Asian Reporter, V29, #24 (December 16, 2019), page 11.
How not to ruin that pricy piece of meat in
the holiday meal
By Katie Workman
The Associated Press
Nothing says "celebration" like a ridiculously expensive
piece of meat. Well, thatís not really true, but this is the
time of year for splurging, in dollars and eating.
And with apologies to all the vegetarians out there, few
things are as impressive an anchor to a festive meal than an
extravagant cut of meat.
But boy, those prices can get up there, especially now that
many consumers are trying to eat more responsibly by buying meat
that is grass-fed, pasture-raised, and ethically handled. A
recent jaunt around some markets in New York City revealed 100%
grass-fed, local beef Chateaubriand roast for $59.99 per pound;
pasture-raised, local Frenched rack of lamb for $39.99 per
pound; and, on the website of a price club, an A5 Kobe beef
sirloin roast sells for $2,000 for an eight-pound piece of meat.
Even if youíre buying a more traditionally produced piece of
meat, you still might be paying $29.99 per pound for a filet
mignon beef roast or $18 per pound for a standing rib roast.
So, you do not want to mess this up.
It can be nerve-wracking cooking a piece of meat on which you
spent a small fortune. Some tips from the experts:
The cooking method
For expensive, large cuts of meat, roasting is usually the
answer. The dry heat method caramelizes the exterior and allows
for even cooking throughout.
"We use classic roasting techniques, i.e. no sous vide or
other New Age methods," says Michael Lomonaco, who knows his way
around pricey cuts of meat as chef and partner of Porter House
Bar and Grill in New York.
Donít complicate things during the holidays, he adds; he opts
for a timeless prime rib.
Fat is your friend when it comes to splurgey cuts of meat.
Thatís why Antimo DiMeo, executive chef of Bardea Food and Drink
in Wilmington, Delaware, also likes prime rib for the holidays.
"It provides a lot of great fat marbling that responds well
to slow roasting,íí he says.
Lomonaco suggests placing the roast fat side up so the fat
bastes the meat as it cooks. Pick a cut with a generous amount
of fat, and ask your butcher to help you pick the choicest one.
Bring the meat to room temperature
Bring the meat to room temperature, that way the outside
wonít cook too quickly while the inside is still losing its
Some people sear the meat first, some cook it slow and
steady, some switch from high to low heat during roasting. Find
a recipe from a reliable source and follow it precisely. And
make sure the oven is fully preheated before you put the meat
Two important points:
First, use a meat thermometer. Itís really the only way to
make sure youíre removing your meat from the oven at exactly the
right moment. Insert the internal thermometer into the meatís
thickest point, making sure itís not touching any bone. There
are a variety of internal thermometers available, from ones you
can check remotely to instant-read versions.
Second, allow for carryover cooking. Almost all foods
continue to cook after they have been removed from direct heat,
and the internal temperature will continue to rise. If you want
your roast, whether beef or lamb, to be rare or medium rare,
which would be an internal temperature of 125ļ to 130ļ
Fahrenheit, then take it out of the oven when the internal
temperature reaches 120ļ F. This is also true for other cuts
such as steaks and rack of lamb.
Lomonaco likes to roast his prime rib at 350ļ F. DiMeo sears
his first in a very hot (500ļ F) oven to give it a nicely
browned crust, and then lowers the heat to 350ļ F and cooks it
low and slow for two to three hours (depending on size), basting
often to keep it moist and tender. Both chefs pull the meat from
the oven when its internal temperature reaches 120ļ F.
Let the meat rest before cutting
There are two reasons to let the meat sit after cooking.
First, for carryover cooking. Second, because the fibers of the
protein change while the meat is cooking, and need to relax
post-cooking in order to reabsorb the juices. If youíve ever cut
open a leg of lamb or a steak to see perfectly rosy meat and
lovely juices, only to have the meat turn tough and grayer a bit
later, thatís because you cut into it too early. The juices ran
out of the meat onto the cutting board. So be patient.
For a prime rib, for example, Lomonaco says itís crucial to
let it rest for 30 minutes before carving. Smaller cuts of meat
donít need to sit as long ó maybe 10 minutes for a 1Ĺ-inch-thick
steak. Legs of lamb should also sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
So, while paying for the holiday tableís meat might make you
gasp, you should breathe easily when serving it up, perfectly
cooked, to admiring family and friends.
Katie Workman writes regularly about food for The Associated
Press. She has written two cookbooks focused on family-friendly
cooking, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.
Recipes for some showy cuts of meat ó such as Lemon-Garlic
Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb, Filet Mignon with Roasted Brussels
Sprouts and Lemon-Herb Mayo, and Marinated Petit Filets ó are
available online at <www.themom100.com>.