At this time of the year we get a lot of in store customers asking us what’s the best way to cook Christmas Meat. I can tell you that after burning my fair share of steaks on the BBQ in my time, I have well and truly learnt, cooking meat is all about temperatures.
When cooking by temperature, there are a few different ones to — pulling the meat out of the fridge before cooking to bring it to room temperature, what temperature to cook that particular cut of meat and most importantly, the internal temperature of your meat once it’s finished cooking. All of these temperatures will play a part in how your choice of meat will turn out.
Meat at Room Temperature
Let’s start with why we pull the meat out of the fridge beforehand. Depending on the size of your roast or steak, you should try to bring it up to as close to room temperature as possible before cooking it.
When you refrigerate a piece of meat, it will be cold, right through to the centre. If you cook your meat straight out of the fridge, it will take a lot longer for the meat in the centre to reach the right temperature to be cooked than the meat on the outside will. This means that over that extended cooking time, the outer layers have more time to dry out.
By bringing the meat to room temperature, you’ll produce a much more evenly cooked and juicy piece of meat as the surface of your meat will not have time to dry out as much.
Temperature and Time
The temperature at which you cook your Christmas meat depends on two things, the thickness of your cut and the type of cut we are cooking. Some cuts like eye fillet are very tender and don’t require too much cooking. You can cook them at a high heat for a shorter amount of time. On the other hand, cuts like chuck steak or osso bucco contain connective tissues that need breaking down to melt in your mouth. To achieve this result, they should be cooked at lower temperatures for longer periods of time. These cuts provide the most flavour.
The Internal Temperature
The final consideration is the all important internal temperature. This will depend on how you like to eat your meat and which cut you have chosen as it varies for different meats.
An interesting temperature I have learnt recently is that an internal temperature of 95ºC is what you need for your meat to pull apart. This is suited to cuts from the shoulder, which have the right texture and amount of fat the keep the joint moist.
Christmas meat cooking tips:
When cooking a steak, our desired temperatures are anything from 45ºC to produce a bleu steak, to 71ºC for well done. Medium rare is the most common preference for steaks and generally suits a medium cut steak the best. To achieve this, you’re looking for an internal temperature of 60ºC.
Lamb is best enjoyed between 60 and 65ºC and pork should be cooked to 68ºC before resting.
Turkey and chicken are very popular at Christmas time and should always be cooked to 74ºC.
Your Secret Weapon
Meat thermometers are the best way to determine your internal temperature and are simple to use. We will have plenty on sale in the shop this Christmas and our digital thermometers make it very easy to ensure your Christmas meats will go down a success this year!
It’s also important to remember to rest your meat under foil, away from the oven after cooking. This will let all the juices set and seal into your meat.
Below is a guide on all temperatures for your Christmas lunch.
- Bleu 45ºC
- Rare 52ºC
- Medium-rare 60ºC
- Medium 64ºC
- Well-done 71ºC
Good luck with your meat cooking these holidays and remember to rely on your new best friend — your meat thermometer!