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Basic Cooking Methods

If you are new to cooking or just want to brush up on some basics, you have come to the right page. Below are listed some recommended basic cooking techniques.

Overview

Cooking Sausage Purchased from Far West Meats

Most of Far West Meat Sausage is smoked and therefore marked "fully cooked", so a simple heat and serve method is best. We do not recommend the use of a microwave to re-heat.

Best way to enjoy your smoked sausage is to barbecue whole. If you choose to pan fry, it is preferred that you slice first before frying, either length wise or in round flat pieces. Sausages cook more evenly when a flat surface is utilized. You can also boil or steam whole, although some flavor will be lost with these methods.

Most smoked sausages are not recommended for the microwave, although it is done all the time, the flavor is usually reduced, as you are bound to lose some of the spices and liquid flavor enhancements when micro waving. Please be sure to cover with a paper towel to reduce splashing of these liquids within a Microwave.

Broiling

Broiling is one of simplest, yet most appealing methods for cooking a steak. It is cooking by direct heat, either under a gas or electric broiling unit or over a charcoal, gas, or electric grill. The two methods, over and under, give to a steaks distinctly different flavors. The mechanics of each are similar. You place the meat 3 to 6 inches from the heat source. Cook the meat on side then turn and continue the cooking on the other side, until the desired doneness is reached. If you are using an oven broiler preheat the oven to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If the oven is electric leave the door partially open while broiling to avoid baking the steak or over heating your oven. Below are some suggested cooking times. Of course your actual cooking time my vary depending on the heat produced by the cooking source and the distanced of the meat from the source.

Time Table for Broiling
Cut Weight Minutes
Filet Mignon 5 oz.
8 oz.
5 *
8 *
New York or Rib Eye 8 oz.
12 oz.
5 *
7 *
Porterhouse or T-Bone 12 oz.
16oz.
7 *
8 *

* All cooking times indicate cooking to medium rare. Adjust to your liking.

Braising

Braising is a method of cooking using moist heat. It is used for the less tender cuts of meat which require long slow cooking, and the presence of moisture to bring out the full flavor and make the meat tender.

  • Brown the meat using a small amount of fat or cooking oil in a Dutch oven.
  • Cover tightly and cook slowly in its own juices or other liquid (water, milk, cream, stock, vegetable juice, fruit juice, or diluted lemon juice or vinegar). Add only small amounts of liquid at a time.
  • Keep the liquid simmering. Do not boil.
  • When the meat is nearly tender add any vegetables if desired.
Frying

Three popular frying methods are detailed below. They are deep fat frying, pan frying, stir frying.

Deep Fat Frying

For deep fat frying use a shorting, oil, or fat with a high scorching temperature well above 350° F. Avoid butter, olive oil, drippings, and chicken fat. An electric fryer with temperature control takes the guess work out of deep fat frying. If you do not have one a heavy sauce pan will do. An other useful aid is a frying thermometer. You can obtain satisfactory results with care and using a one inch bread cube for testing. It will brown in approximately 60 seconds at 365-370° F, 40 seconds at 375-380° F, and 20 second at 385-390° F.

Pan Frying

Pan frying is usually done on a medium heat using small amounts of oil or fat. You can use most oils or fats including butter, olive oil, and drippings depending on flavors you want in your food. You cook the food on one side then the other. When the edges appear cooked more than half way up the side it is time to turn the meat. Continue cooking the second side until is cooked to the degree you desire. The degree to which you cook the food is largely dependent on the the type of food you are cooking and your personal tastes. Chicken and pork should always be well done, while most consider steaks are best when cooked rare or medium. Meat is well done when it is easily pierced with a fork and any juices then run clear (internal temperature approximately 180° F). It is rare when the center is red and cool (approx. 120° F); medium rare, when the center is red and warm (approx. 140° F); medium (approx. 160° F).

Stir Frying

Stir frying is a great way to cook. Most dishes combine both meat and vegetables in a sauce or seasoning that compliments all the foods. It is best done in a wok but a skillet will do in a pinch. The food should be cut into small bite sized pieces and in shapes that will facilitate all pieces in cooking at the same rate. Most recipes for stir fried foods specify the shape and size of the foods to be used. Use a good high temperature oil. peanut oil is a good choice. There are also a variety of "wok" or "stir fry" oils available at most super markets. Avoid canola oil, due to its production of a large number of carcinogens at high temperatures. Sesame seed oil is often used in stir fry recipes. Due to its strong flavor it is used more as a seasoning rather than as a main cooking oil,. Typically the wok is heated with a small amount of oil (usually 2 tablespoons) until the oil just begins to smoke. The the food is then added and cooked while stirring rapidly to prevent it from burning. When the food is just about done a cooking sauce is often added, then thickened before serving. The important thing to remember with stir frying is to use a good hot heat source.

Meat Handling

Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling all meat. Use only clean surfaces for placing raw meat on. Wash any surface (cutting board, plate, platter, etc. ) that raw meat was placed upon with hot soapy water or detergent before placing any other food on it. Rinse well in hot water. This is especially important for cutting boards.

Thawing Meat

The best place to thaw meat is the refrigerator. If you are cooking steaks or chops place the meat in the refrigerator the day before you intend to cook it. If you are cooking a roast give it two to three days. This reduces the risk of any bacterial growth. Thawing meat at room temperature is not recommended. For a quick thaw, place the meat, still in its vacuum sealed bag, in cold water one to two hours before cooking for smaller cuts such as steaks and two to four hours for larger cuts such as roasts. You may also use a microwave oven for thawing meat but be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions for defrosting various meats.

Refreezing Meat

Refreezing meat is not a problem. It will not effect the taste or safety of the meat. However, multiple times of thawing and refreezing can degrade the texture of meat. As long as the meat is still good and has remained cool, placing it back into the freezer is OK.


Far West Meats, Meat Packers, Highland, CA