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Meat, Fish, Poultry background Info. Cooking . Meat is cooked for four basic reasons : to make it safe to eat, easier to chew , easier to digest, and more favourable .
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Cooking • Meat is cooked for four basic reasons: • to make it safe to eat, • easier to chew, • easier to digest, and • more favourable. One thing to remember is that cooking denatures protein and the longer meat is cooked, the more liquid is squeezed out. The B vitamins, one of meat's nutritional specialties, are carried off in the juices along with soluble fats and minerals. If the juices are used for braising or sauces, die nutritional decline will be slight.
Cooking Cont. . . • Cooking promotes some flavour changes. Storing and reheating noticeably changes the flavour of meat, as does prolonged refrigeration. Cooking also changes texture, which is defined as the touch of the meat, and the ease or difficulty with which the physical structure is broken down by knife or tooth into manageable pieces. We like meat to be tender and juicy and not tough and dry. There are ways to treat meat before and during cooking to maximize the desired qualities.
Cooking Cont . . . • We judge doneness of red meats not by their temperature, but usually by the inner color. This is possible because, up to 140 F, myoglobin remains unaffected and its color stays red. Beyond those temperatures, myoglobin loses ability to bind oxygen and iron atoms give up ions. The color changes because a new chemical compound, hemochrome, is formed and meat takes on shades of brown and gray. Rare meat is more pink and well-done meat is more gray.
Rating • Meat is sometimes graded by the Department of Agriculture as to its quality. If it has been graded, look at the shield-shaped stamp on meat to know its quality. Beef, veal, and lamb are graded as follows: • 1. Prime-the top grade because it contains the most marbling (mostly sold to restaurants). • 2. Choice-high quality, high marbling, but not as much as prime. • 3. Select-has less flavor and more connective tissue than choice/prime. It is less expensive and nutritious. It has less marbling.
Rating Cont . . . • Most stores have adapted a uniform labeling system so the names are the same nationwide. If you don't understand a name (if it is not standard), ask the meat cutter. Sometimes stores don't have their meat graded-they use their own terms like premium. In these cases, it is hard to know the quality. All pork comes from young hogs so all cuts are the same eating quality-it is not graded. • All meat that crosses state lines must be inspected for wholesomeness and sanitation. Many cities and states have similar laws. Both inspection and grade stamps are marked with a harmless vegetable dye that can be eaten.
Rating Cont. . . • Meat can be identified by the shape of the bones. The bones are the clue as to which part of the animal the meat comes from, how tender it is, and how it should be cooked. Tender cuts can be cooked with dry heat. Less tender cuts must be cooked with moist heat. Since meat is generally the most expensive item in a food budget, it is important to identify meat cuts to get the best value for your money.
Rating Cont . . . • The more movement the muscle gets, the more it is developed and the less tender it is. Because the muscle along the backbone gets very little movement, meat from that area; i.e., rib/short loin sirloin, is more tender than meat from other parts.
Meat Label • Meat labels show: • 1. The standard name of the cut. • 2. Net weight (how much it weighs). • 3. Price per pound. • 4. Total price to be paid. • Question: If a label reads 0.5 under net weight and $2.90 under price per pound, what is the total price for the package? ($4.35)
Types of Meat • Meat products vary depending on the kind of animal and how it is handled. • Beef-cattle over 1 year of age with bright, deep-red color and creamy-white fat. Hamburger is ground beef. In the package, it is red on the outside and bluish on the inside. The outside has been exposed to air. • Veal-immature cattle, not as tender as beef because there is very little fat. • Lamb-young sheep under 1 year of age.
Types of Meat Cont. . . • Mutton-older sheep over 1 year of age. It is less tender with stronger flavor than lamb. • Pork-young animal, tender meat, grayish pink or darker color, and firm with a small amount of marbling. • Variety Meats-organ meats including liver, kidney, heart, tongue, tripe (stomach), brains, sweetbreads (thymus gland).
Types of Meat Cont. . . • Processed Meats-more handling than merely cutting. Some are ground with seasoning added such as sausage. Some are cured or treated with salt, nitrates, nitrites, and sugar. This slows spoilage, gives meat special flavor, and a pink color. Some are smoked to help preservation and add flavor. • Cured Meats-corned beef, chipped beef, ham, bacon, lunch meat.
Storage • Meat is best preserved by refrigeration, freezing, canning, drying (jerky), and curing with salt and other agents. Chemical agents and irradiation are being experimented with by the USDA. The storage life of meat depends on the ripe of meat being stored and the length of storage desired. • All fresh meats need to be in the bottom of the fridge or the meat drawer and not in the door. Prepackaged meats should stay in the original package. Meat in butcher paper should be coldest part of the refrigerator-the loosely rewrapped in plastic, foil, or waxed paper.
Storage Cont. . . • Variety, ground meats, and fresh sausage need to be used within one or two days or frozen for longer storage. Bacon/lunch meat and cooked-smoked sausage should be used within five days after the package is opened. • Don't defrost meat at room temperature-the surface will start to spoil before the rest of the meat has thawed. Thaw in the refrigerator. • Signs of spoilage: uncooked meat color will change to a dull, grayish brown and usually has an off-odor. If it is in an unopened package, it will feel slippery when opened.
