Heather Travis Beef Information Centre
A card-carrying carnivore and voracious vegetable lover, Heather Travis left life in the city for life in the country and now boasts an extensive rubber boot collection.
An avid home cook and trained eater, Heather is an expert in how to buy, cook, eat and enjoy Canadian beef.
Heather Travis is Director, Public Relations for the Beef Information Centre.
DIRECTOR, PUBLIC RELATIONS
Beef Information Centre
Plaza 4, Suit 101, 2000 Argentia Road
T: 905-821-4900 ext. 215
Toll Free: 1 866 953 0665 ext 215
Current Article: May 2011
Summer Barbecue Myths and Truths
Heather Travis, Beef Information Centre
Since prime grilling season is fast approaching, we thought we could sort out a few common grilling myths to help you enjoy summer grilling at its best.
Myth: Cook burgers until no longer pink inside and juices run clear.
Truth: Let’s put an end to this colour confusion. Numerous studies have shown you can’t judge beef doneness by looking at its colour or juices. Burgers can be brown in the centre even when they are not cooked through OR pink even when they are cooked. Cook burgers to an internal temperature of 160F/71C, testing internal temperature with a digital rapid-read thermometer to know if they are done.
Want to learn how to cook beef like a pro? Watch this handy video. We’ve also got handy burger cooking lessons and step by step instructions to help you out too.
Myth: Grilling is best done with the lid up.
Truth: Of course the barbecue needs to be closed when cooking by indirect heat or rotisserie roasting – how else would it cook like an oven? But cooking with the lid down even when grilling has advantages too. Keeping the lid down cooks the meat faster and more evenly. The more you lift the lid, the longer it takes to cook.
Myth: A Barbecue Fork is the perfect tool for flipping your steaks.
Truth: Using a barbecue fork is the easiest way to drain your beautiful Canadian Beef steaks of their precious juices. The best way to flip a steak is using tongs.
Myth: To cook a steak properly you should flip it frequently.
Truth: The perfect Canadian Beef steak is best flipped only once. This helps with even cooking throughout the entire cut of beef. Want to learn how to cook steak like the pros do? Check out the video.
Myth: Poking, prodding or cutting into a steak is the best way to check if it’s done.
Truth: No need to ‘nick and peek’ to know if your steak is done – a food thermometer takes out the guesswork. When close to being done, insert a digital rapid-read thermometer sideways into steak to know how well it’s done. Why? Because just like flipping our steaks with a fork, this lets out those precious juices. The handy doneness chart on this steak cooking page will help you use your thermometer to grill perfect steaks every time. And speaking of juices….don’t forget the best way to enjoy a steak is to let it REST. Once you remove it from the grill (with your tongs), place it on a cutting board to rest for at least five minutes. This lets the juices redistribute throughout, allows the steak to finish the cooking process and gives you a perfectly grilled steak ready to slice and serve.
Myth: Don’t salt a steak before cooking.
Truth: The practice of salting before cooking has long been debated, with concerns this would toughen and dry meat. We found that meat allowed to stand after salting did have increased loss in juices, however, we also noted benefits. Steaks salted shortly before cooking had lower cooking losses and scored higher for flavour, browning, juiciness and overall tenderness. An added bonus: you’ll likely find you need less salt for seasoning if done prior to cooking since more complex flavours develop, not just a salt flavour.
Myth: “let beef stand at room temperature prior to cooking”…
Truth: In a word – NO! We measured the internal temperature of roasts and steaks sitting on the counter and found this practice created food safety risks that far outweighed any small quality benefits – even with a standing time of just 15 minutes. So just say NO – keep meat refrigerated prior to cooking.
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