Q. What is meant by the term braising when cooking?

A. Braising is the use of moist heat to cook a less tender cut of meat. Adding no less than a half inch of water or your favorite liquid such as a broth and cover the container. Maintain a temperature of 325 - 350 degrees F

Q. Is braising done on the stovetop or in the oven?

A. Braising of meat can be can be done in a covered heavy pot or skillet either on top of the stove or in the over.

Q. Is browning the meat prior to braising required?

A. The meat can be browned on both sides if desired. A seasoned flour can be patted on each side of the meat. This browning will add some flavor and color. Finish cooking with moisture in oven or on the stove top.

Q. When braising meat, is covering the pan required?

A. Yes. This lid will keep the steam produced from the liquid in the pan and this steam will soften the connective tissue of the meat making it more tender. when the meat becomes fork tender, it is done.

Q. What is broiling of meat?

A. Broiling is the use of dry heat to cook meat. This method is best used to cook the more tender cuts of steaks and/or chops.

Q. Can any piece of meat be broiled?

A. Not just any cut of meat but the more tender steak or chop cuts broil best. However, some less tender cuts of beef like a flank steak or a top round london broil can be after marinating them.

Q. What is pan broiling?

A. Pan broiling is using a pan or skillet on top of the stove to cook the steak or chop without the use of liquid. Medium high to high is recommended temperature setting.

Q. Does the thickness of the meat make a difference?

A. Yes. When broiling in the oven the meat needs to be ¾ inch to 1 ¼ inch thick. However when pan broiling we recommend ½ inch to ¾ inch.

Q. What is stir frying?

A. Cooking thin slices of meat quickly in a skillet with a small amount of oil on top of the stove using medium high heat. Meat ¼ inch by ¼ inch approximately 3 inches in length is ideal. Add quick cooking vegetables and your favorite seasoning when meat is close to being done.

Q. What is roasting?

A. Roasting is the cooking of an uncovered piece of meat in an oven or similar appliance.

Q. What meat is best for roasting?

A. Use some of the more tender cuts such as beef rib (boneless or bone in), top round, sirloin tip, pork loin and fresh ham. Lamb as well as veal leg and shoulder cuts also roast well. Remember you should use a piece of meat that weighs more that 2 ½ lb.

Q. Should a rack be used when roasting?

A. Yes and no. The purpose of the rack is to keep the meat out of the drippings as the meat cooks and to allow air air to circulate around the roast. So, yes a rack is needed unless the meat has bones in it. Bones will raise the meat off the bottom of the pan and allow air to circulate around the meat.

Q. Should I cover the roast while it cooks?

A. No. Covering the pan with foil, or wrapping the roast with foil, or using a cooking bag is actually braising. Because we are using some of the more tender cuts, braising is not needed. Also, the browning of the exterior of the meat adds flavor to the roast.

Q. Should I season the meat before or after roasting?

A. This is personal preference. I personally like to season the meat the night before. I will rub the spices all over, cover the meat with plastic and place in the refrigerator. Be sure to unwrap prior to placing meat in oven.

Q. At what temperature should I roast meat?

A. Some feel that the oven should be set at a high, 375 - 400 degrees F for 15 - 30 minutes. Less time for a smaller roast. This higher temperature helps ‘seal” the outside to help hold the juices in. However, this high temperature will cause more cooking losses. We recommend roasting at 250 degrees F - 325 degrees F. The larger the roast, the lower the temperature. This lower temperature helps cook the meat at a slower rate and more uniform throughout. An over 8 pound roast needs this lower temperature to cook evenly.

Q. What is the difference between thermostat and thermometer?

A. A meat thermometer registers the temperature of the roast. The thermostat controls the oven temperature. Knowing that both are accurate is very important. You will need to know that the temperature the thermostat is set at is the oven temperature. The thermometer will also let you know how done the meat is.

Q. How do I know when the roast is ready to be removed from the over?

A. First you will need to decide how done you want it Following are some guidelines. Remember the more done the roast the dryer the roast as more moisture will be cooked out of the meat.

Rare 125 - 130 degrees F

Medium Rare 130 - 140 degrees F

Medium 140 - 150 degrees F

Medium well 150 - 155 degrees F

Well over 160 degrees F

You will need a stick thermometer, placing it into the center of the roast. Be sure that the end of the thermometer is not touching any bones. Bones will conduct heat faster than whole muscle meat. You will want to remove the roast from the oven when your thermometer registers about 7 - 10 degrees less than your desired final temperature. After the roast is removed from oven, place it (still in roasting pan) on counter top, cover with foil or maybe a clean cloth for 10 - 15 minutes. The roast will continue to increase in temperature the 7 - 10 degrees needed to reach your desired final temperature. This also helps the meat hold onto more juice -- thus making for a juicier cut of meat.

