good loves True Aussie Lamb and Beef
At our recent masterclass with True Aussie Lamb and Beef, Chef Tarek Ibrahim shares the secret to buying and cooking the best cuts of meat.
How do you choose the right cut of meat for the cooking style?
The cut and cooking method depends on the location of the meat on the animal. So for the legs down, cuts like the lamb shank need a longer cooking process because this is a moving muscle. You also need to use ‘wet’, slower methods of cooking for these cuts of meat, such as braising and boiling, so it doesn’t dry out. Cuts from the back of the animal where the connective tissues are soft, like striploin, are more suitable for grilling.
Do you marinate your meat before cooking?
Marinating meat breaks down the meat fibres and alters the flavour. I prefer to enhance the meat flavour with seasoning only. You don’t need to marinate Australian meat – a good sprinkling of quality salt is all that’s needed. I guarantee you will be in heaven when you taste great quality Australian beef and lamb!
When barbecuing or grilling, do you bring the meat to room temperature first?
Yes, you need to remove meat from the refrigerator at least an hour before you start cooking to bring the internal temperature of the meat to room temperature. Make sure to cover it for hygiene purposes and keep away from any heat sources. This is an important step to ensure the meat is evenly cooked throughout – the core and outside edges should all be the same temperature.
When barbecuing, do you tend to turn your steak just once, or move it around the grill more frequently?
If I’m at home and cooking for my beautiful wife, I will flip the steak approximately every 15 seconds until it’s done to her liking. However, in a professional kitchen setting you don’t have the time to do this, so I would only flip once. It is absolutely fine to flip your steak many times – this way you are giving it the rotisserie effect and the meat will cook evenly as well.
Why should we rest meat after grilling or roasting?
Meat consists of about 75 per cent water. When we expose meat to a heat source, putting a steak on the grill for example, the juices come towards the core of the meat to escape the heat. As a result the meat will be dry around the edges while the core is moist. Therefore, the steak or roast needs time to rest to allow the juices to be redistributed throughout the piece of meat. Rest your meat for about half the time it has been cooked.
What should we look for when shopping for meat?
The first step is choose a good source of meat – namely the country of origin, and it should be stamped Halal. Of course the best-quality red meat comes from Australia! Then ask yourself what you are planning to do with the meat, and that will help identify which cut to buy. If you are grilling, look for cuts like striploin and ribeye with good marbling, this will keep the meat juicy and moist. For slow cooking and braising, you need collagen in the meat, for example on lamb shanks you will see veins and connective tissue that will ensure the meat stays moist and tender throughout the cooking process. In terms of the colour, you are looking for a good red colour which means it’s fresh, however if it’s well aged then it will be darker, this does not mean the quality is less. Finally, take the pain out of your mind and only buy Australian red meat! Tell your butcher what you’re cooking and ask for the right cuts. Better yet, go to our website lambandbeef.com for tips and tricks, where to buy, advice on cooking methods and cuts, as well as a wide variety of recipes. Happy cooking!
For more recipes, cooking tips and shopping advice, visit lambandbeef.com.