How to Cook...Meat
No other subject in this site has more meaning to me than the proper cooking of meat. I am a hunter, fisherman, and forager. In all of these pursuits, the object of my pursuit must lose its life for me to be successful. I do not take this aspect of harvesting food lightly. I feel that utmost respect must be paid to that sacrifice. In the modern culinary world, much has been written about what is wrong and right about food care and production. Nowhere is this more evident than in meat consumption. There is a movement by people who want to “know where their food comes from”. While this is fine for those who can afford to be selective, I feel that the majority of people are unaware of what sourcing means to their daily lives and health. My hope is that one day all food will come from wholesome, ethical sources. This will ensure a healthy population, strong local economies, and a sustainable future for our world population. But until big corporations, with strong lobbying budgets and short sighted goals of profit over people still rule the food chain it is up to individual consumers to fend for themselves in the grocery store isles. With the knowledge of how to cook meat properly, economical choices can be made, while still honoring the ethical restrictions one places upon oneself. I am giving the common name in the U.S. for the cuts that I present for preparation. I have organized this chapter according to the cooking method, followed by which cuts of meat work well within each category. My suggestion is to decide which type of meal you want to make, and then go to your butcher and see what looks best in the case. Purchase your meat, and then refer to this guide for cooking advice.
When grilling meats, as in my guide to seafood cookery, there are two things to consider, gas or wood fire? While wood is considered more traditional, gas grilling can achieve very delicious and satisfying results as well. If you are fortunate enough to own both types of grills, then your choice will be based on convenience, flavor, and time. A gas grill will get you there faster, offer more consistent heat, and provide you with satisfactory results. Wood grilling will give your meat a distinctive smoky flavor that is often desired when the effort and time involved are not considered to be a nuisance. Choice of cut should also be a contributing factor in your decision-making process. The following cuts of meat are good candidates for some quality time on the grill: Beef Steaks- Delmonico/Ribeye, Porterhouse, Filet, Sirloin, London Broil, Chuck, Kebabs. Pork- Chops, Loin, Shoulder/Butt, Tenderloin, Ribs, Sausage Chicken- Halves, Quarters, Breast, Legs, Thighs, Livers Game or Lamb- Loins, Steaks, Roasts, Liver Preparing meats for the grill requires a few simple guidelines. First, never salt meat before it is grilled. The salt will draw out the blood from your meat, which will result in a dry finished product. Save the salt for when you remove the meat to a platter and “rest” it. Let me explain what I mean by resting meat. When heat is applied to meat, the blood and water (juices) contained in the cells expand and burst the cells open. These juices would run out of the meat, except that they push toward the center to retreat from the heat. This is why it is important to understand this process as your meat cooks on the grill. If you were to cook the meat on one side only, you would notice the juices would emerge eventually through the top –assuming that the heat is being applied to the bottom as in the case of grilling. By flipping your meat before the juices emerge, they would once again retreat from the heat and push back toward the center. This is what a grill cook is trying to achieve as they are carefully watching and flipping the meat. Once the desired internal temperature has been reached, the cook pulls the meat off of the heat and places the meat on a platter to “rest”. This is the most important step in grilling red meats! As the outer portion of the meat cools, the juices that are trapped in the center return to the edges. This process results in redistributing the juices throughout the meat in a beautiful pink color from edge to edge. Salting meat at this step of the cooking process aids in drawing the juices back to the surface. Once rested properly, the cook can then slice the meat knowing that the juices are where they belong- still in the meat! Have you ever watched someone take a London broil off of the grill, and immediately cut it, proclaiming “Wow, this sure is a juicy cut!” as the juices flow out onto the cutting board? It WAS a juicy cut, but now the slices will be dry, with the center appearing raw, while the edges will seem overcooked. Proper resting avoids this scenario. It is up to the knowledgeable cook to resist hungry diners’ requests to “eat now” while the meat finishes this vital step in the cooking process. This brings me to an important point when cooking frozen cuts of meat or fish. The freezing of flesh also results in cell damage. Because when water freezes, it expands. This expansion bursts the cell walls, and when the cells warm to above freezing temperature, the water inside of them flows freely out. This is why when you place meats on a plate to thaw; there is a lot of blood that ends up on the plate. My experience and knowledge of this process have led me to develop a cooking method for frozen meats that at first seems unorthodox, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. COOK FROZEN MEATS WITHOUT THAWING THEM FIRST. This takes into account the effect that the heat has on the juices, and virtually eliminates the historical notion that frozen meats and fish produce an inferior finished product. With the advent of “frozen at sea” freshness for fish, and because most local farmers sell their meats frozen, this bit of wisdom is very useful to modern cooks and restaurateurs. When grilling meats, be sure that your grill surface is very clean and hot. I like to wipe the grill surface with a cloth dipped in salad oil just before placing the meat on it. This creates a clean non-stick surface on the hot grill. Allow the heat of the grill surface to “mark” your meat before turning it. When you turn the meat, giving it a quarter turn on the grill will provide you with the classic criss-cross of grill marks that are the trademark of grilled foods. Flip your meat over once it has cooked about halfway through to keep the juices flowing back to the center. Unless you are very experienced in grilling meats, use a probe-type thermometer to check the internal temperature. Refer to the temperature chart in this guide to determine your meat's doneness.
