I’m talking about your meats–your chickens, your porks, your steaks. Fish is a whole ‘nother ball game–one I don’t play. One day, though, I WILL cook fish and my boyfriend WILL eat it.
I often see people cook a delicious steak or chicken and then slice right into it as it cooks to see if it’s done yet. And every time I see my dad someone do it, I cringe or cry out “NOOO!!” with outstretched arms.
If you are an offender of this awful crime, now is the time to stop. (This is also a good time to tell you that if you’re also a hamburger smasher–you know, when you’re grilling the patties and you smoosh it with the spatula to hear that awesome sizzle–SHAME ON YOU)
If you don’t already know, here’s why I forbid this horrendous, albeit common, cooking act. The fibers in meat shrink as they cook, forcing the juices to the outer-layers of the skin. If you cut into it while it cooks, or right after on the cutting board, the fibers have not yet expanded again, allowing all the yummy juices to redistribute throughout the meat. This results in dry, tasteless meat that’s completely unappetizing and frankly, a little embarrassing. You are better than this!
So, the next meat you grill, saute, or roast, GIVE IT A REST! I’m talking anywhere between 5-20 minutes, depending on how big your cut is. If I grill two small steaks for me and the S.O., I put them on a plate, tent them lightly with foil and let them rest about 8 minutes. I usually only let boneless chicken breasts rest about 5 minutes. And big roasts (especially turkeys) should rest for about 20 minutes. I made a small round bottom roast over the weekend and let that guy take a break for 10 minutes.
If you have a problem with chicken or steak coming out dryer than expected, try letting it rest next time you cook. You’ll be pleased with the juicy, finger-lickin results.
(Remember, resist the urge to cut or smoosh! I’m STILL trying to train the men in my life to do this 😉 )