Lesson 1 – Meats

Safety and Hygiene

Handling meat safely is crucial to prevent foodborne illnesses: 

  • Temperature Control: Keep meat refrigerated or frozen until it’s time to use it, and cook it to the appropriate temperature to kill harmful bacteria. 
  • Cross-Contamination: Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and other foods. Always wash your hands, surfaces, and tools thoroughly after they come in contact with raw meat. 
  • Storage: Store meats in leak-proof containers to prevent juices from contaminating other foods. 

Cutting Techniques

Mastering the proper ways to handle and process meat can significantly enhance your cooking. Begin by learning the essential cutting techniques: 

  • Slicing: Ideal for creating thin, even cuts, slicing is perfect for meats like beef for stir-fries or carpaccio. 
  • Dicing: Best for when you need uniform cubes of meat, such as for stews or salads. 
  • Chopping: This technique is less about precision and more about cutting pieces into roughly the same size, useful for dishes that are slow-cooked. 

Marinating and Tenderizing

  • Marinating: Involves soaking meat in a mixture of acids, oils, and spices. This not only infuses the meat with flavor but can also begin to break down tough fibers, making the meat more tender. 
  • Tenderizing: Mechanical tenderizing, such as pounding with a mallet, or using enzymatic tenderizers, like papain from papaya, can help soften the meat. 

These fundamental practices in meat preparation will ensure your dishes are not only delicious but also safe to eat.