The use of marinades in grilling meats is a common practice. The characteristics of sweet, tangy, salty and herbs are all desirable in the consumption of grilled foods. While there are many varieties of commercial marinades available in stores today, I advise that marinades should be made from scratch. This is because commercial marinades often contain stabilizers and preservatives that can make meat less healthy. Marinade choice should coincide with meat variety and cut. For example, chicken marinade can and should contain salt, whereby a marinade for red meats and pork should not. This is due to the fact that chicken needs to be cooked well- done for for safety purposes, and the practice of resting meat with the aid of surface salt is not applicable. Chicken is also cooked with its skin attached, and the skin protects the meat from salt damage.
A good marinade for chicken therefore is:
1 cup Louisiana hot sauce (vinegary, salty, mildly spicy)
½ cup yellow mustard
1 onion peeled and diced
2 T sea salt
1 T ground black pepper
1 T poultry seasoning
3 T salad oil
Place the marinade in a blender and puree until smooth. Place your chicken pieces into a deep-sided pan or dish. Dip each piece of chicken in the marinade, and return to the dish. Let marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Grill over medium heat, turning often to prevent burning.
A good marinade for steaks and pork would be much simpler, the goal to not cover-up, but rather bring out the natural flavor in the meat. Good quality red meats and pork have a distinctive flavor based on the animals’ breed, care, and feed. I prefer to use dry rubs on these cuts myself, but in the interest of providing a recipe for this guide, here is a simple red meat/pork marinade:
½ cup dry sherry
½ cup salad oil
1 T cracked black pepper
1 T onion powder
1 t garlic powder
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, and allow them to develop the spice flavor for 15 minutes. Stir well again. Place your cut of meat on a deep platter or dish. Pour the marinade over the meat, and lift it from the platter to allow marinade to reach both sides. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Grill, rest, and serve.
Rubs for Grilling:
A rub, as it applies to grilling meats, is a mixture of dry spices and herbs. The benefit of rubbing meat before grilling is to impart complementary flavors in the meat while creating a flavorful crust on the outer layer. Many commercial rubs contain salt, which is not recommended due to its moisture robbing characteristic. I prefer to mix my own rubs, just prior to grilling meats, so that the spices are fresh and contain the most flavors. Old, stale spices can do more harm than good in cooking. The basic procedure for using rubs is to combine two or three dry ground spices in a bowl and then coat the meat thoroughly by rubbing them in to the meat's surface. Allow the meat to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to develop flavor. Grill your meat slowly over medium- low heat to prevent the spices from becoming burnt. Burnt spices become bitter, and the resulting cooked meat will have an undesirable flavor. After the meat has reached the desired internal temperature, remove from heat, place on a platter to rest before serving.
Smoking is probably the oldest form of meat cookery. It is easy to envision an early man, placing chunks of meat near the fire to cook. In fact, it is known that the early use of cooking meats has led to the evolution of modern man’s advanced brain. This is because of the relationship between the gut and the brain in body function. As meats were cooked, they became easier to digest, which had the effect of the gut evolving to become more self-reliant, thus allowing the brain to “concentrate” on more complex thought processes.
