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07 September 2009

Meat Cheat Sheet? So I'm back at school, and I realize I don't know how to cook.[More:]

That is, I don't know how to cook things like meat. Chicken thighs. Pork chops. General stuff like that.

Is there a resource I can find that lists cooking times and temps?
Additionally, feel free to leave any other (seemingly obvious) heuristics you can think of for the man who knows nothing of the culinary arts.
posted by CitrusFreak12 07 September | 14:22
Cooking for engineers
posted by special-k 07 September | 14:36
Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food has a chart like that in it. It's actually a great book to read to learn that for most meat-type things, a recipe is just silly. Pick your method, season and apply heat until the temperature is right.

It's the stuff that goes with meat that you start getting into recipes.
posted by crush-onastick 07 September | 14:42
Some people think it's outdated, but whenever I need any sort of cooking information, from cooking times and temperatures, I turn to the "Joy of Cooking." The newer ones tell what to look for when you're shopping, and include tons of different ethnic foods. The only downside is the lack of pictures.
posted by drezdn 07 September | 17:58
I used to have a hell of a time trying to cook simple chicken breasts. And I refuse to use a George Foreman grill. I finally found a good method in Cook's Illustrated's 30-Minute Meals.

I couldn't find it online, so I scanned it here. They talk about salad, but really this page is about getting the chicken right.
posted by mullacc 07 September | 18:21
Woo! Thanks guys. I'll check out these books, they sound pretty useful.
posted by CitrusFreak12 07 September | 19:32
If you braise meat, you can't go far wrong. The temp can't get over the boiling point of the liquid, which helps keep things from drying out.

My favorite way to do chicken in a "no think" way is to take thighs, pull of the skin, brown in an ovenproof pan with a lid (or brown in a regular pan and put into a casserole). Pour in 1 14 oz can of plain tomato sauce, sprinkle liberally with parsley and oregano, drop in a couple smashed cloves of garlic, and drape a slice of provolone on top. Cover, 350 over for 1 hour.

That's 6 ingredients, two of which are herbs. Easy.
posted by plinth 07 September | 19:44
for beef, the best way to tell if its cooked, is by touch . to get you started try this simple technique....... touch your cheek, thats the consistency of rare . touch between your lips and your chin, thats medium. touch your forehead, thats well done . a little experimenting with this trick and you'll master it soon .

also remember, before you put food in a pan, heat the pan up for a few minutes and get the pan hot . then add your oil or butter and get it hot . then and only then add the food to be cooked . this will help develop all kinds of tasty carmelizing and make your meal even better.

Good Luck !
posted by rollick 07 September | 20:50
I love the Joy, but that book will have you way overcook meat. (At least to my taste...and my version of the book, which was the very first printing...and apparently back then nobody ate meat rare...seriously, the recipe for lamb will have it grey. That's just wrong.)

Alton's book is the best book for a first approach to meat. Plus...Alton...whom I adore. You can check it out from the library, and see if it's something you'd want to keep shelf space for, or if you can learn everything by reading it through.

Well done beef or steak...don't do that. Conversely, never under cook pork or chicken. If the juices run clear for chicken, you're good to go. Also, what Rollick said about's what makes restaurant steaks taste so very good.
posted by Dejah 07 September | 23:58
Medium heat, medium heat, medium heat. When the butter/garlic is burning; it is tooo hot.

Ditto the pan pre-heat. (Use the butter as your temp clue!)
posted by buzzman 08 September | 21:25
Bunny ears || I had a date tonight.