Whether you love a thick juicy steak for dinner or a nice roasted chicken; correctly cooking the animal proteins you eat is really important. Most of the population; about, 80% of us actually, eat some kind of animal- based protein in our meals. The way in which we prepare those meats can affect the overall flavor, texture, and nutrients of the meal.

Adding specific ingredients can enhance the flavor of whatever protein source your decide to cook. Some spices bring out the natural flavors of beef while others pair better with chicken. Lamb has it’s own flavor profile and pork does as well. 

Steak food
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Cooking methods

There are several different ways to cook meat. It really comes down to preference of taste. Some people love a pork shoulder that’s been slowly smoked over sweet wood for hours, while others prefer it be roasted in an oven. Steaks on the grill can make your mouth water while the same steak in a cast iron skillet can be just as delicious. It up to the individual.

It’s become very popular to pressure cool meats today. Hectic schedules have left little time for preparation of big meals these days. With the popularity of air fryers that double as pressure cookers; you can have a pork tender loin cooked in as little as an hour. This is a real time saver. Traditional pot roasts that are placed in the oven with potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions is still popular when time allows. And a slow cooker is a great tool to use for stews and soups. Another example is following step-by-step instructions for perfect turkey wings smothered with gravy in an instant pot.

Outdoor grilling is still a great way to enjoy burgers and hot dogs.  

Marinating or using dry rubs

Getting flavor deep into the meat your serving can be achieved by marinating. This is essentially soaking the protein you’re serving in a liquid that made from oils, vinegars, lemon juice, herbs, spices, and garlic. Depending on the meat you’re preparing you might add honey or mint.

If you’re cooking your protein on a grill, you may decide to add a dry rub. Start by slathering your protein with mustard then covering with a mixture of salt, pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, paprika, and other spices. This will add a delicious crust to the meat.

A beautiful cut of steak is delicious with just a pat of butter and a sprig of rosemary seared in a hot pan. Flavors are as diverse as individuals taste buds.

Cook to the correct temperature

The most important thing to remember when cooking any animal protein is cooking it to the correct temperature. Remember that different animal protein sources require different cooking times. Beef is a bit of an exception because peoples’ tastes can vary on doneness. Steaks can safely be served at 145° while ground beef should be at least 160–165°F. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. Pork roasts and chops should be cooked to at least 145° to ensure it’s safe to eat. 

Overcooking meat will cause it to be dry and tough, while meats that are undercooked can contain Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and other bacteria. You want to be very mindful when preparing animal proteins to get those temperatures right. You don’t want to cause illness in your family or your guests.

Always be mindful of safety when preparing proteins for your meals.

 

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