Just what is dry-aged beef? Dry-aged beef has been stored for 14 to 21 days in a humidity and temperature-controlled environment. Dry aging allows moisture to evaporate and enzymes to break down some of the meat’s fibers. Dry aging intensifies the flavor and creates a tender texture that some describe as buttery or velvety. Only the most valued cuts are used to produce this special product. Dry-aged steaks may cook a little faster than the same non-dry aged-cut but the target doneness temperatures are the same.
Ground meat requires special handling. Whether it is beef, poultry, pork, lamb or veal, ground meat carries the greatest potential risk of food-bourne illness. It should be thoroughly cooked before eating because the grinding process introduces potentially harmful bacteria throughout the meat. The USDA recommends cooking ground meats to a internal temperature of at least 165° F for poultry and 160° F for meat.
One reason that beef raised without artificially stimulating growth hormones costs more is because it takes longer to raise. It takes approximately 20 to 24 months vs. about 16 months, which incurs more feed expense. You should look for grass-fed beef that has been raised on a vegetarian diet (not corn), not confined, pastured raised and no antibiotics or hormones added ever.
The best value beef cuts are: Ground Beef, Skirt Steak, Chuck Roast, Chuck Steak, Top Sirloin, Cube Steak, and Stew Meat.
Cooking Time Estimate For Roasting: Depending on the cut, should be about 20 minutes per pound at 350° F for medium.
Best Cooking Methods For Steak:
Rib Steak (Rib) Grill & Pan-Fry
Filet Mignon (Loin) Broil, Grill, Pan-Fry, Sauté
Porterhouse (Loin) Broil, Grill, Pan-Fry
T-Bone (Loin) Broil, Grill, Pan-Fry, Sauté
Strip Steak (Loin) Broil, Grill, Pan-Fry, Sauté
Top Sirloin (Loin) Braise, Broil, Roast, Pan-Fry
Hanger (Flank) Braise, Broil, Grill, Pan-Fry
Flank (Flank) Braise, Grill
Skirt (Flank) Braise, Grill
Chuck Eye Steak (Chuck) Braise, Broil, Grill, Sauté, Stew
Flat Iron Steak (Chuck) Broil, Grill, Pan-Fry, Sauté
Bottom Round Steak (Round) Braise
Eye Round Steak (Round) Braise, Sauté
Beef Round Cube Steak (Round) Braise, Grill, Sauté
Top Round Steak (Round) Braise, Broil
London Broil (Varies) Braise, Broil, Grill, Roast
Best Cooking Methods For Beef Roasts & Smaller Cuts:
Rib Roast Bone-In (Rib) Roast
Rib Eye Roast (Rib) Grill, Roast
Tenderloin (Loin) Broil, Grill, Roast
Top Sirloin Roast (Loin) Roast
Tri-Tip Roast (Loin) Broil, Grill, Roast
Fresh Brisket (Plate) Braise, Stew
Flat Cut Corned Brisket (Plate) Braise
Shoulder Roast (Chuck) Braise, Stew
Chuck Roast (Chuck) Braise, Stew
Bottom Round Roast (Round) Braise, Roast, Stew
Eye Round Roast (Round) Braise, Roast, Stew
Sirloin Tip Roast (Round) Broil, Grill, Pan-Fry, Sauté
Short Ribs (Flank) Braise, Stew
Beef Kabobs (Variety) Broil, Grill, Sauté
Extra Lean Round Cubes (Round) Grill, Stew
Shank Bone-In (Round) Braise, Stew
Beef Liver Slices (Variety) Sauté
The USDA recommends cooking all whole muscle cuts of beef to at least these internal temperatures to ensure that potentially harmful bacteria are destroyed. Some people may choose to cook their meat to lower temperatures, depending on preference. Ground beef should be cooked to 160° F.
