So here are our top tips for getting the best out of your meat.
Strike up a good relationship with your butcher or the people on the supermarket counter and ask questions about the meat and where it comes from. They should know their stuff and can be really helpful. Be adventurous; try different cuts and ways of cooking them. Our book has recipes for all sorts of different cuts and types of meat, and not just the pricey stuff. We’ve included ideas for mince, stews, sausages and so on. We’ve even got a chapter for using up leftovers (if you have any!).
Marinating meats adds flavour and helps to tenderise cheaper tougher cuts of meat. In most cases you will need to leave the meat for several hours or overnight and it’s best to keep it in the fridge. Don’t marinate your meat in a metal bowl, as the acid ingredients in a marinade, such as lemon or vinegar, can react with the metal and spoil the flavour.
Don’t Cook Meat Cold
For best results, take your meat out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before you cook it. Cooking fridge-cold meat lowers the oven temperature and it then takes a while to build up again. And if you’re grilling or frying the meat, you risk overdoing the outside while not cooking it properly on the inside. If meat is near enough at room temperature it will cook more evenly.
Let Your Meat Rest After Cooking
Recipes always say this, but believe us, it’s really important. During the cooking process the juices in a piece of meat go towards the centre. When it is removed from the heat and allowed to stand for a while, these juices are redistributed through the meat, making it more tender and better to eat. Leave a roast joint for 15-20 minutes or a smaller piece such as a steak or a chop for 5 minutes or so.
While the meat is resting, place it on a board or a warm plate and cover it very loosely with a piece of foil. Don’t wrap it or cover it tightly or it will sweat and that’s not nice!
Photography © Andrew Hayes-Watkins