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Archive for July, 2009

What is Kosher Meat?

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Barbeque meat

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

How to barbeque meat properly

After bursting crackers, they say, the most common activity in America on the 4th of July is setting up a barbeque in your own garden or in the community park and then inviting your friends and relatives over.

From steak to lamb, from chicken and  poultry to fish, hamburgers and  an assortment of sausages, to  kabobs and skewers, the only thing that matters is how well you barbeque your meat. Please remember that your meat should be well-cooked in order to kill all bacteria and other potentially harmful things that lurk in the layers of meat, but if it is over-cooked, burned or charred, that too it is harmful. Make sure the coal being used is neither too hot nor too cold. If the coal is too hot the outer portion of your meat is cooked quickly, even charred, while the inner part is still raw. So in both ways you are consuming harmfully barbequed meat. A good way of knowing the right temperature is put your hand over the coals and if you can keep it there for 3 seconds without burning it means it’s a good barbeque heat. It often takes time to barbeque various varieties of meat so you should be quite patient while barbequing your meat; in fact it may take anywhere between five to six hours to make your meat tender and edible. For gas grills, make sure the flame is properly adjusted for optimal temperature

In order to make sure the flames under the skewer or the grill don’t reach your meat, you should keep dousing them with water. You can use a spray water bottle for this. To render a pleasant taste you can put spicy sauce over your meat and you can also prepare a special marinade to make your meat soft and palatable. Marinating meat before barbequing it tremendously improves its taste and texture. Some also prefer to use vinegar or wine as barbeque sauce, but you can let your imagination run wild and prepare your own barbeque sauce with whatever ingredients you have access to. Just make sure that you put the sauce when you are almost done because otherwise it will get burnt and create unpleasant deposits on your meat.

You can also use vegetable and fruit seasonings with your barbeque.  The best vegetables and fruits that you can use for grilling are capsicum, potatoes, onions, corn, eggplant, zucchini.  Some of the fruits: pears, pineapples, apples, grapes, apricots, plums and peaches.

Negative effects of charred meat

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

If meat is a regular inclusion in your lunch and dinner, then you and your family derive most of your nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc and the other essential amino acids from your non-vegetarian diet. Unfortunately, your meat can also be a source of pancreatic cancer and various forms of food poisoning or gastrointestinal infections if not cooked properly.

When you are grilling or roasting your meat there is a great chance of it getting burned or charred, and, in fact, it is such a common occurrence that many people actually prefer to eat their meat slightly burned. This approach is not advised.

Recent studies have linked charred-meat-consumption with increased incidents of pancreatic cancer – folks who eat burned or charred meat have 60% more chance of suffering from pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with approximately 32,000 deaths per year. Charred meat contains several known carcinogenic chemicals, including heterocyclic amines. Your meat should be well-cooked, but it should be cooked over a low heat for a long period of time.

Other human studies have demonstrated that eating a lot of grilled meats increases the risk of certain types of cancer. But The National Cancer Institute admits that it is unable to establish how much charred meat ingestion will lead to an increased cancer risk.

You don’t need to stop grilling or cooking meats altogether, but here are some things to consider if you’d rather be safe than sorry:

When you grill your meat outside:

* Do not burn or char the meat
* Do not place meat directly over burning coals in order to avoid flare-ups when fat drips down
* Place your meat on the grill only after the coals have cooled to embers. If using a gas grill, make sure you adjust the gas flow and rack distance
* Scrape off, or cut any charred and blackened meat.
* Precook your meat by boiling it, and then cook it over the coals just enough to capture flavor.

When cooking meat inside:

* Try roasting or stewing your meat for longer periods of time at lower temperatures.
* Avoid cooking meat for a long time and stay away from high heat.

How to marinate meat

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Marinating Meat and Marinade preparation 

Many meats are hard to chew and digest even when they are cooked well; they become tender and flavored when you marinate them in a well-prepared marinade. But marination doesn’t simply mean soaking the meat in the marinade and then getting to eat your favorite meat recipe. Marinate haphazardly and you’ve spoiled the meat beyond recovery.

There are certain dissolving enzymes in the marinade that help you soften your meat before you cook it. When you marinate meat the enzymes break down muscles and connective proteins that make it hard in the first place. But these muscles and proteins also hold back the juice in the meat and when they are disintegrated due to marination or some other natural process that juice is lost, leaving the meat harder than before, sometimes. You have to marinate your meat in such a manner that it remains succulent after it has been cooked.

Have you ever ended up with a mushy outer layer and a still-hard inner portion after having marinated your meat? This happens when you leave large chunks of meat in the marinade; for the chemical reaction to ensue, for the enzymes to do their job, direct contact with the marinade is very important. Even piercing your meat chunks with random holes doesn’t work properly. Flat, thin cuts of meat benefit most from tenderizing marinades; this way your meat becomes tender without losing its juice.

How to prepare a marinade:

Some people marinate their meat by keeping it soaked in a mixture of vinegar and water. Keep the amount of vinegar to the level of your palate – for instance, half-a-cup of vinegar diluted with water. You can also vary the amount according to the servings you are planning to prepare. If you don’t like vinegar you can also use lime, or wine for that matter; just make sure you like the taste of the wine you are using to prepare the marinade.

For an exotic touch of the Oriental you can add spices like clove, gram flour, turmeric, ginger, chili and garlic to curd and then marinate your meat in that mixture. You can also buy ready-made tandoori masala and stuff your meat with that.

How to marinate:

You shouldn’t marinate your meat under room temperature. After making sure that your meat is properly submerged in or wrapped inside your marinade, put it in a sealable plastic bag, make sure there remains minimum air inside, seal it, and put it inside your refrigerator. It should be marinated for at least 6 hours, and in between, remember to shake the bag so that no part is left untouched by the marinade.

Take it out after the time has elapsed, let the meat come to the room temperature, and then cook it. Before cooking you can dispose of the marinade, but some people prefer to use it as extra garnishing of gravy.

 

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