Cooking Meat without Color




Show Notes

Plant Based Meat

Like any kind of food – including vegetables – plant-based meats can be infected by bacteria like e. coli. However, they are also significantly less likely to harbor bacteria than real meat. So while they will not taste GOOD undercooked, there is very little foodborne illness risk to undercooking plant based meat. In fact, Beyond Burgers has much stronger warnings against overcooking, stating:

DO NOT OVERCOOK. INTERIOR OF PATTY WILL STILL BE RED OR PINK WHEN FULLY COOKED.”

And I can confirm from experience that an overcooked beyond burger tastes way worse than an overcooked beef burger.

Overcooked Beyond Burger

Tempering

I saw a lot of chefs recommending tempering meat, which means allowing it to warm up to room temperature before cooking it. I almost included this as good practice in my video, but took it out, because there were some very loud dissenting opinions that made a lot more sense. Cool meat will take longer to cook, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One of the problems with traditional cooking methods is trying to time the cooking so the internal temp reaches done at the same point that the outside reaches good levels of browning. If the meat is too thick and the cooking intensity too high, the outside will burn before the inside is cooked. If the meat is too thin, then regardless of how hot you make your pan/grill, it can be difficult to get a good sear before you reach your internal temperature. So… use tempering or lack thereof to your advantage. Thin meat? Cook it cold. Thick meat? Maybe temper it and cook it at a lower temp, but not necessary if you don’t have the time. This is why you defrost a turkey, but can just put frozen burgers straight on the grill.

Transcript

So before i was an engineer I spent two years working in kitchens as a cook even going so far as applying for culinary school but at 19 it was already abundantly obvious that the deeper i got into this career the more of an obstacle my color vision deficiency would become… because as soon as I needed to use my color vision to check foods for mold, ripeness, rot or doneness… I was reliant on others. Now the colorblind generally aren’t regulated or restricted away from a culinary career, but despite feeling passionate about cooking, I knew that having CVD in that career would always just pose a check to my confidence.

So instead I am a home chef where I only have my family to disappoint… or poison. One of the most common applications of color vision in the kitchen is checking whether meat is cooked correctly and I have seen dozens of people not only say that not being able to check the color of meat actually makes them shy away from going into the kitchen to cook anything but also several people who have said that their number one problem with CVD is cooking meat. However there are alternatives to using color, and in fact, color is one of the worst indicators of meat doneness. So today on Chromophobe, let me tell you something i wish someone would have told me and let’s regain some confidence in our ability to cook meat properly… and if you’re vegan maybe try this video instead!

Why Cook Meat?

So let’s start with the obvious question of why do we cook meat. Well, humans have been eating meat for about two and a half million years but it’s only been for about the last half million years that we have been cooking it. We probably started to cook meat simply because it was easier to chew than raw meat. When we cook meat it becomes more tender because it denatures or breaks down the several proteins that comprise the muscle fibers of the meat. We probably continued cooking our meat for several additional reasons for example the tastiness of the meat is not only based on the tenderness of the denatured proteins but also the juiciness of rendered fats and the umami flavor of a seared crust thanks to the Maillard Reaction. As well, cooked meat is easier to digest and generally has more digestible calories than the raw equivalent. Now this is great if you are a homo erectus starving in the plains of Africa, but if you are a modern human who’s made a new year’s resolution in order to lose weight well maybe you should instead try the raw meat diet…

…or don’t… because definitely the number one reason to cook your meat nowadays is to avoid foodborne illness. Heating food to above 150 degrees fahrenheit kills off dangerous bacteria like Salmonella, E. Coli and Campylobacter which are a risk in all meats and to a lesser extent in all unprocessed foods.

