What Are The Cooking Methods For Meat And Why Are They So Important?

Many people ask “What are the cooking methods for meat”? The answer is twofold. 1. Dry and Moist heat cooking methods. 2.  But then these can be broken down into 6 subcategories: Roasting, broiling, pan-broiling, pan-frying, braising and stewing. Pretty confusing right?  But then you have the next question:  Why are these cooking methods so important? That answer is really simple.  Meat cooked by the wrong method will result in the most tender cut of meat becoming leathery but cooked the right way the toughest cut of meat becoming tender. 
 


Nothing is more frustrating than sitting down to eat that beautiful cut of meat and finding it tasteless and tough. Please don’t let this happen to you.  Read on and let’s make some tasty meat shall we? 

Types of Cooking Methods For Meat

There are two types of cooking methods for meat. Dry, and moist. These two methods can further be broken down into subcategories.

Dry

This method uses no water, liquid, or steam. It relies on hot air or contact with fat to transfer heat to foods

Moist

This method uses liquid or steam.  Moist heat will not produce a browned crust. So many cooks or chefs will use the dry heat cooking method to get a sear on the meat and then proceed with a moist heat cooking method.

These Two main methods can be further broken down into 6 sub-categories

  1. Roasting (dry heat)
  2. broiling (dry heat)
  3. pan broiling (dry heat)
  4. frying (dry heat)
  5. braising (moist heat)
  6. Cooking in Liquid (moist heat)

The 6 Basic Cooking Methods

Roasting

Place meat fat side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Do not cover. Do not add water. Searing can be done prior to roasting to develop aroma and flavor on the outside or to produce drippings of rich brown color.  

I want to add here that roasting and baking are used similarly with the difference being that roasting is used with higher heat temperatures of 400 degrees and up. Also, the food already has a solid structure before cooking such as potatoes chicken beef.  

Whereas baking is done with lower heat temperatures of 375 degrees and lower and with foods without an initial structure such as cookies and cakes. Baking casseroles is another example. 

This method is used for large, tender cuts of meat.

Broiling

Broiling is exposing the meat directly to the heat source.  Grilling and broiling are similar in that you cook the meat one side at a time.  With grilling, however, the heat source is at the bottom, and broiling, the heat source is at the top. 

This method is for tender steaks, chops, sliced ham, or bacon. Steaks and chops should be at least 3/4 inch thick and ham slices need to be at least 1/2 inch thick.

Pan-Broiling

Pan-broiling is done in a skillet on top of the stove. No need to preheat the pan. Add little to no fat and no liquid such as water. Cook the meat slowly until browned on both sides, turning occasionally.  Pour off the fat as it accumulates. 

This method is for thin cuts that are no more than an inch thick

Panfrying

If not using a nonstick pan, add a small amount of fat.  Brown both sides of the meat over medium heat.  Let the fat accumulate as it cooks.  Turn occasionally until meat is done.  Do not cover.

This method is for thin tender cuts of meat that have been scored, cubed, or ground

Braising

This method really falls under a combination of dry and moist heat.  Brown meat in a heavy pan slowly on all sides. Pour off the drippings, season, and add a small amount of liquid such as broth or water. More tender cuts of meat may not need any liquid. Cover tightly and simmer either in a 300 to 325-degree oven or on top of the stove until the meat is tender. 

This method is recommended for less tender cuts of meat and certain tender cuts, particularly pork

Cooking In Liquid

Before beginning, you can brown the meat on all sides.  After browning, cover the meat with liquid as directed, season, cover, and simmer until meat is tender.  Do not boil.  

A word here about braising and cooking in liquid. These two cooking methods are very similar with one exception. The amount of liquid you use. 

This method is for large less tender cuts and stew meat

Now that we got the different cooking methods down.  What Cooking method do you use with what cut of meat?   This is important.  After all, you don’t want to fry a chuck roast or stew that beautiful rib-eye steak? Lord, I shudder at the thought!

No need to sit down to a tough piece of meat. If you follow the recommendations on the meat cuts below and the cooking methods above you will be able to cook any cut of meat with great results.

The Right Method For Different Cuts Of Meat 

  The right method for different cuts of meat depends on its tenderness, size, and thickness

Beef

Chuck

Chuck Roast*-braise or cook in liquid

Chuck Short Ribs-braise or cook in liquid

Blade Roast-braise or cook in liquid

Blade Steak-braise or cook in liquid

Arm Roast– braise or cook in liquid

Arm Steak-braise or cook in liquid

Boneless Shoulder Roast-braise or cook in liquid

Boneless Shoulder Steak-braise or cook in liquid

Short Loin

T-Bone Steak-roast, broil, or pan-fry

Porterhouse Steak– roast, broil, or pan-fry

Top Loin Steak-roast, broil, or pan-fry

Filet Mignon-roast, broil, or pan-fry

Round

Rolled Rump Roast*-braise or cook in liquid

Round Steak*– braise or cook in liquid

Bottom Round Steak*– braise or cook in liquid

Bottom Round Roast*– braise or cook in liquid

Top Round Steak*– braise or cook in liquid

Eye of Round or Heel of Round– braise or cook in liquid

Cubed Steak*– braise or cook in liquid

Tip

Tip Roast*-braise

Tip Steak*– braise

Rib

Rib Roast-roast, broil, or pan-fry

Boneless Rib Steak-roast, broil, or pan-fry

Rib-Eye Roast-roast, broil, or pan-fry

Rib-Eye Steak-roast, broil, or pan-fry

Sirloin

Pin Bone Sirloin Steak-broil or pan-fry

Flat bone Sirloin Steak– broil or pan-fry

Wedge Bone Sirloin Steak– broil or pan-fry

Boneless Sirloin Steak– broil or pan-fry

Short Plate

Short Ribs– braise or cook in liquid

Skirt Steak Roll– braise or cook in liquid

Flank

Flank Steak*– braise or cook in liquid

Flank Steak Roll*– braise or cook in liquid

Brisket

Fresh Brisket– braise or cook in liquid

Corned Brisket– braise or cook in liquid

Foreshank

Shank Cross Cuts– braise or cook in liquid

*Many cuts from very high-quality beef may be roasted, broiled, or pan-fried instead of braised. These recommendations are not set in stone just a guide

