Other Factors Influencing Choice Of Cooking Methods

1. Fat content.

Meats high in fat, such as Prime beef or lamb, are generally cooked without added fat, such as by roasting or broiling.

Meats low in fat, such as veal, are often cooked with added fat to prevent dry-ness. Sauteing, pan-frying, or braising is generally preferable to broiling for veal chops that are cooked well done.

Fat can be added to lean meats in two ways:

• Barding.Tying slices of fat, such as pork fatback, over meats with no natural fat cover to protect them while roasting.

• Larding. Inserting strips of fat with a larding needle into meats low in marbling.

Inside (top) round

Inside (top) round

Knuckle-or tip

Leg or round bone

Eye round

Outside (bottom) round

Figure 10.9

Location of the muscles in a whole center-cut round steak of beef, veal, lamb, or pork

Eye round

Outside (bottom) round

Figure 10.9

Location of the muscles in a whole center-cut round steak of beef, veal, lamb, or pork the highest-quality veal is considered to be so-called milk-fed veal, more properly called formula-fed. The meat is light pink in color and mild and delicate in flavor. Calves that are fed solid food or that are allowed into a pasture have darker, more reddish meat with a somewhat beefier flavor. Ethical objections are raised about the raising of formula-fed veal because the animals are penned and not allowed much movement. As for the flavor of milk-fed versus pastured veal, this is a matter of personal preference.

The youngest lamb is called spring lamb. It is slaughtered before it begins a diet of solid food, and its meat is light in color and delicate in flavor. Older lamb is darker in color and has a more pronounced flavor. After the age of one year, it is no longer called lamb but mutton, and it has a still darker color and stronger flavor. Little mutton is sold in North America. (In some markets the name mutton may also be used for goat meat, although this is not traditional English usage.)

These two techniques were developed in Europe when meats were much leaner and not as tender.They are not often used with today's tender, grain-fed meats.These techniques are useful, however, when cooking lean game, such as venison.

2. Developing tenderness is not the only goal of cooking.

Other goals are

• Developing flavor.

• Preventing excessive shrinkage and nutrient loss.

• Developing appearance.

You must often compromise to get a balanced result. For example,preliminary browning of a roast at high heat increases shrinkage but may be desirable for some roasts to develop flavor and appearance.

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