Experiment 45

To determine the effect of various factors in cooking less tender cuts of meat.

Braising. Cuts. Use paired cuts. Cuts from the neck, flank, rump, round, or particular muscles from the round such as the semitendinosus may be used. One piece is cut from the right, and a second piece of the same size and from the same position from the left side of the carcass. Pieces weighing about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds are satisfactory for class work.

Preparation. Weigh the pieces. Each member of the class cooks a pair of cuts. Everything, as nearly as possible, should be standardized, except the variable being tested. For example, if the effect of pounding is to be determined, both pieces may be seared but only one should be pounded.

Add 2 grams of salt per pound of meat. Add 1/4 cup of liquid per pound and more if necessary, but keep a record of the amount added. With larger pieces of meat a relatively smaller proportion of liquid may be added. If necessary to add water, have it boiling.

Use covered containers, of a size suitable for the pieces of meat being cooked, such as casseroles, Dutch ovens, skillets, etc. For some experiments both pieces of the pair may be cooked in the same container, one or both pieces being marked with a metal tag or with tooth picks. For other tests separate utensils will need to be used for each piece of meat.

Determine only the total cooking losses. Compare the juiciness, flavor, tenderness, and slicability of the meat.

The following suggestions are offered for tests:

1. Pounded vs. not pounded.

2. Floured vs. not floured (neither piece pounded).

3. Floured vs. not floured (both pieces pounded).

4. Seared vs. not seared (neither pounded nor floured).

5. Seared vs. not seared (both pounded and floured).

6. Covered vs. uncovered.

7. Lower (simmer) vs. higher temperature (boiling over flame).

8. Lower vs. higher temperature (in oven).

9. Add tomato juice as liquid to one piece, an equal quantity of water to the other.

10. Repeat (9) but substitute sour cream for the tomato juice.

11. Remove one piece when the interior temperature reaches 75°C, the other when the inner temperature reaches 85°C.

12. Remove one piece when the interior temperature reaches 85°C, the other at 95°C.

Many combinations of the above suggestions and other combinations not mentioned may be tried.