question about meat cooking times
This is probably a dumb question, but when meat times are given as (for example) 45 minutes per kilo, if something weighs 1.5 kilos- does that mean 67 mintes 1 *45 + .5 *45) or does it mean 90 minutes - In other words - should the weight be rounded up to the next kilo before doing the calculation. Or would I be better just relying on a meat thermometer. I tend to like things to be cooked as little as is safely possible - thanks - Pete
The recipe means 67.5 minutes (1.5 x 45), but in my experience it's always a bit longer than you think it should be.
Buy a meat thermometre. It's somewhat of a cost up front (a good probe thermometre is probably $30 or so) but you can stick it into the centre of the meat (avoiding bones or open space), park it in the oven, set the base on the stove or wherever and set an alarm for the temperature you want.
Don't rely on the temperatures you see in old cookbooks or even on the thermometre itself, as people ate meat more well-done in the olden days.
(CAVEAT: I just know somebody is going to whine in reply to this about how cooking a steak past, like, 80 degrees is murdering it and why don't I just eat hamburger instead. Preëmptively to this person: I don't care.)
The lowest temperature at which I would serve a steak or roast is 125F. That's bloody rare; medium-rare is 135F; medium is right around 145F; medium-well is 155; past that I wouldn't bother. Remember to pull the meat before it hits the mark or you'll overcook it -- 5-7 degrees' carryover is normal and 10 is not unheard of.
Some people eat what's called "black and blue" steak, which is cooked to about 90F. I myself hate the taste of this, and would only eat it from the butcher who supplies me beef for carpaccio, but it's an option.
Chicken really should be cooked to 160F. I've had chicken at 155F and it was a little too pink. Pork -- depends on whether you trust your supplier. If it's the supermarket, pork gets cooked to 165F and no arguments. If you know your butcher and he (or she) tells you it's clean, pork done medium (150F) is incredibly juicy and wonderful.
I'm confused as to what "as little as is safely possible means".. if it means you would rater err on the side of rare then we see eye to eye. I would go with the meat thermometer if you have one and don't forget that if you're cooking a large piece of meat (or any piece for that matter) there is carry over. So, if you take the meat out at 130 degrees and let it sit, the temperature will continue to rise and the meat will continue to cook for a little while.. If I remember correctly about 5-7 degrees or so... I havn't cooked big meat in a while, maybe someone else knows.