HEAT IT: Safe/Recommended Meat Cooking Temperatures

heat it safe recommended meat cooking temperatures

 

Many people who prepare meat are very knowledgeable about food safety, but sometimes the specifics can be hard to recall. For that reason, you may cook “by eye”– judging your meat’s doneness only by the colour of the flesh or its juices. The experts here at D’Arcy’s always follow Health Canada guidelines, cooking our meat to temperature and measuring with an instant-read thermometer. Keep reading for a list of temperatures and what to expect from your meat!

 

63°C (145°F)

Only whole cuts and pieces of beef, lamb or veal should be served at this temperature– and only if you want them medium-rare (brown through the edges, slightly pink in the middle). Steaks and cutlets should be turned at least twice to ensure even cooking.

71°C (160°F)

This temperature is the bare minimum for pork pieces and whole cuts– think ribs, loins, hams, and chops. It is also where your cuts of beef, lamb, and veal will reach medium doneness (no sign of pink). Any ground meat dishes like casseroles or burgers should be cooked to at least this temperature, excluding those made with poultry.

74°C (165°F)

This is the temperature to which you should cook any ground poultry, such as turkey or chicken. Also, this should be your minimum when preparing chicken parts, sides like stuffing or even egg dishes. This threshold is also a good rule of thumb for most game meat and fowl, as long as it is cooked in parts, ground mixtures, roasts, steaks or chops. Whole small animals such as rabbit and shellfish can also be safely eaten at this temperature. Even the lowly hot dog is less likely to make you sick if you bring it up to this level.

77°C (170°F)

If your thermometer hits this number while inserted into veal, lamb or beef– you have a “well done” piece of meat! While not as en vogue as the more “rare” alternatives, many people enjoy a thoroughly cooked cut.

82°C (180°F)

Preparing a whole chicken, turkey, duck, goose or game bird? Remove all doubt by waiting until an instant-read thermometer reads out this temperature when inserted into the thickest parts of the flesh. Avoid bones and cavities when taking the measurement, as this may cause an incorrect reading.

While cooking is all about personal taste, there are food safety standards in place to keep us eating delicious meals for many years to come. Do not take a chance on something that “looks done” when every home chef can acquire the necessary tools and knowledge relatively cheaply and easily. Questions? Concerns? Visit or contact the pros at D’Arcy’s today!

I FOWL TO PIECES: Cutting Up a Whole Chicken in 5 Easy Steps

cutting up a chicken in 5 easy steps
Many of us have grown used to the convenience of grabbing a bulk pack of chicken thighs or a pound of wings. While there is a time and place for this, buying your meat as a full bird and separating it yourself can actually save you money! Of course, D’Arcy’s can custom butcher anything to order, but there is a sense of pride when all you need is a whole chicken, a cutting board, and a sharp knife.

#1: Safety First

Begin with the most important piece of safety equipment you can have in your kitchen: a properly sharpened chef’s knife. Any six- to nine-inch blade is usually appropriate for separating a bird– if your knife is dull, choose an affordable sharpening service. Consider safety glasses and cut-proof gloves, it may seem like overkill but it can help if you are unconfident with a sharp knife.

#2: Legs & Wings

Start with the bird on its back, breast-side up. Pull each wing to the side to find the joint, then cut down firmly with a sharp knife. Don’t force it– if you feel resistance, you are cutting through bone and not the joint. Once the wings are removed, pull the legs aside and slice through the skin connecting to the body.

#3: Thighs

Repeat the same strategy you used to find the wing joints to find the thigh joints. Cut through where there is the least resistance and separate the connected thighs and legs from the body. If desired, separate the drumsticks by cutting along the line of fat found between the leg and thigh.

#4: Backbone

Cut away any excess fat, skin or other unwanted parts from the bird. Using either your sharp knife or a set of kitchen shears cut through the ribs on each side and separate the breastbone from the backside. Set aside the backbone and neck to make chicken stock later, if desired.

#5: Breasts

Lay the breasts skin-side down and apply your knife’s pressure along the bone that runs down the middle. Use a firm, even chopping motion to split the connected pieces into two chicken breasts. If you want, you can split the breasts again horizontally into more manageable pieces.

There you have it! If you followed the steps, you should have eight to ten pieces of a chicken and some bones for broth. If you have any concern or hesitation about carving a whole bird, contact or visit us today at D’Arcy’s! Our helpful, professional staff will walk you through any steps necessary for you to lay out the perfect spread.

BEEF BRISKET: A Cut Above

beef-brisket-edmonton

WHAT IS BRISKET?

Between the rising popularity of BBQ restaurants, cooking shows on TV and gourmet food at home– beef brisket has become more commonplace these days. The term “brisket” can actually represent a few distinct food items, all of which are made out of beef cut from the cow’s chest. Tougher than most cuts, brisket is generally available in two different boneless cuts or brined in salt and sold as corned beef:

  • Flat half (aka thin cut, flat cut, first cut or centre cut): Leaner, more expensive cut of brisket.
  • Point half (aka front cut, point cut, thick cut or nose cut): Fattier, less expensive cut. Often the more flavourful of the two cuts.
  • Corned beef brisket: 
    Cured or injected with salt brine. Popular as deli or sandwich meat.

HOW DO I SERVE BEEF BRISKET?