Desired Doneness: Medium Target Temp: 145° F
Texture: Warm/Firm Center Color: Light Pink
Desired Doneness: Medium Well Target Temp: 155° F
Texture: Very Warm/Firm Center Color: Gray, Tinged With Pink
Desired Doneness: Well Done Target Temp: 165° F
Texture: Hot/Dense/Hard Center Color: Grayish Tan
Residual Heat: Residual heat continues to cook meat after you’ve taken it off the grill or out of the oven or pan. It’s important to factor this rise in temperature into your timing and remove the meat from the heat before hitting the target temperatures above – an average of 5° for steaks up to 15° for large roasts.
Many people ask me how long they can keep fresh meat and poultry. You can refrigerate whole meat cuts for 2 to 3 days and raw ground meats for 1 to 2 days. Raw poultry for 1 to 2 days. If you’re not cooking your meat or poultry within these time frames, freeze it. We never want to risk getting food poisoning.
How do you know when your particular meat is done cooking? The safest way is to use a meat thermometer, inserting into the thickest part of the meat, but never touching bone.
Meat Cooking Terms
Braise: Moist cooking in a pot with a lid and a small amount of liquid. This method works well either on the stove top or in the oven, rendering tougher cuts moist and extremely tender by melting the tough collagen between fibers, but allowing the fibers themselves to retain moisture. Examples: Pot Roast, Boeuf Bourguignon, Cacciatore, Most Curries.
Brine: Similar to marinating, meat or poultry is soaked in a salt-water mixture prior to cooking to enhance flavor, moisture and tenderness. Examples: Brined Turkey, Chicken or Pork.
Broil: Dry cooking under intense direct heat, sort of like grilling from the top down. Great for tender steaks and chops, boneless chicken, kabobs. Example: London Broil.
Deep Fry: Cooking pieces of meat, often coated with batter or crumbs, submerged in very hot oil. Example: Southern Fried Chicken.
Grill: Cooking over direct heat, usually outdoors. Grill pans and electric grills don’t require much additional oil, and create nice looking char marks, but lack the crust and smoky flavor of outdoor grilling. Grilling can be fast or slow. Examples: Grilled Steaks, Barbecued Chicken, You Name It!
Pan-Roast or Pan-Fry: A technique that begins on the stove top and often ends under the broiler or in the oven. Combination cooking creates a flavorful browned exterior and allows for finer control of doneness. Great for thick chops and steaks or larger pieces of poultry. Examples: Filet Mignon, Pork Tenderloin, Pan-Roasted Veal Chops.
Poach: Simmer at a point less than boiling to produce just a slight movement in the liquid. Examples: Poached Chicken Breasts.
Roast: Dry cooking in ambient oven heat. Creates a flavorful, browned outside and a tender, juicy interior. Ideal for larger tender roasts, whole poultry, most stuffed roasts. Examples: Roast Beef, Thanksgiving Turkey, Crown Roast.
Sauté: Quick stove-top cooking in a skim of oil in a heavy, low-sided skillet, frying pan or sauté pan. Great for tender steakhouse cuts and chops, chicken or duck breast, boneless cutlets. Examples: Sandwich Steaks, Wiener Schnitzel, Chicken Cutlets.
Smoke: Food is cooked or flavored before cooking by exposure to smoldering wood, herbs or tea. Examples: Tea-Smoked Chicken, Mesquite-Smoked Pork Chops.
Stir Fry: An Asian technique of cooking small pieces of food over very high heat, usually with oil, using constant stirring and tossing motion to prevent burning. Examples: A Profusion of Meat, Seafood and Poultry Dishes From China, Thailand and Vietnam.
Simmer: See Braise & Also See Stew
Stew: Slow cooking, Submerged in flavorful liquid, usually after browning on the surface. Stewing is similar to braising except that stews usually have more liquid, which is an important part of the finished dish. Best for cubes coming from tougher cuts. Examples: Beef Stew, Chili, Gumbo.
Sous-vide: A method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times (72 hours in some cases). The temperature is regulated and much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55° F to 60° F for meats. The intention is to cook the item evenly, and not to overcook the outside while still keeping the inside at the same doneness, keeping the food juicier. Examples: Beef Brisket and Short Ribs.