In modern cooking, the act of smoking meats has evolved as well. Preservation has a role in the smoking of meats, but it should be understood that smoke itself does not preserve meat. Rather, due to the fact that many meats and fish that are smoked, are also “Cured”, preservation is achieved. Curing is defined as removing water from the flesh with the use of salt. Once enough moisture is removed, bacterial growth becomes greatly inhibited. Some regional cuisines use smoke to cook meats without consideration for the curing process. In Texas, beef brisket, and in North Carolina, pork butts are smoked “slow and low” for usually a minimum of 12 hours to impart a distinctive flavor and achieve very tender results. The heat is typically kept around 180 degrees, which breaks down the collagen into succulent tender goodness and
usually these meats are given a spice mix rub prior to the smoking/ cooking process.
Cuts of meat that benefit from smoking: Beef: Short ribs, brisket, tenderloin Pork: Shoulder butt, Ribs, Hocks, Hind legs (ham), Ground (sausage), Loin Chicken/poultry: Halves, Legs, Breasts, Livers Game or Lamb: Roasts, Loins, Legs
Two methods of smoking meats and fish that result in preservation, via the use of a cure are hot smoking and cold smoking. The flesh is treated with either a salt cure or brine. Generally, when we refer to a cure- we are referring to a dry salt mixture that coats the flesh completely, and over a period of time, draws out the moisture contained within the flesh. Brine is a salty liquid that is often used to draw the moisture out of the flesh over a longer period of time. This method is used to preserve larger cuts such as hams. Brines can also be injected into the center of these cuts so that they have a uniform curing process. Choosing between brining or dry curing is left up to the cook’s experience, due to the fact that often either method can be effective on the same cuts. For example, bacon can be brined or dry-cured, as can smoked fish. Usually, a dry cure is chosen if the cook wants to impart specific flavors such as herbs, or maple/honey. Brine may be chosen for ease of preparation and time constraints, or to ensure consistency of the cure. Nitrates/nitrites- Also referred to as pink salt or curing salt. This is added to brines and dry cures when the characteristic pink flesh is desired (ham/ bacon/ corned beef). They are also very important to inhibit botulism in cured meats under certain circumstances. There are textbooks written on this subject, and if you intend to cure your own hams and charcuterie, I would recommend a detailed understanding of the science of food bacteria and its effect on spoilage before you begin.
Dry cure for meats and fish:
100 grams Kosher Salt
10 grams Brown Sugar
Use 9 grams per pound of flesh to be cured. Coat the entire surface well, and leave on for 24 hours for meat and up to 1 hour for fish. Rinse with cold water, dry with a paper towel, and refrigerate for 4 hours before smoking. Note: Smoked salmon is cold smoked at a maximum temperature of 85 degrees f. Trout must be hot smoked at 160 degrees or greater, until 160 degrees f. internal temperature is achieved. Bacon should be hot smoked at 170 degrees f. for six hours, and then cooled very quickly to 38 degrees f.
Brine for meats and fish:
1-gallon water 800 grams kosher salt
8 oz brown sugar
3 oz lemon juice or vinegar
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1 T. cayenne pepper
Bring to a boil and let cool thoroughly before use. When using the brine for fish, brine for 15 minutes, rinse in cold water, pat dry, and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours before smoking. Hot smoke at 160 degrees f. until internal temp is 160 degrees f. For meats, inject large pieces with brine, and then submerge in brine until a proper cure is achieved. For large hams, this can take from 4- 14 days. Refrigerate during brining process. Smoke at 180 degrees f. until desired results are achieved.
The variety of dry seasoned firewood that the cook chooses should depend on a few factors. These are availability, flavor profile, and cost. Usually cooks choose wood that is native to their region, which imparts a terroir to their cooking, while achieving the added benefit of cost effectiveness. However if a chef is attempting to exactly replicate a particular dish from a far away region, and wants to use the hardwood from that region for authenticity, there are costly imports of most hardwoods for smoking. Here are examples of regional hardwood uses: Northeast- apple, oak, maple Southeast- hickory, oak, apple South West- mesquite Northwest- aldar, cedar
The following is a recipe for my famous pork baby back ribs that combine smoking with braising and eventually using a reduction to achieve nirvana. This recipe would make pitmasters cringe, but then again, most pitmasters have not benefited from classic French culinary training, so what do they know anyway?
