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BEFF BASICS:

Preparing steaks properly before cooking:
• To preserve juiciness, leave a thin layer of fat on steaks. Trim fat after cooking.
• Pat steaks dry with paper toweling to promote browning.
• Add salt and salty seasonings to steaks after cooking. Salt added before cooking draws out moisture and inhibits browning.

Determining Doneness:
• For optimal results, cook beef steaks to just medium rare (145°F) or medium (160°F) doneness; do not overcook. Cook round steaks to medium rare doneness only.
• The most accurate way to determine doneness of steaks is with an instant-read thermometer, inserted horizontally from the side into the center.

Skillet know-how:
• Use a heavy skillet. Preheat it until hot—usually about 5 minutes—before adding steaks.
• Use the correct cooking temperature. Too high heat can lead to overcooking and dry, flavorless steak. It may char the outside before the center has a chance to reach the desired doneness. A general rule to follow is:
Steaks 1/2 inch thick or thinner—use medium-high heat.
Steaks 3/4 inch thick or thicker—use medium heat.

Braising Basics:
• Brown steaks slowly, over medium heat, to develop rich color and flavor. Use a heavy pan and small amount of oil.
• Use a small amount of liquid—1/2 to 2 cups is usual.
• Bring liquid to a boil, then quickly reduce heat to a level that just maintains a slow simmer.
• Cover pan tightly to retain the steam that will tenderize the steak. Don’t lift the cover unnecessarily to turn steak or to stir.
• Simmer gently. Low heat keeps beef moist and promotes tenderness. Boiling will dry and toughen the steak.
• Pan juices from braising are very flavorful. Thicken them with flour or cornstarch, or cook over medium-high heat to reduce to sauce consistency, and serve with steak.

Cooking Tips for Stewing Beef:
• Lightly coat beef for stewing with flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs, before cooking, if desired. The coating helps seal in flavor and moisture and helps thicken the sauce.

Carving Cues:
• Start with a sharp carving knife.
•Roasts become firmer, and easier to carve, when allowed to stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
• For uniform slices, hold the knife at the same angle for each cut.
• The more tender the roast, the thicker the slices may be. Beef tenderloin, rib and ribeye roasts can be cut 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Round and tri-tip roasts should be sliced no more than 1/4 inch thick.
• Carve tri-tip roasts across the grain.

 


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