SOWELA’s Culinary team shares tips for your 4th of July cook out
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The 4th of July is filled with fireworks, friends, and most importantly...food! So, if you’re still trying to decide what to prepare to impress your friends and family, we spoke with SOWELA’s culinary team who shared some tips on how to master the grill, pair the best side dishes, and store all those delicious leftovers for later.
Chef Roy Angelle and Chef Josh Hutton say that it all starts with selecting the best cuts of meat and identifying the grades of meat.
“Everyone always seems to think that the redness is the color that you’re looking for when you’re picking out meat,” said Angelle. “But that’s just the color for when oxygen hits it.”
He says to look for the more purplish red types of meat when choosing your selection, “You also want to look for the marbling of the meat.”
This helps ensure that the meat selection is tender. Angelle also recommends making sure that your cuts of meat are symmetrical.
For selecting the best meat here are guidelines to follow:
- Red meat should be dark in color and can vary between purple, red, and brown. If it’s brown it simply means it has been exposed to oxygen.
- Pork meat should be a light blushing pink color, while game meat should be dark brown
- Smell is actually the best way to determine whether the meat is still fresh.
- You can easily spot good quality meat by the way it’s butchered. Look for smooth cuts that are uniformly sized and stay away from jagged-edged cuts. Look for the marbling in meat, that means it will be tender.
Chef Josh Hutton says it’s important to cook meat at the right temperature and that using a thermometer with a good thin probe is the best for determining when your meat has finished cooking.
“A lot of people when they buy their thermometers buy the ones with the really thick probes but you want to get one with a thin tip,” said Hutton.
This is because using a bigger probe can damage the meat when attempting to check the temperature of the item you are grilling.
Hutton says ribs should be more on the fully cooked side and to cook at around 175 degrees, “I usually cook my ribs at about 225 to 250 degrees or until they are 190 degrees in the middle.”
For things like burgers, depending on the quality of the meat, Hutton says to cook them at 155 degrees.
”For chicken breasts or anything on the bone, you really want to go all the way to 175 degrees. Now, if you pull it off a hot grill at about 165 it will continue to cook for another 20 minutes but always use your thermometer to make sure.”
For the best cooking times:
- Always make sure your grill is hot.
- Start with a clean grill and oil the grill grates.
- Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check for a safe and desired temperature.
- Always let the meat rest after removing it from the grill. Assume everything is hot.
- Stuffing that includes meat
- Stuffed meats and pasta
- Dishes containing previously cooked food
- Ground meat
- Ostrich meat
- Injected, marinated, or tenderized meats
- Eggs to be hot held
- Whole seafood
- Beef, pork, veal, lamb (steaks and chops)
- Eggs are to be served immediately
- Ready-to-eat hot-held food
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes are to be hot-held
After all is said and done you’ll likely have leftovers from your big holiday meal. So, it’s good to know how to properly store them.
Hutton say to never store something that is still hot and to always wait until it cools down to room temperature. This helps avoid the risks of developing bacteria on the food.
“Something like red beans, you can cool down with a big bowl of ice or transfer it to a flatter container,” said Hutton.
Hutton said that if you are in a hurry and the food is still hot it is better to put it in the fridge uncovered.
“I know that seems counterintuitive but once you trap the heat in there then bacteria can grow,” said Hutton.
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