John Vargo’s Baby Back Ribs:
6 pounds pork baby back ribs
2 large onions diced fine
2 gallons cold water
2 quarts apple cider or juice
16 oz. brown sugar or maple syrup
64 oz. Heinz ketchup
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. ground cinnamon
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Cut the full racks into half. Season them with salt and pepper. Smoke the raw ribs for 3-4 hours over apple, maple or hickory wood at 180 degrees f. Place the ribs standing up on their sides- bone ends down into a deep pot large enough to hold them all and add the 2 gallons of water and 2 quarts of apple cider. Place the pot over medium heat on the stove, and add the diced onion, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer, and turn down the heat until a very slow simmer is maintained. Cook uncovered for 3-4 hours until the meat pulls away from the bone with ease. Turn off the heat, cool, and put the pot into the refrigerator overnight. Once cooled, carefully remove the ribs to a roasting pan. Set aside. Place the pot on the stove over high heat, and bring to a boil. Add the ketchup, and reduce heat to a fast simmer. As the BBQ sauce reduces, it will thicken, requiring that the sauce be stirred more frequently, and the heat be reduced. You will notice the aroma of the smoked, collagen-filled stock that permeates the sauce. This is what makes the ribs so succulent. The slow braising of the ribs break down the collagen, which is retained in the stock. Once the sauce has reduced to the consistency of sturdy BBQ sauce, ladle half of it over the ribs in the roasting pan. Place the pan into a 350-degree f. oven for 30 minutes. Serve with remaining warm sauce on the side.
A classic French technique for cooking fatty meats is to confit or preserve them. This method of curing and cooking meats results in a very tender, slightly salty product. To confit a meat, it is first cured with salt and herbs, and then braised slowly in its own fat until very tender. Usually the first preparation that comes to mind is duck confit. This is made with the legs and sometimes gizzards of a Moulard Duck or Goose.
To prepare: To the legs and gizzards of the duck, add 8 grams per pound of salt, whole garlic cloves, black peppercorns and fresh thyme. Coat the meat with this mixture, and place it covered in the refrigerator for 24 hours. With a clean kitchen towel, wipe off the excess cure, and place the meat skin side down in a thick bottomed wide pot that will hold all of the meat. Add enough duck fat or lard to cover the bottom of the pot with ¼ inch depth. Cover and cook over very low heat as the fat on the legs, melts into the pot to cover completely. Continue to cook very slowly until the meat is very tender. Remove from fat and use in your recipe. Or place the legs into a deep tall dish and pour the fat over them to store in the refrigerator for later use. The legs will stay fresh for up to two weeks when stored in this manner.
Pork works well in this recipe as well.
To prepare, use fatty cuts of pork butt into 2 inch cubes. Marinate the cubes as described above. Wipe them off as described and cook the same as well. Once fully cooked, the cubes can be used as-is, in your recipes or placed in a food processor and pureed. Remove the puree to a loaf pan that has been lined with plastic wrap, press with moderate weight, and refrigerate for 24 hours. You can then slice the rillettes and serve with crusty bread. Delicious.
Cuts of meat that benefit from confit preservation technique: Beef- Short ribs, shanks Pork- Shoulder butt, Belly, Hocks Poultry- Duck or Goose legs, Gizzards, Wings Game or Lamb- Diced shoulder cuts (rillettes)
To sauté is to cook in a small amount of fat over medium to high heat. Many of the dishes that are found on menus at restaurants are sautéed. This is because better restaurants cook food a la minute or as it is ordered. In order to cook as many different dishes as possible at the same time, sautéing is employed as the cooking method. Scampi, scaloppini of veal, chicken fricassee, Steak Diane are all examples of sautéed restaurant dishes. In order for the cooking process to take place quickly, the meat or seafood must be thin or small enough to cook rapidly. Cuts of meat that are sautéed should be portioned from tender pieces. To sauté meats or fish, they should be lightly coated with flour, and then placed into a hot pan with a small amount of fat or oil. Usually, the garnish for the dish is either added to the pan or after the meat is removed to finish the preparation.
