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Reheating....

Hi There, hoping i can get a few good tips...

In general, is there a method to reheating meats?
Some kind of foolproof method?

I had a disappointment a few nites ago reheating some nice leftover grilled
med-rare New York strip steak that was juicy and pink.
I had sliced it thin and just wanted to reheat for the next nite (with the juices).
I had placed it in a frypan over LOW heat and even so, I turned my back to
make a little salad and next time I checked, the pieces were cooked through,
greyish, and ended up tasting dry to me.... I wanted to cry.

This happens a lot, and I hate it.
I don't seem to have the knack for reheating things well.......

I have 2 beautiful thick grilled pork chops leftover now, and
GEEEEZ I want to reheat them tonite, NOT repurpose them...

I also have a delicious Mac and Cheese to reheat...

Is there a general rule of thumb to reheating? Please?
It occurs to me that this is why ppl don't like leftovers....

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  1. Try wrapping the pork chops up in foil, then reheating in the oven.

    1. If you have time, one of the best things you can do for reheating food is to take it out of the fridge for a good 30 minutes or so before reheating and let it come up closer to room temp.

      That aside, I find meats almost always do better in the oven. That thinly sliced tritip would probably take 8 to 10 minutes (in foil preferably) in a preheated 375F oven. And as Musie suggested, the pork chops would work better there as well.

      But if you must use the microwave, covering the meat with a damp paper towel (damp enough that a little bit of water drips from it) creates just a little bit of steam which helps to keep the meat from drying out as it reheats. And meats never seem to take anywhere near as much time to reheat as most people seem to think they do.

      The mac n cheese will do fine in the microwave, but can also benefit from that damp paper towel trick.

      Also, with microwave reheating keeping the portion small helps, rather than, say, putting half a casserole full of mac n cheese in there. OTOH, it'll be just fine to put all of it into a traditional oven.

      5 Replies
      1. re: inaplasticcup

        The alternative to keeping the portions small in microwave heating is to stir frequently. I can't believe the number of times at work I see someone put something in the microwave for a full 3 or 4 minutes and then complain that it's not hot in the middle.

        For mac and cheese, or other casseroles, I like to reheat in the microwave until mostly done, then throw new cheese or breadcrumbs on top and put under the broiler to crisp up.

        Another tip, pasta dishes need added liquid when re-heating or they will be dried out. When I am setting up my leftovers for lunch, where possible, I chill the pasta and the sauce separately (take my lunch portion out ahead of saucing), so the pasta doesn't suck up so much of the sauce leaving it dry the next day.

        1. re: Sooeygun

          Excellent point about redistributing things. That used to get me too when I worked in an office environment. :)

          1. re: inaplasticcup

            For proteins in the microwave, my "secret" is low and slow. I reheat at maybe 10% power with a little water added to a close container and slowly bring it back up to temperature. A cheap man's version of sous-vide if you will.

            1. re: ScoobySnacks20

              Even cheaper is the bag under hot tap water method, and with less risky results...

        2. re: inaplasticcup

          I realized many years ago that I do not like the flavor of reheated roast meats or poultry. The taste definitely changes. The remedy, as iapc suggests, is to let the leftovers come to room temp on the counter, then cover them in heated gravy/sauce to warm them up. Or warm the slices just a little, on low microwave power. Get used to warm, not hot, as the desired temp for eating reheated meat and poultry.

        3. When I'm reheating nice pink meat slices like you were, I heat the sauce/jus or whatever it is being served with, turn off the pan, add the meat and serve immediately. Doesn't end up piping hot, but it's hot enough to eat and doesn't get overcooked.

          I often have leftover pork chop for lunch at work, I slice and heat for less than a minute in the microwave, however long it takes to just take the chill off and pour my hot sauce over it. Or bury it in my heated potatoes or rice.

          Leftovers may not be as good as the original meal, but they are way better than most of what I can buy near my office and cheaper.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sooeygun

            Sooey, sometimes leftovers are even better than they were originally.

            1. re: EWSflash

              True. there are some things that benefit from a little time in the fridge.

          2. For meats, do this.

            1. Take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temp.
            2. Then put it in a ziploc bag
            3. Then run it (the bag with the meat) under hot water from your faucet.

            6 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              Ditto ..... or put it in a sealed plastic bag and drop it into a pot of heated water (sometimes hot tap water falls short of being hot enough) while you're "turning your back for a minute". Best of luck ..

                1. re: Veggo

                  And if you do this "a lot" it would pay to get a vacuum sealer.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  Correct, though step 1 is not necessary. Hot tap water is warm enough to activate the tenderizing enzymes in meat, but not to actually cook protein much further (unlike water that is heated to a higher temperature). This is really the only good way to re-warm meat without cooking it any further. Try to get as much air out of the bag as possible.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    This is really the only good way to re-warm meat without cooking it any further. ....

                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    I would respectfully disagree. I've reheated many a leftover Steak or Roast Prime Rib, using the low heat oven method, that has not effected the cooked temperature of the meat.....the only noticeable difference is the exterior/surface of the meat on The Prime Rib will tan or grey, but the interior of the meat will stay rare or medium-rare as originally cooked..While I cannot argue with you on the scientific end, I can tell you the short 10-20 minutes inside will turn a cold firm steak....into a soft warm steak. I can't imagine a 200* oven temperature cooking the meat any further, as I have never seen even the slightest hint of a ring developing, indicating meat has been cooked by heat penetration.

                    I've mentioned on Home Cooking how I feel a longer rest is my preference for holding meats. Others have used my method of cooking roasts to temperature, then holding roasts for two hours before serving, before re-warming for up to 30 minutes at 250* and finishing with a 450* blast. They all responded the meat on the second phase is not recooked to a higher temperature than they originally intended or expected..

                    The low oven method works well with other meats or poultry too, e.g., pork chops or fried chicken

                3. "This happens a lot, and I hate it."

                  What, overcooking?

                  Do you think it might have something to do with "I turned my back", left the stove and took the time to make a salad? I do.

                  Especially when you are cooking for a second time thinly sliced meat that has by definition been cooked once already.

                  My great kitchen credo is you can always cook it more, you can never cook it less. Just because you are doing something else doesn't mean that the food in the pan is, it's still cooking. Stay on top of it.