cooking meat in the oven - always dries out!

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Ted Lee, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi all -

    anyone else have this problem.

    everytime i try to cook something (steak, chicken, pork chops) in the oven, it always turns out really dry and tough.

    i've tried marinating, with no luck. what's odd is if i use something like shake 'n' bake, it turns out pretty tasty.

    i know somethings up because after i cook it, i see all this liquid (presumably the meat juices) in the pan ... that can only meat it somehow "seeped" out of the meat - rendering it dry as a bone.

    so what am i doing wrong? am i cooking it at too high a heat too quickly? i usually do around 350 or so...

    thx!
     
  2. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    You can try searing it first... That helps to seal in the juices.
     
  3. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    You are cooking at too _low_ a heat initially. You want to sear the outside of the meat (preventing the juices from escaping).

    Option 1) Pan sear w. cast iron or other super dense skillet. Get the skillet super hot and sear the outside of the meat until browned. Place the meat into the (325&deg) oven to finish cooking.

    Option 2) Start with the oven at a very high temperature and cook it for a few minutes. Lower the temp and let the meat finish cooking after the searing is done.

    This is how they cook meat at a good steak house (super hot ovens to seer the meat). Covering the pan w. foil can help retain moisture (this should be done after searing / browning).
     
  4. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Also, always let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes (loosely covered with foil if you want) after it comes out of the oven before slicing into it. Otherwise, the juices will just run out onto the cutting board or plate.
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hmm..good tips guys. i'll try them out.

    i usually bbq my meat so i don't know why i didn't think of searing it first before putting it into the oven. and yeah, i *always* let my meat rest ... i'm almost fanatical about that.

    boy, it sure is weird to talk about my meat in a public forum.
     
  6. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    I don't eat much meat anymore (only chicken or turkey), but I highly recommend George's Lean Mean Grilling Machine. Removes a lot of the fat, but it sears on both sides, cooks quickly without heating up your entire kitchen, and if you don't cook TOO long, the meat stays juicy.
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Chicken is really good and juicy in the oven wrapped in foil. I toss in a few diced onions and sliced mushrooms- seal it up in a foil packet-mmmmmmmm.
     
  8. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    Fish is equally good that way - used to make it on the grill. Whole fish, cleaned out, descaled, then some butter, salt and pepper on the outside, a pat of butter and tomatoes plus onions on inside, wrapped in foil. Came out tender as could be. Great stuff...

    Mike
     
  9. Gary_E

    Gary_E Second Unit

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    Don't pierce the meat with a fork while putting it in the pan or turning it over. Piercing the meat allows the liquid to release from the muscle tissue. Use a spatula to place the steak or chop in a pan or to turn over while cooking.

    Regards,
    -Gary
     
  10. andrew markworthy

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    Searing first is a good bet, but on top of that:

    (1) it sounds like you're cooking for too long if the meat is dry. I don't want to encourage you to eat undercooked chicken, but have you tried cooking for a shorter time?

    (2) Searing is fine with a steak or small cut, but a swine to do with a larger joint (or whole chicken). Try covering the food in foil for the first part of cooking to retain moisture then uncovering towards the end to get a nice finish to the surface.

    (3) Whilst dry food is not nice, remember that often a significant part of what's dripping off into the pan is saturated fat, so don't be too anxious to retain all the juices.

    (4) Is it a fan oven? This can greatly accelerate cooking times and dry out food. Instructions in a lot of recipe books are for non-fan ovens, and if so, you should usually adjust cooking times down if you have a fan oven.

    Incidentally, to a Brit, your oven temperature sounds kinda high - we cook meat at 230 (this is the second highest setting on the oven). I'm guessing you're using a Farenhiet scale and we're using Centigrade. Otherwise, you have got a *very* hot oven and you could really afford to cut down the temperature.
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thx for the additional tips.

    andrew -

    1. i actually prefer my meat med-rare, so i don't mind undercooking it ... i guess i'm just doing something wrong.

    2. not sure what a fan oven is, but i don't think i have one. i think it's a "traditional" convection (?) oven.

    3. i'll try cooking it at a lower temp.

    incidently, i just saw an episode of "good eats" that mentioned something similar to what greg mentioned - start the oven high, then lower it near the end.

    should make for some fun experimentation....
     
  12. andrew markworthy

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    Ted, please tell me you never do this with chicken or pork. You're running the risk of some really serious illnesses if you do. Likewise, be sure that the oven is still hot enough to cook your food. Sorry to sound like a clucking hen, but after a couple of experiences of food poisoning at the hands of a friend who didn't follow these precautions, I have developed a paranoia about such things.

    A fan oven is an oven with a fan in it. They circulate the heat more than a normal oven, and are practically universal now in the UK. Actually, we have two ovens in our house - a fan and a conventional one (the latter is far better for baking cakes and similar).
     
  13. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I always heard (on the cooking shows) that pork was ok if it's 'rare'. I'll agree with the chicken, but a lot of chefs seem to talk about peoples fears with undercook pork. They say it's ok if the pork is a little pink.
     
  14. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    I've started using the baby george rotiserie. It does steaks perfect and small roast and chicken come out the best I've ever had. I don't even need to marinade the steak anymore the flavor goes right through and when its pink in the middle, its pink top to bottom and not just in the centre anymore.
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    sorry andrew, i shouldn't have used the term "undercooking". i'll say i prefer my stuff cooked until the juices run clear (especially with the chicken) but, like mark said, i think it's okay to have my pork a little pink in the middle.

    now steaks ... i definitely like them on the med-rare side. anything more just ain't right! [​IMG]

    a baby-george rotisierre? hmm...that may be a good option this winter. i tried the forman grill but never liked the way it cooked.
     
  16. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    As Mark already posted it is often talked about on cooking shows here is the US that it is ok to eat pork that is a little in the pink side.

    In the past the fear was that if you didn't roast your pork to a crisp you ran the risk of triganosis. Fortunately triganosis just isn't the problem it once was in the US pork industry.
     
  17. LewB

    LewB Screenwriter

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    Have you tried placing a small pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven ?
     
  18. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i haven't tried that...what does placing a pan of water do -- add moisture to the air?? intriguing....
     
  19. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    It sounds as if your are cooking too hot for too long.

    Get a cookbook on roasting and a quick read thermometer. Choose cuts of meat that roast well. Cook the meat to an internal temp for desired doneness following the directions in the book. Let rest under a tinfoil tent for 7-10 minutes before cutting.
     
  20. larry mac

    larry mac Stunt Coordinator

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    Ted,

    I would like to recommend acquiring an oven thermometer. They are only around $5. Check your oven at 350 degrees. Let it stay in there until the oven light cycles on and off a couple times (for the temperature to really stabilize). Most people are unaware just how long it takes for an oven to pre-heat completely.

    Ovens can be peculiar. I had an ancient POS oven for 9 years that cooked pretty decent, although it was hotter on one side. Then a year ago we got a brand new fancy oven. I have yet to get that thing to work worth a damn. It's right on at 350, so the problem escapes me. I cook at a higher temp and for longer times, yet nothing gets done the same as I'm used to.

    On the topic of Pork. I would urge everyone that is still under the misguided belief that one MUST cook Pork to shoeleather to check out a recent episode of Good Eats about Pork chops. They will rerun it, they rerun everything eventually.

    Of course, you can't talk someone into changing their eating habits anymore than you can talk people out of smoking (I should know, I smoked for 31 years). Stupid is as stupid does old Forest says.
     

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