I saw an interesting article on www.epicurious.com, one of my favorite recipe and food information sites, this morning and it raised some points I hadn’t thought of before concerning the degree of wellness that’s best for each cut of meat.
When we go out for a steak dinner my husband is an automatic medium-rare guy and I’m a firm believer that my meat shouldn’t walk itself to the table or be so bloody that it’s still cold inside, so my go-to temperature request is medium.
Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, owners of Ox Restaurant in Portland, OR, give great reasons for venturing beyond medium-rare (130° F) on these specific cuts:
- With tougher cuts like hangar, tri-tip, flank, flap steak, and skirt steak, “you need to allow time for the fibers to relax.” Any steak on which you can see the grain of the meat running down its length is at its optimal level of tenderness and juiciness when cooked to medium (140°F).
- For short ribs, cook to medium to medium-well (140ºF to 150ºF) because “the connective tissues and marbling need time to render, so they’re best grilled over low heat for a long period of time.” This cut, which is often braised, has a lot of fat, so it can stand up to the higher level of doneness. Plus, Gabrielle says, “the tendons get crispy and satisfyingly chewy,” when cooked this way.
For purposes of safety and less chance of getting any type of food borne illness, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F (medium) and then rested for at least 3 minutes. The USDA also recommends that ground beef should be cooked to a minimum 160°F (well done) and that temperatures should be checked with a thermometer. Don’t rely solely on color as some meats don’t change a whole lot.
I would imagine the people at Certified Angus Beef would be the ultimate experts on the ideal degree of wellness for beef. They recommend:
- Inserting your thermometer through the side of your meat, with the tip in the center of the cut, not touching any bone or fat.
- Removing steaks and burgers from the heat when the thermometer registers 5°F lower than the desired doneness, and roasts 5-10°F lower, as the temperature will continue to rise while resting.
I see where I am screwing up! I often overcook my husband’s steaks because I do rely on the color and/or wait for the thermometer to reach the exact wellness mark. I’m changing my ways today. 😉
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