How To: Perfect Meat at Home

How To: Perfect Meat at Home
Looking for the tricks that star chefs use to cook meat perfectly every time? Our own Chef Anup Joshi has detailed out a step-by-step guide to cooking meat at home.
Pro tip: these principles works great on our Sugar Hill Pork Chops!

1) Season your meat!
Salt will fall off as you move it around so don't be shy. Add other spices like black pepper or chili powder at your discretion, but be careful that soft spices can potentially burn.
2) Pan selection is critical!
Grab something that looks too big, it should be wider than the meat so that no part is touching the edge. Avoid crowding the pan, cook things one at a time if you need to.
3) Hot pan, minimal oil!
Warm your pan to medium-high heat, and add just enough neutral oil to coat the bottom of the pan. The pan should be hot but doesn't need to smoke before you add the chop, you don't want to smoke out your kitchen.
4) ¡No tocar!
You don't need to fuss with your chop too much once you gently lay it in the pan. That golden brown color that we want only happens when there is direct contact + time. I turn the heat down to medium once the pan recovers, especially if it starts to smoke a lot.
5) Meat is 3-D!
Ideally you should be cooking your meat evenly on all sides. Use a tool like tongs or a meat fork to get some golden brown color along the skinny edges as best you can. If your cut has a bone, this will always be the last part to receive heat. Try and balance the piece on the bone side and turn your heat down to low and let the heat travel gently through the bone. This is a good time to work on other things or do a little cleanup.
6) Now you can touch..
With the meat laying flat on the pan, use your finger to press the flesh of the meat and begin to learn what meat feels like as it transforms from raw to cooked. There is a mushy-ness to raw meat that goes away as the internal temperature creeps up. If you like your meat medium rare you will want to stop the cooking right as that mushy-ness goes away. The firmer the flesh starts to feel the more cooked it's getting, until you have completely firm, well done flesh. You won't be a master on day 1, but each time you cook you should be training those senses to learn what "done" feels like to you.
7) But you aren't done yet!
Just because you turn off the stove doesn't mean your meat is done cooking. Heat is still traveling from the outer section of flesh towards the center and the juices inside are still deciding where to hang out. Let your meat "rest" after you cook it, either in the pan or on a plate where any juices that escape can be collected. I like to use this time to finish other dishes or clean some things up. This step is important though and makes all the difference in meat cookery.
8) Carve against the grain!
After your meat is rested and it's time to carve it, it's important to cut it against the grain, or the lines in the muscle. I use my cutting board as a guide and line up the meat so the lines are going straight from left to right. Then I slice with my knife perpendicular to the board.
9) Taste and re-season!
Don't be shy about tasting an end piece to judge doneness and seasoning. If it needs a little more salt, go ahead and add it. Remember, you only seasoned the outside of the meat and some of that salt fell off. Once everything is carved I like to pour the resting juices back on top.
10) Get better and have fun!
Good cooking takes practice..lots of practice. If you were not happy with your end product today, look at what you did and what you could have done better, and apply that next time. Lastly, the most important thing is to have fun, because the most delicious food comes from happy cooks!

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