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Meat, Poultry & Seafood Tips

Useful and economical tips on a variety of meats, poultry, fish and seafood.

  • As a rule of thumb, roast any meat (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, etc.) for 20 minutes per pound at 350°F (175°C).
  • For crisper skin, uncover the turkey the day before roasting and let stand in the refrigerator overnight.
  • When roasting a whole chicken or turkey, try adding flavor by stuffing some aromatic vegetables in the cavity - carrots, celery, onion, or garlic work nicely.
  • Sprinkle a bit of salt in the frying pan before adding meat. It will cut down on the amount of grease splattering.
  • To help lower a recipe's fat content, place cooked, ground meat in a colander and rinse with hot water after draining off the excess fat.
  • Rub both sides of a burger with water before grilling. It will make the burger juicier.
  • Meatloaf won't stick to the pan if you put a slice of uncooked bacon beneath the loaf before baking.
  • Chill chicken for 1 hour after coating it. The coating will stick better when cooking.
  • To keep hands clean, try using a potato masher next time you are mixing a meatloaf, or...If you don't like getting your hands messy when mixing meat loaf, put the ingredients in a large, zip-lock style plastic bag, seal, then mash the contents together until well mixed...and there's no bowl to clean!
  • You can make individual servings of meatloaf by using muffin tins. Remember to adjust the cooking time.
  • Pour cooled broth from meat or poultry into a glass jar with a secure lid and refrigerate upside down. The fat will harden and remain in the bottom of the jar when you pour out the liquid for use in your recipes.
  • Roast diced onions, carrots, and celery in the pan right along with meat or poultry. With the vegetables cooked down and flavored with the meat juices, you've the base for a wonderful gravy.
  • Roasts should be allowed to "rest" 10 to 15 minutes after being removed from the oven. This allows the juices to settle before carving.
  • Let your eyes and nose be the judge. Good quality seafood smells sea-fresh. It should not have a strong odor or smell "fishy." Fish fillets and steaks should appear moist, firm and freshly cut. Shellfish should be bright in color with no discoloration or dryness.
  • To know how long to cook fish, measure at the thickest point, then allow 10 minutes per inch. This applies to all methods of cooking, such as broiling, frying, grilling, poaching, and steaming.
  • Cover a plate well with plastic wrap to carry raw meat to the grill. Throw the plastic wrap away. Use the clean plate to carry cooked meat back in!
  • Thaw fish filets in milk. The milk absorbs the "frozen" taste and adds a "fresh caught" taste.
  • Place a "bed" of celery and onions under fish when baking. Besides adding flavor, it will prevent the fish from sticking.
  • When recipes call for meats or poultry to be sliced or cubed, it is easier to do so when the meat is slightly frozen. Fresh meats can be placed in the freezer for about 30 minutes before preparation. Also, make sure you use a sharp knife. Few things are more dangerous in the kitchen than a dull knife because you have to use more strength to try and cut or slice something and the possibility of the knife slipping is more apt to happen, perhaps causing injury.
  • Use tongs or a flat utensil to turn meat during cooking. A fork will puncture the seared crust, releasing the meat's juices and leaving it dry.
  • Wine corks contain tannin. Drop one into a pot of stew to tenderize the meat.
  • Don't salt meat before you cook it. The salt forces the juices out and impedes browning. Instead, salt meat halfway through cooking, then taste when the meat is done and adjust the salt as needed.
  • Marinate in ziptop plastic bags instead of bowls or containers you have to clean. Be sure to flip the bag from time to time to make sure everything gets a good soak!
  • At the grocery store, look for meat cuts that have the most lean meat for the money. Be sure when you buy less expensive cuts you are not paying for large amounts of gristle, fat and bone.
  • If you want to remove fat from soup or stew but can't wait for it to chill and congeal, drag a slice of bread across the surface of the broth to soak up as much grease as possible.
  • Never reuse marinades that have come in contact with raw meat, chicken or fish, and don't put the cooked food back into an unwashed container or the dish that contained the marinade.
  • When grilling meats, trim off excess fat with a sharp knife to keep fire flare-ups to a minimum.
  • When grilling chicken, place bony or rib-cage side of chicken down next to heat first. The bones act as an insulator and keep chicken from browning too fast.
  • When freezing large quantities of steaks, chops, chicken pieces, meat patties, etc., place a piece of the wrapping material between each. They'll separate easily to make thawing quicker.

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