What Are the Cooking Methods for Meat and Why Are They So Important?

Understanding cooking methods for meat, like grilling, roasting, braising, and stewing, is crucial as they impact flavor, texture, and tenderness, ensuring the meat is cooked appropriately for its type and cut.

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.


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


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 six 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 Six Basic Cooking Methods


Place meat fat side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Do not cover.

Do not add water. Searing can be done before roasting to develop aroma and flavor on the outside or to produce drippings of a 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 or 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 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 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.


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 the meat is done. 

Do not cover. This method is for thin tender cuts of meat that have been scored, cubed, or ground.


This method 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 the 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 have 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. 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.



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


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 Roast* – braise

Tip Steak* – braise


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

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 Steak* – braise or cook in liquid

Flank Steak Roll* – braise or cook in liquid


Fresh Brisket – braise or cook in liquid

Corned Brisket – braise or cook in liquid


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.


Boston Shoulder

Blade Boston Roast-braise or roast

Boneless Blade Boston Roast-braise or roast

Blade Steak-braise or pan-fry


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


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


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


Pig’s Feet-braise or cook in liquid



Neck Slices-braise


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 Roast-roast

Crown Roast-roast

Frenched Rib Chop-broil or pan-fry


Loin Roast-roast

Boneless Double Loin Roast-roast

Boneless Double Loin Chop-broil or pan-fry

Loin Chop-broil or pan-fry


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-roast or braise

Rolled Breast-roast or braise


Spareribs-braise or roast

Stuffed Chop-broil or pan-fry


Foreshank-braise or cook in liquid

Hindshank-braise or cook in liquid



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 Roast– roast

Crown Roast-roast

Rib Chop-braise or pan-fry

Boneless Rib Chop– braise or pan-fry


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 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-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-braise or cook in liquid

Shank Cross Cut-braise or cook in liquid

My Final Thoughts

  • Grilling and Broiling: These methods apply direct heat to quickly cook the meat, creating a caramelized, charred surface that adds flavor, much like grilling steaks or broiling chicken breasts for a smoky taste and appealing texture.
  • Roasting and Baking: These are dry-heat methods in an oven, allowing larger cuts of meat to cook evenly and develop a flavorful crust, similar to how a roasted turkey or baked ham is prepared for a rich, savory flavor.
  • Sautéing and Pan-Frying: Quick, high-heat methods that use a small amount of fat to cook meat, retaining flavor and moisture, akin to making a juicy, seared chicken breast or a tender steak in a skillet.
  • Braising and Stewing: These involve cooking meat slowly in liquid, which tenderizes tougher cuts and infuses them with flavors from the broth, similar to how beef stew or braised short ribs are fall-apart tender and rich in taste.
  • Steaming and Poaching: Gentle cooking methods that use water or steam to cook the meat without added fat, preserving the natural flavors and nutrients, as seen in dishes like poached chicken or steamed fish.

Meat cooked by the wrong method will result in the most tender cut of meat becoming leathery but when 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 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!


Q1: What are the main cooking methods for meat?

  • The primary methods include grilling, roasting, braising, and stewing. Each method offers different benefits in terms of flavor, texture, and tenderness, making them suitable for various types of meat and cuts.
  • Other techniques like pan-broiling, pan-frying, and cooking in liquid (such as poaching or simmering) are also popular. These methods are particularly useful for achieving specific textures or infusing the meat with flavors from liquids and seasonings.

Q2: Why are different cooking methods important for meat?

  • Different cooking methods are crucial because they help optimize the flavor and texture of the meat based on its type and cut. For example, tough cuts like chuck roast are better suited for braising, which tenderizes the meat, while tender cuts like ribeye are ideal for quick cooking methods like grilling.
  • Cooking methods also impact the nutritional content and safety of the meat. Proper cooking techniques can enhance the digestibility of proteins and ensure that meat is safe to eat by achieving the necessary internal temperatures to kill harmful bacteria.

Q3: How do you choose the right cooking method for different types of meat?

  • The choice of cooking method often depends on the tenderness and fat content of the meat. Tougher cuts with more connective tissue benefit from slow cooking methods like braising or stewing, which break down these tough elements.
  • For leaner and more tender cuts, quicker methods such as grilling or pan-frying are preferable as they preserve the meat’s moisture and tenderness without overcooking.

Q4: Can you provide some examples of specific cuts and their appropriate cooking methods?

  • For beef, cuts like chuck roast and brisket are ideal for braising or slow-roasting because these methods help tenderize the meat. On the other hand, cuts like sirloin or ribeye are best suited for grilling or broiling.
  • In the case of pork, tougher cuts like shoulder roasts benefit from roasting or braising, while tender cuts like loin chops are excellent for quick grilling or broiling.

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