Collect all equipment and food supplies.
Prepare meat for cooking. This may include cutting, trimming, or tying. Prepare the cooking liquid:
• For fresh meats, start with boiling liquid, usually seasoned.
• For cured and smoked meats, start with cold, unsalted liquid to help draw out some of the salt from the meats.
• For both kinds of meats, use enough liquid to cover the meat completely.
• Add mirepoix and seasonings as desired. (See the discussion of seasonings and flavorings above.)
Place the meat in the cooking liquid and return (or bring) to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and skim the surface. Meat must never boil for any length of time.
Simmering yields a more tender, juicier product than boiling.
Simmer until the meat is tender, skimming as necessary. To test for doneness, insert a kitchen fork into the meat. The meat is tender if the fork slides out easily. This is called fork tender.
If the meat is to be served cold, cool it in its cooking liquid to retain moistness. Cool rapidly in a cold-water bath, as for stocks.
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