Here are a few tips to help you get your meat from being great to extra special. Firstly I always find it makes the meat tastier if you baste it throughout the cooking. If you are cooking meat in the oven do this by spooning the juices that have come out of the meat over the meat every 30 minutes for the cooking time. If you are cooking meat in a pan add a knob of butter to the pan for the last 30 seconds of the cooking time, take the pan off the heat to stop the butter burning and baste the meat with the butter using a spoon over and over again until the 30 seconds is up. Don’t worry if the butter goes brown, it won’t burn as you've taken it off the heat.
It is equally important, with all meat to let it rest before you cut or serve it, this will allow all the juices which rushed to the centre of the meat during cooking to return throughout the meat, making it more tender and juicy.
Joint (rib or roasting)
Temperatures: no need to seal the joint of meat, just season it pop it in a pre heated roasting tin drizzled with a little oil and cook as follows: for the first 15 minutes on gas mark 9 (240) then turn the oven down to gas mark 5 (190)15minutes per lb PLUS 15 minutes for rare meat
20 minutes per lb PLUS 20 minutes for medium meat
25 minutes per lb PLUS 25 minutes for well done meat
Steak (1-1.5 inches thick)
Temperatures: no need to seal the steaks, just season them on both sides, drizzle them with oil (never put oil directly into the pan) and add them to a red hot frying pan for the following times remembering to baste them with butter as described in the introduction:2 minutes a side for rare meat
2.5 minutes a side for medium meat
3 minutes a side for medium well meat
4 minutes a side for well done meat
Its very important when cooking steaks to make sure the pan/BBQ or grill is red hot before putting the steaks in or the meat wont seal. Once the steaks are in the pan LEAVE them alone, keep the heat constant, don’t touch them or move them round the pan or this will stop a crust forming. After the desired time turn the steaks over and again, leave the meat until the time is up.
Temperatures:No need to seal the joint of meat, just season it pop it in a pre heated roasting tin drizzled with a little oil (and studded with garlic and thyme to make it extra special) and cook as follows: for the first 15 minutes on gas mark 9 (240) then turn the oven down to gas mark 5 (190)
20 minutes per lb for pink meat
The shoulder is full of muscle and therefore benefits from long slow roasting or braising in liquid such as wine / stock or even tinned tomatoes depending on what you are doing. You can find several recipes for shoulder of lamb in my recipes section.
Season the shoulder and drizzle with oil. Seal in a hot pan on all sides then add to a large roasting tin, and depending on what your making throw in extra ingredients such as some, garlic, herbs, carrots, celery, onions and your chosen liquid, bring to a light boil on the hob then cover tightly with foil and/or lid and place in a pre heated oven
Gas mark 2 for anything between 2-7 hours. (or a slow cooker)
It really won’t do it any harm being in longer, it will just make the muscle and sinew break down even more therefore making the meat softer and more delicious!. You'll know when it’s ready as the meat literally falls off the bone with the introduction of a fork.
Rack (3 ribs)
The rack benefits from being sealed first as this creates a crust on the meat and seals in the juices as well as creating flavour, to do this rub with a little oil and seasoning and add to a red hot pan for 3 minutes a side until golden brown on all sides (remembering to baste with butter as described in the introduction), then add to a hot oven and cook as follows:
10 minutes for pink meat on gas mark 9 (240)
15 minutes for well done meat on gas mark 9 (240)Cannon (fillet from the eye of the rack)
Temperatures:Seal in a hot pan as above then add to the oven on a pre heated tray, as follows:8 minutes for pink meat on gas mark 5 (190)
12 minutes for well done meat on gas mark 5 (190)
A quick note about crackling:
To achieve the perfect crackling follow these steps:
Score the skin of the pork and pour over boiling water from the kettle.
Pat the pork dry.
Rub a few teaspoons of vinegar any kind) and sea salt into the skin, really rubbing in deep and getting in the score marks.
Place in a hot oven immediately and roast as described below.
Shoulder and Leg (roasting joint)
Temperatures:You don’t have to seal this cut of meat, carry out the steps mentioned above to create the crackling, season the flesh and pop it in a pre heated roasting tin drizzled with a little oil and cook as follows: for the first 15 minutes on gas mark 9 (240) then turn the oven down to gas mark 6 (190) and cook as follows:25 minutes per lb (450g) PLUS an extra 25 minutes
Temperatures:This is my favourite cut of pork, I ask for it boned and rolled and usually unroll it and stuff it before rolling it back up and roasting it. Ask your butcher for the bones, place them in the bottom of the roasting tin and put the pork on top once it’s ready for the oven. This really creates fantastic roasting gravy.
You don’t have to seal this cut of meat, carry out the steps mentioned above to create the crackling, then season the flesh and cook as follows:
15 minutes at gas mark 9 (240) then 30 minutes per lb (there’s no extra 30 minutes on this one its just 15 minutes then 30 minutes to the lb)
Fillet also known as tenderloin
Temperatures: Rub the pork with oil and seal in a pan for 2 minutes a side remembering to baste with butter as described in the introduction. Transfer to a hot roasting tin and roast in a pre heated oven on gas mark 6 (200) for the following times:20 minutes for a medium fillet serving 1-2
25 minutes for a large fillet serving 2-3
Temperatures:Season the chops and rub with a little oil. Heat a griddle pan until hot then place the chops into the pan and hold them skin-side down to create crackling. Cook them like this for 1 minute before turning onto the flesh, cooking each side for 1-2 minutes.
Transfer the chops to a hot baking sheet and place in the oven for the following times:
Gas mark 5 (190) for 8 minutes, or until completely cooked through.
Temperatures:With duck it is important to first render down the fat from the skin in order to crisp the skin and produce a piece of meat with minimal gristle. To do this, season the breast on the flesh side. Add the breast, skin side down to a COLD pan with no oil and turn the heat on. As the temperature increases the fat will begin to come out, or render, from the meat. Leave the breast untouched for 2 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Turn the breast over and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes before adding to a pre heated oven on a hot baking tray on gas mark 6 (200) for the following times:
10 minutes for an average sized breast which would feed 1, larger breasts i would leave in for 12-14 minutes.
Temperatures:Season the bird inside and out, stuff with desired stuffing (if using) drizzle the whole bird with oil, prick the skin all over with a fork to allow the fat to render out of the bird and place in a hot baking tin and cook in a pre heated oven as follows:20 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 20 minutes