Q. How long do I cook this roast?

A. As we all know oven temperature will vary from oven to oven. And then to make things more confusing the roast size and type will affect the time. Also, does the roast have bones or is it boneless? These all affect the time. And don’t forget the beginning temperature of the piece of meat. But, with that said, a good rule of thumb that I like to use is 35 minutes per pound in a 275 degree F oven for an internal temperature of 150 degrees F.

Remember that the lower the oven temperature the less browning of the roast. The browning of the outside of the roast will change the flavor slightly. If you desire this than raise the temperature to 375 for the first 45 - 60 minutes and then drop the oven temperature to the 275.

Remember from your school day science class that water boils at 212 degree F. So why cook the roast at a high temperature and boil all the water (juice) out of the meat?

We have attached a link to a roasting chart that you may feel of benefit.


Remember, please feel free to post comments and questions.

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Bacon, Egg and Pancake all in one bite -- or two

Sunday Morning Breakfast

I woke up early one Sunday morning and sat on the couch to watch some TV and just to think.

After fixing this breakfast my wife told me I should sleep more and spend less time thinking.  But, she did like it.

I sprayed a muffin pan with cooking spray and then placed a slice of homemade bacon in a circle on the side of each section of the pan. You can put small cuts in the bacon slice to help it form the circle of the pan.  Put this in a 350 degrees preheated oven for about 30 minutes.

While this was cooking I got the pancake batter and eggs ready. I removed the muffin pan from the oven and took the bacon out of each section and placed on a paper towel while I drained the grease from the pan.  Then I circled each bacon slice inside each section of the pan like before.  Put about two spoonfuls of pancake batter in each section of the pan and place back in the oven for about 6 minutes.  Check yours as each oven is different and the pancakes don't have to be done.

Now, remove the pan from oven and pour the scrambled eggs into each pan to the top.  Two scrambled was enough for the three on one side of the pan.. The other side I broke one egg per section.  Then I place the pan back into the oven and turned the temperature up to 375.  In about 8 minutes the scrambled ones were done while the whole eggs took another couple of minutes.  .

When I do these again, I will add some pancake syrup to the pancake batter.

But, they were very good and really can be eaten on a plate or just grab it and go.  Let cool and microwave for tomorrow’s breakfast as you head out the door for work.

Bacon, egg, and pancake all in one bite -- or two..  It just doesn't get any better than that.  

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Stuffed Pork Pinwheels for a Special Occasion

Boneless Stuffed Pinwheel Pork Chops or Roast


So you are having company this weekend and you want to impress them with a delicious pork chop stuffed with wild rice and mushrooms.  But, instead of the traditional pocket style of stuffed pork chop, let’s make a pinwheel style stuffed chop.

We went to our local major grocery chain store in  town and picked out a boneless half pork loin.  To make this the whole boneless pork loin is cut into a rib half and a loin half.  I prefer the loin half for making these stuffed chops but either half will work.

After removing the pork loin from it’s packaging I placed it on our cutting board and  began to cut this oval piece of meat into a piece of meat that will be totally flat as seen above.  Here's how to do it:

To start, refer to the picture above with the knife starting to make the first cut.  We will want to continue to make this cut the full length of the loin.  Notice that we stated at the thicker side of the loin and not at the thinner or tail of the loin. And as you see in the picture below, you will want to make your first cut about a third of the way down from the top.

Try to make long smooth cuts.  This may be a challenge at first but with more practice using the knife you will become proficient at this.  

And now that you have the top third of the pork loin cut “almost” off but not removed, lets take a look at the picture below for what yours should look like.

Now we will want to turn the loin 180 degrees as you will be starting to cut the other 2/3’s as seen below.

Now might be a good time to mention that a good sharp knife is worth the investment.  And be sure to store this knife in a safe place so as not to get it knocked around by other utensils in the drawer.

As i mentioned earlier, we turned the loin so that the thicker portion can now begin to it cut as you see in the above picture.  In the two pictures below you see that the once oval boneless pork loin is becoming a flat piece of meat.

We were able to purchase a wild rice with mushroom stuffing at the store and followed the instructions to re hydrate it.   However, you can use your own favorite stuffing.  As you see below we have our prepared stuffing next to our flattened pork loin in preparation for stuffing.

So our next step is to put a layer of stuffing on top of the meat.  If you noticed we have always had the part of the pork loin with the fat covering down on the cutting table.  We will discuss this more in a bit.