Temperatures

But these various transformations don’t all occur at the same time when cooking and all happen at various temperatures or temperature ranges so in order to plot them all out let’s look at a thermometer… and yes Fahrenheit because not only are two-thirds of you American – bless you – but also most of the academic literature on cooking meat is made by meat-loving Americans and even though i despise engineering with U.S. customary units, there’s no math to be done with these temperatures so…

Dear Celsius units… i’m sorry… you deserve to measure meat but sometimes you have to give the slow kid the participation trophy. I promise, next time i will use you. Sincerely protan

For reference, here are the internal temperatures that correspond to the various levels and terms of doneness that you are probably familiar with, but my god people on the internet can not agree on this. They argue about these numbers more than they argue about the colors of corporate logos.

Anyway let’s look at how things happen as we heat up our meat. Now up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, not much happens, which is good! …because that’s essentially body temperature and if our muscles cooked below body temperature life would be pretty miserable… but at just 105 degrees one of the main muscular motor proteins MYOSIN begins to change with its major denaturation coming around 125 degrees. Altogether this denaturing makes the meat more pleasantly tender and easier to chew.

125 degrees is also an important temperature because all of the pathogenic bacteria that can attack humans can no longer replicate which means they are still there but essentially hibernating. At the same temperature owing mostly to myosin denaturation, white meats – those defined by their lack of myoglobin – change color from a translucent pink to a more opaque white.

Between 125 and 135 degrees, intramuscular fat renders or essentially melts, giving the meat a succulent mouth feel and in the same temperature range, Myosin completes its denaturation transformation. At 130 degrees, bacteria – which were hibernating – now begin to die, albeit very slowly. The meat would need to be held at this temperature for hours in order to commit effective bactericide.

Around 140 degrees, MYOGLOBIN, the protein that gives dark meat its dark color, denatures and with that denaturing the color of the meat changes from a reddish pink to a brownish gray. This change is the indicator that we are generally looking for when we use color to identify when meat is cooked enough because at the same 140 degrees not only do most bacteria die in minutes instead of hours but also the Trichinella roundworm parasite – once the largest risk in eating pork and other meats – also dies.

Once we increase the temperature further to 150 degrees most bacteria die in less than a minute which pretty much neutralizes the risk of foodborne illness… as long as you avoid cross-contamination such as taking the cooked meat and putting it back on the plate it was on when it was raw… which I think is a mistake we’ve all made at some point.

At much higher temperatures in the range of 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, COLLAGEN – the protein which makes up the bulk of connective tissue such as ligaments tendons and skin – gelatinizes. It turns into gelatin, which (compared to the collagen that it came from) is much tenderer, softer and moister and if that collagen is holding the meat fibers together (which it is in some cuts of meat), that meat then starts to fall apart.

Way off the charts at 280-330 degrees and above, we get contributions from the Maillard Reaction, which is often more aptly known as browning. This only applies to the very outside of the meat and is responsible for the crunchy sear of the meat surface. Funnily enough. the Maillard Reaction is the same process that gives bog people their distinct living-in-a-tanning-salon shaded skin as well as the process that is responsible for the preservation of Paleofaeces: such as this 1200-year-old turd!

…and it’s the inclusion of little nuggets like this that are probably the reason that i will never have a successful cooking channel…

Now everything on this list so far has a positive benefit on the quality, safety or nutrition of the meat, but there are a few transformations within the same range that have a negative effect on the quality of that meat and if you have ever overcooked steak before, you know exactly what that tastes like. Around 140 degrees, collagen – which at higher temperatures will gelatinize – first has to denature. This has the effect of shortening those collagen fibers pulling the meat together and squeezing out a lot of the moisture. By 150 degrees, the meat has probably already lost about 20 percent of its moisture, which doesn’t sound like much, but considering that beef jerky has only lost about 50 percent of its moisture, you can see that even 20 percent has a significant effect on how moist the meat feels.

Above 150 degrees. Myosin’s partner protein ACTIN also goes through its denaturing process, first shortening and expelling a lot of the water (similar to collagen’s process), but also then clumping up and causing the meat to be a lot firmer and tougher. By the time you reach a well-done steak – and Brits, I’m looking at you – you reach a point where you’ve lost so much moisture that you need to douse that meat in brown sauce just so that it’s lubricated enough to be able to slide down your gullet.