Pork

Boston Shoulder

Blade Boston Roast-braise or roast

Boneless Blade Boston Roast-braise or roast

Blade Steak-braise or pan-fry

Loin

Boneless Top Loin Roast-roast

Blade Loin Roast-roast

Center Loin Roast-roast

Sirloin Roast-roast

Tenderloin-roast, braise, or pan-fry

Back Ribs-roast, braise, or cook in liquid

Country-Style Ribs-roast, braise or cook in liquid

Canadian-Style Bacon-roast, broil or pan-fry

Rib Chop-braise, broil, or pan-fry

Loin Chop-braise, broil, or pan-fry

Sirloin Chop-braise, broil, or pan-fry

Top Loin Chop-braise, broil, or pan-fry

Blade Chop-braise, broil, or pan-fry

Butterfly Chop-braise, broil, or pan-fry

Sirloin Cutlet-braise, broil, or pan-fry

Smoked Loin Chop-broil or pan-fry

Leg(Ham)

Smoked Ham, Shank, or Butt Portion-roast or cook in liquid

Boneless Leg or Fresh Ham-roast

Boneless Smoked Ham– roast

Canned Ham-roast

Center Smoke Ham Slice-broil or pan-dry

Side Pork

Salt Pork-broil, pan-fry, cook in liquid, or bake

Spareribs-roast, braise, or cook in liquid

Sliced Bacon-broil, pan-fry or bake

Picnic Shoulder

Fresh or Smoked Hock-braise or cook in liquid

Neckbones-cook in liquid

Fresh Arm Picnic-roast

Smoked Arm Picnic-roast or cook in liquid

Arm Roast-roast

Arm Steak-braise or pan-fry

Jowl

Smoked Jowl-cook in liquid, broil or pan-fry

Forefoot/Hindfoot

Pig’s Feet-braise or cook in liquid

Lamb

Neck

Neck Slices-braise

Shoulder

Cushion Shoulder Roast-roast

Boneless Shoulder Roast-roast

Square Shoulder Roast-roast

Arm Chop-broil or pan-fry

Blade Chop-broil or pan-fry

Boneless Blade Chop-broil or pan-fry

Rib

Rib Roast-roast

Crown Roast-roast

Frenched Rib Chop-broil or pan-fry

Loin

Loin Roast-roast

Boneless Double Loin Roast-roast

Boneless Double Loin Chop-broil or pan-fry

Loin Chop-broil or pan-fry

Sirloin-Leg

Sirloin Roast-roast

Sirloin Half of leg-roast

Shank half of leg-roast

American Leg-roast

Center Leg-roast

Leg Chop(steak)-broil or pan-fry

Sirloin Chop-broil or pan-fry

Breast

Breast-roast or braise

Rolled Breast-roast or braise

Riblets-braise

Spareribs-braise or roast

Stuffed Chop-broil or pan-fry

Shank

Foreshank-braise or cook in liquid

Hindshank-braise or cook in liquid

Veal

Shoulder

Arm roast-roast or braise

blade roast- roast or braise

boneless shoulder roast– roast or braise

arm steak-braise or pan-fry

blade steak– braise or pan-fry

stew veal– braise or cook in liquid

Rib

Rib Roast– roast

Crown Roast-roast

Rib Chop-braise or pan-fry

Boneless Rib Chop– braise or pan-fry

Loin

Loin Roast-roast or braise

Loin Chop-braise or pan-fry

Kidney Chop-braise or pan-fry

Top Loin Chop– braise or pan-fry

Sirloin-Round(Leg)

Sirloin Roast– roast

Boneless Sirloin Roast– roast

Rump Roast-roast or braise

Boneless Rump Roast– roast or braise

Round Roast– roast or braise

Sirloin Chop-braise or pan-fry

Round Steak-braise or pan-fry

Cutlet-braise or pan-fry

Breast

Breast-roast or braise

Stuffed Breast– roast or braise

Riblets-braise or cook in liquid

Boneless Riblets-braise or cook in liquid

Stuffed Chop-braise or pan-fry

Shank

Shank-braise or cook in liquid

Shank Cross Cut-braise or cook in liquid

Final Thoughts

Meat cooked by the wrong method will result in the most tender cut of meat becoming leathery but cooked the right way the toughest cut of meat will become tender. By following the above recommendations by no means should you be frustrated with dry, tough, or tasteless meat.  

When I was first married. I totally made my chuck roasts wrong.  I cooked the roast from a frozen state with some onion, potatoes, salt, and pepper thrown in and then covered it all with water.  The meat was tender, don’t get me wrong but there was no taste.  My dad, who was a cook by profession, told me I was boiling it.  My guests would cover the meat with….Ketchup!

I have come a long way from those days. And I hope to help you not make the mistakes I did.  They say you learn from your mistakes, and boy did I.  No longer do we smother our chuck roasts in ketchup:)

I thought you might enjoy this hearty vegetable soup using beef stew meat.

I hope you found this article helpful and that you learned something.

Please leave me a comment below.  I would love to hear about your experiences with cooking meat.

And as Always

Have A Wonderful Day!

Cooking Methods For meat

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