Cooking Methods • There are four important variables to consider when cooking meat: 1. Heat 2. Temperature • Moisture • Type or cut of meat • During cooking, heat coagulates or thickens the proteins in the muscle fiber and softens the collagen in the connective tissue. Low temperature and careful timing are needed so over coagulation does not occur-it makes meat tough and dry. (High heat toughens protein.)
Cooking Methods Cont. . . • Less tender cuts, those cuts of meat found near the movement of the legs, can be tenderized before heat is applied. • Mechanical methods such as pounding, grinding, and cutting are methods which break/cut fibers and connective tissue. • Acids found in tomatoes, sour cream, vinegar, and lime juice can be added during cooking or as a marinade in which meat is soaked before cooking.
Cooking Methods Cont. . . • Methods of cooking meats can be classified as the following: • 1. Dry heat methods of cookery are roasting; oven and pan-broiling; deep-fat, pan, and stir-frying. These methods are used most often for tender cuts of meat because the amount of connective tissue is small and cooking is unnecessary to hydrolyze the collagen. Cooking decreases the tenderness of tender cuts of meat because heat denatures proteins. Some dry heat methods may be appropriate for less tender cuts of meat if cooking temperatures are kept low for a prolonged period of time or a thin piece of meat is cut thinly across the grain (London broil).
Cooking Methods Cont. . . • 2. Moist heat methods include pan and oven-braising, simmering (stewing), steaming, and pressure cooking. These heat methods are used for less tender cuts of meat because slow cooking with moist heat tenderizer the meat through collagen hydrolysis. If the temperature is kept low for long periods of time, tenderization also occurs from enzyme activity.
Cooking Methods Cont. . . • Two different temperatures are important in cooking meat. • 1. The temperature used to cook the meat. • 2. The internal temperature of the cooked meat. • If the cooking temperature is too high, the meat will shrink too much. Too much moisture evaporates from the surface of the meat. Some is retained in the pan. The evaporation and/or moisture retained in the pan is called cooking bases. With excess shrinkage, the number of servings is decreased.
Cooking Methods Cont. . . • The internal temperature of the meat (degree of doneness) also affects shrinkage. It can be tough and dry if cooked at a too high a temperature or for too long a time. • The best way to know internal temperature is to use a meat thermometer. It is inserted into the thickest part of the muscle without touching bone or fat. Meat should be cooked to a recommended temperature. A meat thermometer cannot be used when cooking in liquid, broiling, or braising meat. To tell how done the meat is in these cases, make a small cut in the thickest part of the meat. To tell how done the meat is, look at the color. If it is:
Cooking Methods Cont. . . • 1. Rare-the exterior is cooked/crisp but the interior is slightly cooked with bright red color for beef and lighter red for lamb. • 2. Medium-the inside is slightly pink between rare and well-done. • 3. Well-done the meat is cooked completely showing no red. • Pork should always be cooked to well-done to prevent trichinosis, an illness caused by a tiny worm/parasite which is sometimes found in pork.
Cooking Methods Cont. . . • It is possible to cook any meat so it is tender, flavorful, and appetizing by recognizing the cut of meat and using the appropriate cooking method. • Tender cuts (rib, loin, sirloin) can be cooked in dry heat (roasting, broiling, panbroiling, pan-fried). • Less tender cuts can be tenderized by cooking in liquid or braising at lower temperatures slowly over long periods of time.
Cooking methods Cont. . . • Do not use salt before or during cooking when broiling or frying meat. It draws out the juices which keep meat from browning. • Cooking in a microwave heats the water molecules in the meat to the boiling point, so it is the same as boiling and should require a covered container, etc.
Poultry • Like beef, poultry is inspected for wholesomeness and graded for quality. The inspection mark and grade shield should be on the package. • Grade A-fully fleshed, attractive, meaty. • Grade B-less attractive, not as meaty, not often found in a grocery store. • To tell the tenderness of the bird, look at the grade shield. It will tell the class on the label. This tells how tender the bird is.
Poultry Cont. . . • Chicken can be bought fresh/chilled or frozen. It is packaged one of the following ways: whole, cut-up, or as parts only (drum-sticks, thighs). • Chicken also comes processed: canned boneless chicken, sandwich spread, chopped, pressed, luncheon meat.
The parts with the most meat are generally the most expensive. The breast has more meat than the back. Breast of chicken is light meat, tender, and mild in flavor. The rest of the chicken is dark meat, a little stronger in flavor, with firmer texture, and containing more fat. • When buying chicken with bones, allow 1 lb. per serving. Boneless chicken breast is 1/2 pound per serving. Whole chicken is less expensive to buy, but must be cut up by the consumer.
Summary • Knowing the marks of quality, identification of bone shapes, understanding the meat labels, forms/types of meat and poultry, and ways to cook/tenderize meat helps the consumer to be more satisfied with what to buy in terms of cost and quality.