…and this brown sauced well done steak is the number 4 thing I hate most about British cuisine right after black pudding, marmite and of course stargazy pie.

Risk

Most of cooking meat is therefore a balancing act between the low risk and high safety at higher temperatures and the better tasting meat at lower temperatures. Norwegian scientists have determined experimentally that for most meats the optimal temperature to reach the optimal texture is between 140 and 150 degrees. This is the temperature at which the Myosin proteins have fully broken down but the Actin is still in its native form. Go above 150 degrees and you decrease the quality of the meat, making something tougher… but you also increase the rate of bacterial annihilation making it safer meat.

For example, the universal recommended temperature to which to cook chicken is 165 degrees, which is completely above the range at which Actin denatures. Does that mean that all chicken is generally overcooked? Well yeah… really… I mean… chicken that’s cooked to 150 degrees I find to be softer and moister and generally tastier than chicken that’s cooked to 165. Plus, chicken at 150 degrees only needs to hold there for 3 minutes before it receives sufficient bacterial decimation… but 3 minutes is not instant, which means that there is some risk involved there.

Are you willing to take that risk? Well, if you are cooking by yourself at home and using farm fresh chicken, then yeah you could take that risk, but if you are cooking brazilian factory farm chicken in a restaurant for possibly immunocompromised 75-year-olds, probably better to stick to the 165 degree rule. In the end it is up to you to assess that risk and choose to have something higher quality or higher safety.

Color

So you personally need to determine what the target temperature of your meat should be but then how do you determine once the meat has reached that target temperature? Lots of people use color – maybe even the majority of people – because using color to determine the doneness of meat is the easiest way of doing so for everyone but us decent colorblind folk.

Red or dark meat gains its color from a protein called Myoglobin, which at 140 degrees starts to mostly denature and oxidize but also goes through several transformations up to 170 degrees. This color change is useful for most people because the transformation is complete by the time the meat reaches a temperature by which most bacteria die instantly. But the starting and ending colors of pinkish red to grayish brown – two colors of confusion for protans and deutans – means that this method has pretty much lost all of its utility for colorblind people.

As a colorblind individual, you could determine the color of that meat through the same methods you use to determine the color of anything: guessing, asking somebody around you, using a color determining app like Color Grab, or using a bright light like a flashlight to increase the color contrast of the meat (for example if you’re cooking in the dark outside on a barbecue). But if you are cutting into a steak on the barbecue to check the color, you are already doing it wrong. Just because color is the easiest method to determine the doneness of meat, does not mean it’s the right method.

When you cut into meat while it is cooking not only will your guests wonder if Freddy Krueger was handling the grill, but all of the moisture that was just hanging out in between the muscle fibers pretty much just flushes right out, leaving you with terrible dry meat. Allowing your meat to rest for several minutes after you remove it from the heat allows all of that moisture that had been driven out of the muscle fibers and is circulating through your meat to be reabsorbed into those muscle fibers, such that when you cut it after several minutes of resting the water will not flush out and it will be retained in the meat leaving it with that nice moist succulent mouth feel.

Not to mention, the initial color of red meat is dependent on the age and the aging process and the transformation from raw to cook is also quite inexact, meaning that color is a pretty bad indicator – at least an exact indicator – of temperature. Worse yet, the subtler transition of the color of white meat from a translucent pink to an opaque white happens at 125 degrees: a temperature much too low to start killing bacteria. Depending on several factors, such as how well butchered the meat is, a chicken breast that is heated to 135 degrees Fahrenheit could be completely white whereas another chicken breast heated to 160 degrees could still have quite a bit of pink left in it…

…and let me tell you it was always a pleasure to overhear my head chef schooling a customer in food safety when they complained that the chicken they had received was not completely devoid of color. So color guys… it is not a useful indicator for us colorblind people but also not really a useful indicator for anybody!