Next, we need to place a layer of our stuffing at about ½ in. over the whole area.

Be sure to gently press the stuffing to make it a little more compact before our next step of rolling into a pinwheel.  This just helps keep the stuffing together with the meat as you begin to roll.

And now the rolling begins.  Earlier we mentioned that the fat side of the pork loin was down.  We will leave it down but we will start the rolling with the other end. This end is lean meat on both sides.  The reason for this, is that we want to have the fat on the outside.  This not only makes for a nicer appearance but helps the meat maintain it moisture while cooking.

In the picture above we are starting to roll the pork loin into a pinwheel.  

Take your time and be sure to roll it firmly and evenly from end to end.  And don’t be upset when some of the stuffing spills out of the end.  You can just stuff it back in.

Now that you have it completely rolled and it looks like a log, let’s tie it together.  I like to use the butchers slip knot but really any type of knot will work.  Even if you want to tie the strings like you tie your shoes -- that will work.  The goal is to place several strings approximately 1 inch apart the length of the pork loin.  Why one inch?  Well, that is the thickness of the chops I like.  So, you can really tie them any distance apart you want.  The key here is to try and get your strings even distance apart.  This makes for all chops to be the same thickness.  

Ok, you now have a few different options as to what you may want to cut.  You can leave the whole thing as a roast, cut it into two or maybe three roasts, and cut some chops off and have both chops and roast(s).  At this point it is whatever you want.

Can you freeze it? The answer is yes.

So, now lets make some chops and a nice roast that we plan to serve some guests for dinner tomorrow night.

I am going to make my first cut off a nice roast.  About a third of the whole loin will be what we need for dinner.  The rest,, I will cut in between the strings to make my pork chops.  

Just a couple of tips when cutting any meat but especially when cutting this stuffed and tied loin.

First, let your knife do the work.  Don’t force the knife through the meat.  Slice the meat.

And second, try to make as few slices as possible.  This allows for a nice smooth cut of meat and one that is even in thickness.  This will take practice so don’t be discouraged -- keep going.

And now that we have all our cuts, lets wrap them up, call it a day and get ready for some good eats.

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Have the FRESHEST Boneless Pork Chops and SAVE


Several of our local grocers will advertise the half boneless pork loin at a  reduced retail. If you ask they will cut it up for you, but I prefer cutting them myself so that make sure I get the correct thickness of every chop.  And as you will see, we will get more than just chops from this boneless half pork loin.

The picture above shows two half boneless pork loins that we purchased from two different retailers.  As you notice the one on the left has some more fat on what we will call the thin end or the tail.  In the industry this is called a strap on pork loin. 

Just remember that some retailers will sell this pork loin with the strap on and this should cost you less per pound than the other pork loin without the fatter tail portion.

OK, let’s pick a pork loin and start cutting it the way we want to.  For today I am choosing the half boneless pork loin with the tail or strap on.  

First I am going to remove this tail.  You can use your fingers to find the natural seam that separates the lean meat from the fat and then use your knife as you see above to separate the fat from the lean.  Slowly working your knife down that seam so that you remove only the fat and none of the lean -- soon to be pork chop meat.

Now remember, the other pork loin did not have this fat tail and it looked like the one we now have here.  The fat tail portion can be used later for making sausage by adding it to some leaner pork, but for now we will just discard it and concentrate on the pork loin.

Let’s start by making our first cut from the end that most resembles the pork chop.  I like my pork chops about an inch thick.  

And now continue to cut boneless pork chops remembering to make smooth continuous cuts.

We want to avoid using the knife as we would a saw.  This will take a little practice but I know you can do it.

We can cut all this boneless pork loin into pork chops but not today as I feel like some boneless country style ribs.  These will be great for grilling or with some sauerkraut.

As you see in the picture below, we have cut 6 pork chops and have saved approximately a 5 - 6 inch piece that we will make into our country style ribs.  And just for future reference this piece would also make a very nice pork roast -- but not today.  Today it’s boneless country style ribs.

Let’s set these pork chops aside for now. I’ll cover them on a plate and place in the refrigerator to keep them cold.  They will be dinner tonight.

So now let’s make some country style ribs. Let’s take the piece you have left over and continue to cut what would be 1 ½ - 2 inch pork chops.

Now lay this chop down and cut in half as you see in picture below.

Continue doing this and we will end up with great ribs as seen in above picture. 

You’ve done it.  You have cut your half boneless pork loin into boneless pork chops and boneless country style ribs.

Now, let’s eat.

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