The Chef in Stead

"To barbecue" means to slow-cook foods at a low temperature for a long time with wood or charcoal.

"To grill" means to cook foods over direct heat and cook it much faster than barbecue with gas, wood or charcoal.

Meat Cooking 101

Cooking thermometers take the guesswork out of cooking, as they measure the internal temperature of your cooked meat, fish and poultry to assure that a safe temperature has been reached, harmful bacteria have been destroyed, and your food is cooked perfectly. A cooking thermometer should not be a "sometimes thing." Use it every time you prepare foods like poultry, roasts, hams, meat loaves etc...

Simply cutting into a steak or any piece of meat to see if it's done is a very amateur way of cooking, which will always dry out your meat. It releases all of the juices and flavor, and in some countries you can be shot for something like this. This is the reason you should always use tongs instead of a fork when handling your steaks.

20 minute per pound for large pieces of meat is a calculation you can use that will tell you when to put your meat in the oven or on the BBQ. Before the end of your time, you will use your thermometer to confirm that it is done just the way you want it... After the desired cooking temperature is reached, remove meat from heat source and let stand 5 to 15 minutes before cutting. The amount of resting time varies with the size of your meat. During resting time, all meat continues to cook (meat temperature will rise 5 to 20 degrees after it is removed from the heat source) and the juices redistribute. This means you have to undershoot the allotted time amount, removing your meat from the grill or oven just before it reaches the desired temperature. Undershooting is a best way since you can always throw it back on the grill, if no one is looking obviously! You certainly can't uncook meat once it's overcooked.

Testing your meat for "doneness" with your thermometer

Once you suspected that your meat maybe done, take your instant read thermometer, poke it into the center and allow it to take a reading. Based on the internal temperature you can tell when the steak is done to your liking. Over poking with your thermometer is prohibited. I tend to keep my temperature a bit lower than below to ensure that I don't over cook!

Beef - Veal - Lamb - Bison - Elk
Very Rare - 120F - blood red in the center and barely warm (a good vet might still save the cow J)
Rare - 125F - red in the center and warm throughout
Medium-Rare - 130F - 135F - pinkish red in the center and fairly hot
Medium - 135F - 140F - pink in the center, grayish brown surrounding, hot throughout
Medium-Well - 145F - 150F - grayish brown center, only a trace of pink
Well-Done - 160F - gray in the center
Poultry whole
Well-Done 180F cook until juices run clear
Medium - 140F - 145F - pink in the center, grayish brown surrounding, hot throughout
Well-Done - 160F - gray in the center
Ground meat & Sausage
well-Done 160F to 165F - no pink at all
(steaks, filleted or whole) 140F - Tuna - Swordfish - Marlin 125F

Private Chef Martin for Cooking Classes and Catering in Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton.

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