Overcooking

The common solution for the colorblind when cooking meat is to remove all doubt, assume no risk, and torch the crap out of it until the internal temperature is far above that at which pathogens die. if you cook your chicken to an internal temperature of 200 degrees there will be nothing left to hurt you… but also not really much left to enjoy! You will be left with a tougher, drier, firmer piece of unappetizing protein… unless perhaps you are braising!

Braising

The price difference between an expensive filet mignon and a cheap chuck steak is in fact not the french versus hillbilly pronunciation but in the level of collagen. If you recall, collagen makes up the majority of connective tissue, which you’ll find a lot of in bonier, fattier, cheaper cuts of meat. When cooked normally, such as on a barbecue or in a pan or in the oven, this collagen makes the meat tougher and harder to chew and pretty much just plain undesirable.

Recall from this graphic however, that collagen gelatinizes between 160 and 180 degrees which is generally a temperature above where we would want to cook any meat. So at those temperatures of 180 degrees and above, the Actin is completely denatured and therefore all of the individual muscle fibers are quite tough. Now, if you have a chicken breast that doesn’t have a lot of collagen, then those muscle fibers stick together and you’re left with quite a hard, firm, non-tender piece of meat… but if you have a high collagen piece of meat that has collagen that are holding the muscle fibers together, and then that collagen gelatinizes, all of those muscle fibers essentially fall apart. And this falling apart essentially masks the toughness of the individual muscle fibers, very much in the same way that axe body spray masks your body odor. It doesn’t fix it, but you just don’t really care anymore.

think of brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken thighs… basically any meat that can be traditionally slow cooked or braised, where it can be heated up to about 200 degrees for a very long time. These relatively cheap cuts of meat will still taste good because of the rendered fat and the gelatinized collagen, but they will also be able to retain moisture because of the wet braising cooking method that draws in the moisture between all of the loose muscle fibers. Plus, at the same time, it will be super safe with regards to bacterial extermination since we are far above any temperature that instantly kills bacteria.

If you are generally risk adverse that’s okay. You can continue to overcook your meat. Just do yourself a favor and don’t be the sort of person that cooks a sirloin steak to 250 degrees in your oven, because that is the worst thing to do to meat. Instead, you should try to look for cheaper high collagen high fat pieces of meat that you can stick into a slow cooker or braise them or even smoke them. However if you try to apply any of those methods towards a low-collagen meat like a chicken breast or a pork tenderloin, it is going to come out just as dry and bland and tough as if you overcooked it in any other method.

Hell, even when making this video, I got the German words for “spare ribs” and “short ribs” confused and ended up braising spare ribs which were very nice around the bone, but on the meaty side of it… that meat, which had very little collagen, just kind of tasted like overcooked pork… and you can see this even in google results! If you google braised short ribs the top recipes have over 5000 likes whereas if you google braised spare ribs the top recipe has only 14 likes… whoops!

So braising works for some cuts of meat but for everything else it is a mistake and for those, you are going to have to rely on hitting your acceptable risk sweet spot at lower temperatures.

Firmness

Another way of assessing meat doneness is through the firmness of the meat. Recall that above 150 degrees, Actin denatures, thereby expelling a lot of the moisture but also clumping up and leading to a distinct change in the firmness of that meat. One less-than-reliable source on Reddit described the “Wiggle Test”, where you pick up your meat and you wiggle it in order to determine the firmness and therefore how done it is. While this super scientific method may be appropriate for determining bacon doneness, I would not recommend it for any other kind of meat.

