (depending on the thickness of the meat), when you can see the breading or batter start to brown on the sides, then it is time to turn over…. again, be careful and use tongs. Another good idea is to use heat resistant gloves to protect your hands and lower part of your arms.
- Set on paper towel to drain before serving.