Cuts of meat that benefit from sautéing: Beef- Tenderloin medallions, Sirloin tips, Liver Pork- Tenderloin medallions, Scallopine of loin, Liver Poultry- Boneless breast or thigh, Livers Game or Lamb- Liver, Tenderloin, Loin
To stew or braise meat is to first brown and then cook slowly covered in liquid. The important thing to remember when choosing meats for stewing is to find cuts that are high in tendons, cartilage, and therefore- collagen. I have spoken about the importance of slow cooking with temperatures that are below 180 degrees f. in previous chapters. As a reminder, collagen breaks down at low cooking temperatures, and the only way to get them to tenderize properly is by cooking them slowly at low temperatures. However, the first step in braising meats is to coat them in flour lightly and then brown them in the bottom of the roasting or stewing pan that is covered with a small quantity of fat. This creates a nicely caramelized outer crust on the meat that provides texture, color, and thickening for the braising liquid. When preparing stews or braises from beef or game, a small quantity of tomato paste added to the browned meat in the pot will caramelize and produce a rich brown sauce from the liquid. Once the meats are browned nicely, the stock is added to the pot to cover the meat, and the heat is turned down to a slow simmer. This step can also be achieved in the oven in a roasting pan. The oven should be set no higher than 350 degrees f. and the pan should be covered with aluminum foil. Once the liquid in the pan begins to boil, the oven should be turned down to 250 degrees f. to allow for slow cooking. Braised or stewed meats are finished cooking when they fall apart with gentle pressure applied with a fork.
Cuts of meat that benefit from stewing or braising: Beef- Cubed Chuck or Top round, Bottom round, Shanks, Neck, Short ribs, Brisket Pork- Cubed shoulder butt, Hocks, Chops, Feet Poultry- Thighs, Legs, Gizzards, Necks Game or Lamb- Shoulder roasts, Bottom round, Shanks, Cubed stew meat.
Braised Lamb Shanks:
6 hind leg lamb shanks
2 oz butter
2 pounds of Mirepoix (Onion, Carrots, Celery) diced
1 cup tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
6 cloves peeled garlic
3 bay leaves
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup all purpose flour
1 gallon beef or game stock
Salt and pepper
Procedure: Coat the shanks with the flour and tap off excess. Place the butter into a wide deep sided pot over medium heat. Place the shanks into the hot butter and brown carefully on all sides. Add the mirepoix and tomato paste into the pot and allow all to caramelize while stirring gently. Pour in the red wine and cook for 5 minutes, while turning the shanks to coat. Add the stock to the pot, and add the garlic, bay leaves and fresh thyme. Bring to a slow simmer, cover, and cook slowly until the shanks are very tender. Remove the shanks to a serving platter, and reduce the sauce to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and return the shanks to the pot for service.
The frying of meats produces some of the most delicious and juicy preparations available to the chef. There are very few cuts of meat that are typically deep-fried, however. Most people who want to fry meats are already familiar with these cuts. Therefore I will give a tutorial on how to deep fry meats, and leave the choice of meat up to the cook.
Start with a deep fryer or pot that is deep and large enough to hold a quantity of fat, with the addition of the meat to be cooked, and only be half full. You need to have space for the fat to rise or bubble up as raw meats are placed in the pot. This is very important. Additionally, the fat should be heated to 335-350 degrees f. – no higher.
To fry meats in fat, they should be coated as follows:
Chicken, Pork Chops, Steaks- Coat the meat in all-purpose flour, then coat with egg wash (1 egg to one cup of milk- scale up as necessary for the quantity of meat being prepared) and then return to flour for the final coat. Gently drop the coated pieces into the hot fat, being sure they are all covered. Cook until golden brown and fully cooked throughout.
Cutlets of chicken, pork or game- Coat the meat in all-purpose flour, then coat with egg wash (1 egg to one cup of milk- scale up as necessary for quantity of meat being prepared) and then coat in panko or fine breadcrumbs. Cook until golden brown.