Much more common is the “Rule of Thumb” and let me explain… you are made of meat… so why not use your meat’s toughness as a reference? So there’s a bit of meat at the base of your thumb called your “Thenar Eminence” and if you relax your hand and you poke your eminence it should resemble the firmness of a piece of meat cooked rare. Now if you take your thumb and you close it onto your index finger you can feel that it’s gone a little bit firmer and now it resembles the firmness of a piece of meat cooked medium rare. As you continue over your fingers… that would be medium… medium well… and well done meat… and as you go through your fingers you can feel your eminence get firmer in real time…

Now this is a super convenient comparison… if it worked… but the method has got some pretty die-hard detractors and not just because the sign for medium rare has been co-opted as a signal of white power. Like color, the firmness of a piece of meat is far from universal and depends on several factors such as the type, cut and thickness of the meat, as well as the form and speed of cooking. Plus not to mention that I’m sure some of you have some relatively bony thenars compared to my gooey eminence!

…and this is where experience comes into play. You have to know your meat… get intimate with your meat, you know? What i’m saying, is if you routinely fry butterflied chicken breast in a skillet, then during that cooking process you should be regularly prodding the chicken in order to calibrate your sense of firmness for what qualifies as cooked chicken breast. After a half dozen meals then your sense of firmness then becomes a pretty reliable indicator for the doneness in that specific situation… and that’s why line cooks, who cook the same piece of meat day in and day out can cook meat to the desired doneness by firmness alone.

When I moved from Alberta, where steak is the meat of choice, to Switzerland, where cows are the providers of fondue and therefore essentially sacred, I started to eat lamb. I knew how to cook a medium rare sirloin by tenderness alone, but when I started to cook lamb, I overcooked it the first three or four times, because lamb has a tender baseline such that when lamb reaches a tenderness that sirloin would normally be medium rare the lamb is now medium well. I’m recalibrated now but I needed time in order to recalibrate to a different cut of meat.

Time

…and speaking of time, that is another tool in your meat cooking toolbox. The amount of time until a piece of meat reaches its target temperature can be pretty consistent if all of the parameters of the cooking procedure are consistent. That means the type of meat, the size of that meat and its starting temperature, the cooking method, the cooking equipment (such as the pan) and of course the heat intensity. Once you can get all of those things down, then there should be very little variability from meal to meal in how long it takes your meat to cook. Generally, these procedures are called INSTRUCTIONS and are popular for certain processed meats, where you will take a meat of the exact same size and form and [cook] it at a specific temperature for a specific amount of time… but if you can find some consistency and some repeatability in your own cooking method and the source of your meat, then something like 4.5 minutes on either side at medium high intensity could be enough to give you a consistent doneness of meat by time alone.

Now I’ve been moving for a greater consistency with my cooking and therefore, despite being a huge fan of Hank Hill, I recently ditched my propane grill in favor of something with considerably fewer hot spots: my cast iron pan. It was just way easier to cook foods like burgers, which i have always associated with a grill, on an electric stove. The heat intensities and the cooking times in a pan were just way more predictable. In fact, if i ever did make myself a YouTube cooking channel, I would definitely call it “Only Pans”… and I would wear a super cute apron!

Thermometer

So maybe you’ve been yelling at your screen for the past 15 minutes, because I’ve been dancing around the obvious answer… because the best indicator of temperature in your meat is neither color nor firmness nor time… it’s a THERMOMETER. I guess this should have been obvious from the point I put this giant thermometer on the screen, but I just wanted to go over some of the more incorrect, generally “traditional” methods before I started talking about why thermometers are hands-down the best way to hit your target temperature.

There are several types of thermometers and you would choose one that best fit your cooking method. For example, there’s a dial thermometer. Now, these are the cheapest type, but they’re also very slow and less precise than the alternatives. This is what I grew up with and they are still fairly good for if you want to cook something like a turkey that you leave in the oven that you can just stick that in there and look at the face through the oven door.

The second type of thermometer is the oven thermometer or the remote thermometer, so called because you have a probe that can stay in the meat, such as staying in the oven or staying in the barbecue, and the second part, which is the digital readout, which not only can tell you what the temperature is, but can also be set with an alarm that tells you when your meat has reached your target temperature. Now, I’ve had two of these in my life in recent years and neither have lasted more than a few uses, so I’m probably not going to get another one… and if I did, it definitely would not be something like this, that’s so unfortunately dependent on color.

