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There are many different ways to cook meat. Some ways are a lot more efficient for different types of meat or can be used to enhance the texture or flavor of an overall dish. While there are loads of ways to cook meat, they can be divided into two categories. These are moist heat cooking and dry meat cooking.
Table of Contents
- Dry Heat Cooking
- Moist Heat Cooking
- FAQs on Meat Cooking Methods
Dry Heat Cooking
Dry heat cooking is referring to any cooking technique where the food is heated and cooked without the addition of any more moisture. This is usually done with very high heat temperatures, such as anything upwards of 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
The browning of food is also achieved through this. Similar to toast, food will change in texture, flavor, and scent when it is cooked using a dry cooking method. This browning and furtherment of the food can not be replicated when using any of the moist heat cooking methods.
The methods of both dry heat cooking and moist heat cooking are used mostly in cooking. This means that if you were to bake something instead, these methods would not be applicable as the methods for baking and cooking are very different.
Roasting is a cooking method where meat is cooked in heated air. There is no direct contact between the food and the heat source. Standard ovens do not cook the food entirely evenly, so some food will have to be turned or adjusted to suit this. However, some ovens have a fan-assisted oven that can cook the food a lot more consistently, so there is a lot less involvement, and you do not have to readjust the food multiple times.
Unlike roasting, broiling is cooking meat by direct heat that emits from either a flame, electric unit or red-hot coals. The heat is only directed towards one side of the meat, so it is cooked one side at a time and flipped halfway through to evenly cook the other side.
The best meat for broiling is typically tender types of meat such as beef steaks, lamb chops, bacon, and cured ham slices. Tender beef steaks and lamb chops should be around 1-2 inches thick for them to be broiled. If they are thinner than this, it would be more beneficial to pan broil them instead.
Grilling is very similar to broiling but involves a metal grid or rack that the meat can sit on while being cooked. This can be done over an open fire or glowing coals. This is like a barbecue as you use either coals or a flame. This is typically done inside, although some kitchens are equipped with special types of range tops, extractor fans, and ventilation. If you do not have any of these, the amount of smoke created can be harmful to you and your property if done in an enclosed room.
Pan broiling is when meat is cooked in an uncovered pan that is sitting on direct heat. This is usually on the oven stove over either a gas flame or an electrically heated stove. The heat goes into the pan so that the food is not directly on a heat source but still gets very hot. Any fat that renders and cooks out of the food is drained after the food is cooked.
Some fats and oils can be stored to be used as a lubricant for cooking or for some ingredients that call for fat to be used for cooking.
Pan-frying is almost identical to pan broiling, the main difference is that there is a small amount of fat added to the pan during this process. This fat will heat up and evenly cook the meat that is in the pan. The fat can also be scooped up with a spoon and poured on top of the meat to result in an even more evenly cooked meat.
Stir-frying also takes place in a pan and is very similar to pan-frying. However, the food is constantly stirred and agitated so that it is always moving. This evenly cooks the food as it should be moving around so much that one area can not get more cooked than any other area.
This is usually done with small or thin strips of meat alongside some vegetables and noodles. Some liquids can be added to this, but they are for flavoring and not for helping the cooking process.
This is when meat is immersed fully in fat. A deep-fat fryer is essentially a tub full of melted, boiling hot fat or oil. This method is best done with very tender meat. The meat is also typically coated in fresh breadcrumbs and eggs before being fried. Other than this, the meat could also be coated in a batter or covered in flour or corn meal. This method is called deep-fat frying, as you are essentially frying the meat in a deep bowl of fat. It may not be the most creative, but it is an incredibly dry heat method for cooking tender cuts and giving them a crunch.
Deep fat frying is amazing for evenly cooking some food and giving it a satisfyingly crunchy texture. It is how french fries are cooked and can also be a great way to make insanely crunchy chicken strips.
Moist Heat Cooking
Moist heat might sound like a weird title for a method for cooking meat; however, moist heat cooking methods are very reliable and easy. They also help flavor your meat a lot more evenly and intensely. One of the moist head cooking methods can also leave you with a byproduct known as ‘meat stock,’ which can be saved and used as an ingredient in any future dish that cools for it.
Braising is where meat is cooked in an environment where steam is trapped and held so that it cooks the meat. This is easily done by wrapping meat in foil wrap and adding a tablespoon of water to it. The source of the steam can either be water or any other liquid added to the meat. A juicier type of meat may have no additives and can be braised in its own juices.
This is a great way to evenly cook a less tender cut of meat and is great for ensuring raw meat is thoroughly cooked.
Cooking in Liquid
While the dry heat cooking method is mostly keeping food away from a direct heat source, the moist heat method brings the heat source a bit closer to the meat. Cooking in liquid is more commonly known as stewing, simmering, or poaching.
This method is done by covering a cut of meat with water or a liquid and simmering it in a kettle or pot until the meat is tender and well done. Tender cuts of meat can be used here but may come out overly tender and might break apart easily.
Simmering is done with whole cuts of meat, so it is great for cooking poultry, whereas stewing is more effective with small or thin pieces of meat.
Which Meat Is Best For Moist Heat Cooking?
Not all meat cooking methods are appropriate for any type of meat. Ground beef can be used in a lot of the methods, such as pan-frying. However, if ground beef was to be used in deep-fat frying, it would not turn out very well as the pieces are so thin and small.
The best meats for moist heat methods are the less tender cuts of meat. This is because the moist heat helps break down any of the tough connective tissue inside the meat. Alongside this, it will also help add moisture to the meat and cook the meat very evenly.
More tender cuts of meat are not in need of additional moisture and are usually cooked quickly with dry heat instead of being cooked for a long time with moist heat.
If you are not sure how to know if your meat is tender or not, there are a few variables that determine the tenderness of the meat. These are;
- Where on the animal the meat is cut from
- The amount of marbling
- The age of the animal when it was slaughtered
- If the meat was properly stored
- How the meat was prepared before being sold
FAQs on Meat Cooking Methods
What are the 7 types of meat cookery?
The main seven types of meat cooking methods are roasting, broiling, pan-broiling, pan-frying, stir-frying, grilling, braising, and cooking in liquid.
What are the different types of meat?
There are three main types or categories that meat is placed into. These are red meat, poultry, and seafood. Poultry is also known as white meat and contains mostly chickens and turkeys. Red meat is pork, beef, goat, and lamb, Seafood is fish and crustaceans.