This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
When the whole piece of meat is to be eaten, we desire so to cook it as to retain all the juice. This is done by exposing it for a short time to heat intense enough to harden the albumin on its surface, thereby sealing up the juices inside, and then for a longer time to a lower temperature, to complete the cooking of these juices. Can you think of two reasons for not cooking it at a high temperature all the time? Should you choose a thick or a thin piece of meat for broiling? Why? One with much or little connective tissue? Why?
Meat: tough and tender. - Meat, to be wholesome, must come from a healthy animal; to be nutritious, from a well-nourished one. Much-used muscles absorb much food material, making rich, juicy meat. This is, however, tougher than that of parts less used, because the connective tissue and fibre increase as well as the contents of the muscle-tubes. In which parts of the ox or sheep should you expect to find tender meat? in which parts tougher, juicier meat?
The lean of good beef is firm, elastic, and, when first cut, purplish red, the surface becoming bright red and moist after exposure to the air. The tenderer cuts are fine-grained and well-mottled with fat; a thick layer of firm, light straw-colored fat extends over the rib and loin cuts; the kidney suet is white and crumbly. Flabby, dark, or coarse beef with yellow fat is poor; if it has little fat, it is from an old or under-fed creature.
The characteristics of good mutton and lamb are similar to those of good beef, excepting that the lean is lighter-colored, and the fat whiter.
The best cuts for broiling are steaks from the loin of beef (short, porter-house, and sirloin), and rib or loin chops of mutton and lamb. (For other broiling pieces, see table, pp. 186-193.)
For a steak one inch thick, five or six minutes; one and one-half inches thick, eight to ten minutes. (Never cut steak into small pieces.)
Steak properly broiled is puffy from the expansion into steam of the imprisoned moisture, well browned on the outside, and juicy and red, without being purplish, to within one-eighth of an inch of the surface. Steak less than one inch thick loses so much water by evaporation that the inside is dry before the outside is brown.
Put a platter to warm before beginning to broil the steak. Have the coals glowing hot, without flame or smoke. Grease a double broiler with beef fat, place the steak in it, and hold it near the coals while counting ten slowly. Turn the broiler, and hold the other side down for the same length of time. Continue to turn the meat about once in ten seconds for about one minute, or until it is well seared; then hold it farther from the fire, turning occasionally until the surface is brown.1 Just before taking it from the fire sprinkle with salt and pepper, turning each side once more to the heat to cook the seasoning in. When the steak is cooked, lift it on to the platter, spread both sides with butter, or with Maitre d'Hotel butter, garnish, if you like, with water-cress and slices of lemon, or with parsley, and serve without delay.
Have the broiling oven hot. Lay the meat in a double broiler or directly on the rack over the pan. In the latter case turn the meat with two spoons to avoid piercing it. Proceed as in broiling over coals, except that the meat requires turning only three or four times. Keep the door open (p. 15). Turn down the gas and lower the pan, if necessary, after the meat is seared.
1 Reasons for turning the meat: 1. To prevent the escape of juice. The meat must be turned just before the juice forced out of the tissues nearest the heat begins to escape from the upper side; if it overflows, it will drip and be lost. 2. To insure even cooking.
Lamb and mutton chops are broiled like beefsteak, allowing six to eight minutes, according to thickness. Mutton chops may be slightly red in the middle; lamb chops are usually preferred less rare. Tomato sauce or green peas may be served with chops.
Meat cooked on a pan may be almost as well-flavored and juicy as broiled meat, if properly done.
Use a cast-iron, not a sheet-iron, pan, and let it become almost red-hot before putting the meat in. Rub it lightly with a bit of fat from the meat, let the meat lie on one side till seared, then turn it, and continue turning it occasionally until done. If melted fat collects in the pan, pour it off. Season and serve like broiled meat. Turn chops on edge for a few moments to brown the fat.