The third type is a pocket thermometer, also called an instant read or a digital thermometer, like this. Now, these can be used… er… they’re very fast and used for spot checking foods, such as if you’re frying something. You can also use it for the meats that you’re cooking in the oven or the barbecue but maybe one of the remote thermometers or oven thermometers would be better in those cases so you’re not always opening the door or the lid and letting all the heat escape, um, this is definitely my go-to thermometer for pretty much anything.

The last type of thermometer is an infrared thermometer. Now, these thermometers do have their use in the kitchen, but despite what movies will tell you, thermal cameras cannot see through walls… for the same reason that these thermometers cannot read the internal temperature of a meat, only its external temperature. Please do not use one of these thermometers… you will eat undercooked meat.

Now, you can pay over 100 bucks if you want to get a thermometer that can stabilize within one second instead of three and literally hook up to your Apple Watch… or… you can just get one of these for 15 bucks which is essentially identical. I actually picked this dial thermometer up for just 3 bucks, but it measures a pot of boiling water at 180 degrees, so… I don’t imagine it’s that accurate.

Now, whether you’re colorblind or not you probably do not have a good enough excuse to not get a meat thermometer. They are quick, cheap and easy and definitely worth it, even if you’re cooking meat just twice a year! But there’s just a few points I want to point out to make sure you’re going to be using your thermometer correctly.

You must get the probe in the center of the thickest part of your meat! As your meat cooks, there is a temperature gradient from the cool inside of the meat to the hot outside of the meat. When we talk about the internal temperature it’s because the center of the meat will always be the coolest part of the meat and therefore the limiting factor for meat doneness. If you screw up the placement of your thermometer, go too far through your meat and end up somewhere near the opposite surface, where it might read 180 degrees… that probably still means that the very center of your meat is still undercooked and your meat is not yet done.

Also if you hit a bone with your probe, the measured temperature could be as much as 15 degrees different from the surrounding meat. So if you think you’ve hit a bone just pull back the probe a little bit to make sure that you’re measuring the meat itself.

Because of that aforementioned temperature gradient, when you take your meat off of the heat source and it is resting, the temperatures within that piece of meat will take some time to equalize. This drives a process called “Carryover Cooking” where the heat from the hot outside of the meat will continue to travel towards the cool inside of the meat and the internal temperature will rise during the resting period anywhere from three degrees for a burger to 15 degrees for a large turkey. To avoid overcooking the PULL temperature – or the temperature at which you remove the meat from the heat – should therefore be that 3-15 degrees lower than your TARGET temperature.

When cooking burgers, the target temperature needs to be higher than you would normally cook beef to because burgers are made from ground meat. With an intact cut of meat such as a steak, there is some resistance for bacteria entering that meat and so therefore the surface of the steak will actually have a lot more bacteria than the inside of the steak. That is why eating a seared chicken sashimi or a Pittsburgh-style black and blue steak – where the inside is still mostly raw – is still considerably safer than eating the fully raw equivalent. But when the meat is ground up for a hamburger or meatloaf, there is no longer an “inside” to the meat and the surface bacteria can get everywhere. Cooking a burger medium rare is way riskier than cooking a sirloin medium rare and therefore it’s generally recommended to take burgers or meatloaf up to 160 degrees instead of the typical beef 140 degrees.

