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Be a Better Cook

100 Ways to Be a Better Cook: Common Mistakes with Meat

Avoid these pitfalls and get ready for the juiciest steaks and burgers of your life.

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80. Cooking cold meat

Before searing your steak in a skillet, roasting in an oven or putting it on the grill, bring it to room temperature. Getting that chill of the fridge off the meat first will yield more tender, evenly cooked meat.

81. Being shy with salt

“Not seasoning enough is a huge problem,” Peisker says. “Using the wrong spices or salt is also troublesome. You don’t want to season your meat with iodized table salt. It’s going to be too salty, no matter what you do. It’s best to use a bigger grain, like kosher salt, or a thick-grain sea salt – but not too thick, which is like a finishing salt.”

82. Not factoring in carryover cooking

Meat will continue to cook after it’s off the heat as it rests; be sure to factor that in when taking the temperature. “If you’re grilling a steak, you want to pull it a few degrees before what temperature you actually want it to hit,” Peisker says. “With a roast or a braise, you want to pull it five or seven degrees before it hits the right temperature.”

83. Not letting it rest

Along with finishing its cooking, meat needs to rest to allow the juices to redistribute after it’s been cooked. Loosely tent with foil and let it stand on a cutting board for at least five to seven minutes for smaller cuts, 10 to 20 minutes for roasts or whole birds.

84. Cutting with the grain

The “grain” refers to the direction of the muscle fibers. Though it’s sometimes tempting to cut along those fibers, cutting against them breaks them up, giving you more tender slices. Keep in mind that the grain sometimes switches directions on different cuts. If so, cut the meat into sections and cut each against the grain.

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