Despite the health concerns of dieticians, nutritionists and the medical profession who are concerned about calories and fat content, beef remains among the most popular choices for Americans as a staple of their diet. In fact, new dietetic research suggests two or three servings of red meat is actually important and beneficial! Beef is relatively easy to prepare and it can cook quickly, depending on the cut. Certain types of beef that are lower in fat content require longer cooking to prevent it from being tough and chewy. The key to a delicious meal is knowing the proper method for cooking the type of beef you are using.
Grilling or Broiling. Typically, meat that has a fair bit of fat throughout (called “marbling”) will fare better from this quick, high-heat method of cooking. The rib eye steak, T-bone steak and strip steak are all best prepared by grilling or broiling. These methods will allow the steaks to cook quickly and sear. That will keep the juices inside the meat and allow it to have maximum flavor. Ground beef – used for hamburgers – often works best when broiled or prepared on the grill, but be aware of the fat-to-lean ratio on your ground beef. That info is usually listed on the package, and the higher the fat content, the more flavorful your beef will be. Flank steaks can also be cooked on the grill or the broiler, but have to be cooked even more quickly than the other steaks to keep them from drying out, since it contains less fat.
Stir Frying. This has become a popular way of preparing beef in North America during the last 30 years. It has been a standard way of preparing beef in Asian countries for much longer. Typically, lower-quality types of beef, should as top round, shell, or “London Broil” are good candidates for stir frying. This is because these types of meat are from parts of the cow that aren’t as tender, and thus will become stringy and tough when cooked. By cutting the meat into small pieces and cooking it very quickly, the meat ends up being more enjoyable.
Roasting. The dry convection or “roasting” process takes significantly longer than grilling, broiling or stir frying. Typically, this type of cooking is perfect for cuts of beef that have a good amount of fat, and are thicker. These cuts, known as “roasts” respond well to a longer type of low-heat cooking. Perfect cuts for this include a standing rib roast (sometimes called a “Prime Rib Roast“), eye round roast, and even a tenderloin roast (sometimes called a “chateaubriand“). For added flavor, try wrapping your roasts in smaller, thing pieces of beef, or even bacon. The moisture from that exterior meat will help keep your beef juicy throughout the cooking process!
Braising. For lean, tough roasts, such as a chuck roast, seven bone roast (named as such because of the “7″ shaped bone in it) and other types of pot roast like bottom round, braising is ideal. This is because these types of meat see a lot of exercise while the cow is alive, making the meat tough and stringy. On top of that, they’re typically very lean, meaning there’s no enough fat to withstand a dry cooking method, like traditional oven roasting. Braising is essentially a long, slow, very low-heat cooking method that involves using a liquid to help cook the meat. It could be water, but wine, beer, and almost any other flavorful liquid can be added. The Crock Pot was pretty much made for this type of cooking. The added moisture helps keep the meat from drying out, and although the process can take many hours, the result should be super-tender meat!