Ground Meat

You can use your thermometer to precisely cook pretty much any cut of meat, but what about taco night? How do you use a meat thermometer on a pile of incoherent meat pebbles? Well, you can’t, unfortunately, and actually, when it comes to loose cooking ground beef there isn’t really a good solution at all. Most people still use color to assess the doneness of ground beef, but the USDA recommends against this since the color of ground beef can vary wildly since it oxidizes so much faster than a comparable cut of intact meat; but they don’t really offer a alternative or better solution. If you want to cook your ground beef by color and you cook a lot of ground beef, then there is actually an app with a very specific tool just for that. It’s called “Colorblind Helper and Simulator” and it’s available in the Apple app store for a buck. It’s similar to Color Grab in that it uses the camera of your phone to ascertain the color of the thing you’re looking at, but in this case, it is only working with ground beef. So it tells you whether your ground beef is done, but it really goes a step further and overlays a blue and yellow pattern over the image of your ground beef to tell you what is done and what is not.

Very cool concept, but even if I wasn’t an android guy I’m not sure I would use it for the simple reason that I prefer overcooked ground beef. Generally, overcooking will dry and toughen out the meat, but in the case of ground beef, when you put it into another dish, I find that the toughness is actually an advantage, such that you can still feel the meat in the dish that it’s in. Plus, the dryness of the meat doesn’t matter when it will literally (90% of the time) end up in a casserole, or a Bolognese, or a chili or something that has its own moisture. So overcook your meat pebbles and use a thermometer for everything else.

Sous Vide

But let’s get real for a second, because this conversation would not be complete unless I introduced you to the God Tier of meat cooking: sous-vide. The whole point of sous-vide is that you can maintain a low target temperature, such that you can be in that nice sweet spot for texture and quality, yet you don’t have to sacrifice on the safety of that meat. How do we get the best of both worlds? Well, sous-vide is one type of Long Time; Low Temp cooking and follows these steps: So you put your meat in a plastic bag, then you take a bin of water and you heat that up to the target temperature of your meat and use a special device to circulate and heat that water to maintain the exact temperature of that water bath. You let that meat bag soak in the water bath for hours until the water bath and the internal temperature of the meat are at the same temperature, then you take it out and you put it on a very hot pan to sear the outside of that meat such that you get the nice crispy Maillard Reaction that is otherwise not achievable from the water bath alone… and the result is pretty much meat perfection.

Now I’ll be honest, I am on record as being a detractor of sous-vide for calling my friend a “Boil Bro” when he started evangelizing the benefits of it to me, but I had a pretty good reason: “Another good method is sous-vide, do you ever sous-vide things?”

But even a broken clock is right twice a day and I feel like I’m allowed to agree with Joe Rogan every once in a while. Let’s look at some of the benefits of sous-vide. It is impossible to overcook meat because the meat can never get hotter than the regulated water bath that it is in. Number two, if you let the meat bathe for long enough, it is also impossible to undercook the meat. Number three, the longer you hold a piece of meat at a given temperature the more bacteria die. In fact, if you hold the steak for two hours at 130 degrees, you kill the same percentage of bacteria as if you hold it at 150 degrees for only one minute. Number four, there will be no temperature gradient in the meat: every piece of meat within your steak or whatever you’re cooking will be the same temperature, and be equal to the target temperature that you set the water bath at. This is way better than traditional cooking methods, where necessarily you have to cook the meat until the internal temperature is at your target temperature which means that the rest of the meat is overcooked. Finally, number five: the cooking process and the searing process are completely independent. That means you can hit exactly the target temperature that you want, but at the same time, get exactly the level of seer on that steak that you want.

Conclusion

if you can get sous-vide to work for you (and you have the patience to do it) then – to use terrible mixed metaphors – sous-vide is the prime rib of meat cooking… but if you don’t have the patience, then you can definitely benefit from a fusion of temperature, time and firmness when cooking your meats. Don’t feel like you have to overcook your meat unless you have a “nice” cut of meat that you can braise, and for the love of god, whether you are colorblind or not, do NOT cut into your meat to check the color of it. So the next time you feel like you are incapable of doing something that involves color, because you’re color blind and everyone uses color to do this thing… maybe consider that they are using color as a CRUTCH for this task and that in all likelihood you could find an even better way of doing this thing without color… this is Chromophobe.

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