The same consideration to roasting meat should be given as when grilling. The difference in cooking method is that the meat is placed into a preheated oven, which surrounds the meat with heat rather than only heating from below. This has the effect of providing the cook with a more consistently cooked piece of meat. Larger cuts of meat can be cooked to perfection when the proper temperature/time parameters are utilized. Generally speaking, the larger the piece of meat to be roasted, the lower the temperature with a longer cooking time should be used. I usually rub a roast with black pepper and perhaps some dry spices such as garlic and onion powder. I rub salt into the roast after cooking, during the resting process, to assist the redistribution of juices. There is a cooking term called “holdover cooking” that should be taken into consideration when preparing a roast. Larger cuts that have taken a few hours to reach the desired internal temperature will continue to hold the heat for longer. This can result in the center continuing to cook further, even after removing it from the oven. The experience will dictate the cook’s ability to remove meat at the proper temperature which will result in correct internal doneness. Besides cuts of meats for roasting, other preparations can be cooked in a hot oven such as meatloaf and pate’. Whole birds such as chicken, duck and turkey are roasted as well.
Refer to the chart below to determine the temperature/time to roast meats based on weight:
1-2 pounds 400 degrees f. / 15 minutes- 1/2 hour
3-5 pounds 375 degrees f. / 45 minutes- 1 ¼ hour
6-8 pounds 350 degrees f. / 1 hour- 1 ½ hour
9-12 pounds 325 degrees f. / 1 ½ hour- 2 hours
13-16 pounds 300 degrees f. / 2 hours- 3 hours
17-22 pounds 275 degrees f. / 3 hours- 4 hours
Internal Temperature of cooked meat doneness:
Black and Blue 105
Medium Rare 115
Medium Well 140
Well Done 150
Since roasting meats and whole birds is pretty straightforward by utilizing the charts above, I am providing my secret recipe for meatloaf here in the roasting section. This was known in my restaurant in the Adirondacks as “Blue Line Meatloaf”. The name refers to the blue line that surrounds the Adirondack Park on a map of New York. We utilized local meat that was raised within the blue line in our restaurant. This was by far our most popular dish at the restaurant, and so I feel honored to include it in this book.
John Vargo’s Blue Line Meatloaf
5 pounds 80/20 ground beef
2 pounds Spanish onion
2 T. minced garlic
2 oz. butter
2 quarts panko breadcrumbs
2 cups milk
3 cups Heinz ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
3 T. dry oregano
3 T. salt
1 T. ground black pepper
Cut ½ the onion into fine dice (brunoise). Cut the other half of the onion into very thin slivers. Place the brunoise onion into a sauté pan with the butter, and slowly cook over medium heat until translucent. Place the ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked onion, 2 cups of ketchup, and the remaining ingredients to the beef. Mix very well to incorporate all ingredients consistently. Place mixture into a large roasting pan and form with your hands into a long loaf that is the same size from end to end. (no footballs please!) Coat the top of the loaf with 1 cup of ketchup, and then the slivered onions. Push the onions gently into the ketchup. Sprinkle the top with a bit more ground black pepper. Place into a 400 degree f. pre-heated oven. Cook for 1 hour or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees f. Pull from the oven and rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with Espagnole sauce or demi glaze.
The decision to poach meat is usually based on a specific recipe that calls for this method. As we discussed in the chapter on seafood cookery, poaching refers to cooking very slowly in a flavored liquid known as court bouillon. For meats, the court bouillon usually contains herbs that complement the desired result. For example, to poach a boneless chicken breast, I would add to cold water: fresh thyme, sage, rosemary, salt, and white pepper. Mirepoix would also be added, and perhaps some dry white wine. The meat should be cooked to just 160 degrees f. to prevent drying out. French preparations such as galantines and ballotines which are deboned stuffed meats are poached in the stock of the animal used to make them. The gelatinous nature of a very high-quality stock lends favorable characteristics to these preparations, especially galantines, which are served cold. Many types of sausage are poached first and then grilled to brown, or poached, sliced, and then pan-fried.
You will notice that I have not included too many recipes in this guide. That is due to the fact that in meat cookery, the technique is the most important consideration. Recipes for meat dishes generally involve side sauces, garnishes, or stews that enhance the meat’s flavor. Understanding that choosing the best quality meat that you can afford, doing as little as possible to its characteristic flavor, and cooking it to proper doneness will go a long way towards your satisfaction with the final result. Once you master the hows and whys of what it takes to cook meat properly, sauces and garnishes will serve to enhance, rather than cover up meat’s great sacrifice to your meal experience.