Depending on how familiar you are with the cut, preparing a brisket can seem like an intimidating process. Luckily, there are two simple keywords that will always save the day: low and slow. Brisket is best when cooked over a low heat over a long period of time, most of which can be unattended. Try the following preparations next time you tackle a brisket:

  • Slow cooker or crockpot: The old stand-by… Slow cookers keep food at a very accurate, low heat and can be left alone for hours at a time. The combined effect produces an incredibly tender and flavourful result– even better: it’s almost impossible to overcook!
  • In the oven: Another simple option that can be customized to any taste. Combine your favourite chopped vegetables, two or three complimentary spices and enough liquid to cover the brisket in a deep pan. Roast for a few hours until tender and serve sliced to rave reviews.
  • Stovetop: Best done over an even heat in a deep, heavy pan (such as a Dutch oven). First, sear or brown the beef; then, add and caramelize vegetables; top with wine, broth, water– almost any liquid– and bring to a boil; finally: reduce heat, cover and simmer for a few hours. Serve as above and retain liquid to reduce into a sauce.
  • Smoked: For the truly ambitious! If you own a smoker, you may already know the process– but not all of us have a dedicated smoker. Alternatively, place a tray of wood chips over one element in your BBQ or oven. Dry rub your brisket with spices and place it off of the heat, allowing it to cook in the smoke and low heat for many hours. Do your research! There’s a reason BBQ pitmasters spend lifetimes perfecting the art of smoking a brisket.
  • Corned: Corned beef is widely available prepackaged or premade, but you can also brine your own brisket. A longer process that preserves the meat with salt, corning produces a flavourful and long-lasting brisket that is used in many traditional recipes.

Let your brisket stand after cooking to desired tenderness. Use your sharpest knife and slice against the grain, producing thin and even portions. Leftover brisket is perfect for sandwiches and keeps well in the freezer.

Ready to braise a brisket like a boss? Come on into D’Arcy’s where we provide only the highest quality and freshest beef, cut to your specifications. We can offer guidance, recipes— even our favorite BBQ sauce— to help you master the perfect beef brisket.

Ways To Cook Beef This Winter

man slicing beef

 

The snow is falling and you’re cozied up under a blanket inside… and then your stomach growls with hunger. If you’re bored of your same old beef recipes, read on for some cooking methods and recipes that will leave you with the hearty, full-flavored recipes that are perfect for these cold winter months.

 

Marinade It

Using a beef marinade is a great way to add flavor and increase tenderness. Marinades contain acids which break down the proteins in the outer layer of the meat, making the meat soft and flavorful.

A few marinading tips:

  • don’t overdo it! Smaller cuts of meat only need a few hours; larger cuts can be left overnight. Marinading for too long can ultimately make the meat spongy (ew).
  • marinade first in the fridge and then let the meat and marinade sit at room temperature about 30 minutes before you start cooking. This will ensure the marinade is properly absorbed without giving bacteria a chance to grow.

Looking for a new winter marinade? Try adding a dry red wine to your next marinade. You can even save some of the marinade and boil it down to a syrup for dipping!

Try A Dry Rub

If you have the courage to step outside to the BBQ this winter, grilling steaks with a dry rub on them will create a crisp crust that is full of flavor. Lightly scoring the beef will allow the rub a chance to penetrate the meat. How long you let the rub sit on the meat before cooking will depend on the thickness of the meat and the strength of the rub.

For a dry rub that will leave you feeling warm inside, try a mixture of thyme, basil, cumin and curry powder.

Braising

There’s nothing better than coming home at the end of the day to the smell of a beef pot roast that has been simmering in a slow cooker all day. Braising is a method cooking that involves searing the meat, and then cooking it in liquid low and slow. Tougher cuts of beef are best for braising, as the high collagen content will break down and tenderize the meat.

Looking for a switch to the traditional pot roast recipe? Try a combination of cocoa, cloves, cinnamon and stone fruits. Not only does it taste great – but your house will smell amazing!

Buy Local, Alberta Beef

Get the best beef available from the best local farmers at D’Arcy’s Meat Market. Give us a call or stop by our shop to pick up some beef for your next meal.

 

Pot Roast 101: Choosing The Right Cut of Meat

pot roast 101: choosing the right cut of meat

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love the comforting taste and smell of pot roast cooking. Pot roast is inexpensive to make, yields a ton of food and did I mention it makes your house smell amazing?! Read on as D’Arcy’s Meat Market dives into the actual definition of pot roast, and how to choose the right cut of beef to make sure your next roast is a success!

What IS Pot Roast?

Pot roast is a braised beef dish, made by browning a cut of beef and then slow-cooking it in a liquid in a covered dish. The cooking method is more important than the recipe itself. The spices and liquids may change, but cooking pot roast low and slow is critical to its success. Slow cooking will ensure the meat gets tender, juicy and aromatic.

The Key to A Great Beef Pot Roast? The Cut of Meat

The best beef pot roasts come from the cooking it “low and slow”, otherwise known as braising. Tougher cuts of meat are better for braising, as they have a high collagen content, little fat and see a lot of movement on the animal. When cooked properly, the collagen will break down into gelatin and help to tenderize the meat. When selecting a cut of meat for your next pot roast, choose one of the following:

  • Chuck: This is taken from the front portion of the cow and consists of the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm. While tough, this cut of meat is packed with flavour.
  • Brisket: The brisket is the breast or lower chest area of the cow. Even though this cut has a higher fat content than other cuts, it still needs lots of time and low-temperature cooking to break down and tenderize.
  • Round: This is taken from the rear leg area of the cow. This cut is fairly lean but tough as it gets a lot of exercise. There are three main areas of the round: top, bottom, and the knuckle.

Contact D’Arcy’s Today

D’Arcy’s Meat Market carries only the highest quality Alberta beef. Stop by the shop and one of our experts will help you pick out the perfect cut for your next pot roast.