Top tips for frying meat
By Sam Wass, Medium Well
It’s fair to say that one of the most popular ways to cook meat is by frying. Mostly because it’s quick, easy to do and if you’re not the greatest of cooks its a skill that’s moderately quick to learn. After all, what can go wrong - Pan, heat, meat, eat!
That all sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? So, let’s have a look at what we can do to ensure that you have a great piece of our meat cooked to perfection rather than the texture of one of our farmers old Wellington Boots.
It all starts with the meat
We think that most meats can be fried well, although you do have to have the right cut of course. After all, a piece of Beef Shin which is great in a stew is never going to be as tender as a lovely piece of Sirloin after 5 minutes of intense heat.
There are various cuts that work great in a frying pan and some cuts that you may want to lend a helping hand. The importance of a good cut is that it’s been butchered well; we’ve all picked up that supermarket steak quickly and then found that its half an inch at one end and one inch at the other. That is never going to fry well and you’ll be disappointed. One of our plump chicken breasts will not fry well but with a little flattening out with a meat pounder (or some light pressure of your cold frying pan) will help to have an even surface which will cook quickly and evenly
Your tools of the trade
There isn’t a great deal of thinking needed for what you’re going to use to be honest - A frying pan and a pair of kitchen tongs to help turn the meat over. We all have those but a good pan will see you through years of use.
We’re big fans of a heavy duty cast iron pan because they retain a constant level of heat and if cared for will out last you and your children. A trusty aluminium or steel pan is more than suitable but these do have a tendency to bow over time if they’re not great quality, and then you no longer have a flat even surface to cook on.
Whatever you have is the best one though so get cracking and fire up the heat
Frying your meat to perfection
We all have our way of doing things and everyone learns this by experience, so follow along if you wish but don’t worry if you like to mix it up a little. We’ll make sure you have the perfect cut of meat and hopefully between us it’ll be cooked to your liking.
Our tips for frying meat
- Get the pan on the heat. A medium to high flame underneath will get everything nice and hot. It’s important to not be afraid of having a hot pan. Frying meat is about cooking at a high enough temperature to caramelise the surface and make sure that moisture is evaporated as quickly as possible. If the heat is too low you can end up with moisture in the pan and you end up boiling the meat which will toughen it.
- To avoid sticking you’re going to need some oil but don’t go crazy with it. Whether you pour it in the pan directly or rub the meat with the oil first is your call. There’s no real right or wrong way here but we do prefer to coat the meat as this seems to make it less greasy and your seasoning will stick to the meat well.
- Add flavour into your meat as you fry it. Our steaks love Thyme, Garlic and Butter. While frying put a good knob of butter into the pan with a whole clove of Garlic and a couple of sprigs of Thyme. Have a spoon to hand and baste the steak while cooking. Trust us, this will make your steak taste as if it was served at a restaurant. Use different herbs with different meats. Chicken and Pork go great with Sage and Garlic. Lamb loves Rosemary. Experiment and find what you like. You can even use one of our ready made rubs.
- Depending on the choice of meat you’re going to want to tailor what goes in the pan and for how long. The thickness will make the difference and occasionally you may need the oven on standby for finishing. The rule of thumb for us here at Great British Meat is that if the cut is over an inch thick or has a bone in it, such as our Pork Chops, then shorten the fry time and finish in a hot oven for 6-8 minutes. How long you fry is dependant on what’s in the pan. Have a timer close by but don’t be afraid to use your finger. Gently prod the meat as it cooks, you’ll feel it firm up as each minute goes by and you’ll learn how you like it cooked
- Rest. No, not you, you’re busy here but do give the meat time to rest once it’s out of the pan. Everything will be tight and contracted after all that heat and a few minutes sitting will help the meat relax and let go of all its juices. A well rested meat will not leech out liquid onto your plate. It will also be lovely and tender. A little patience goes a long way to improving your perfectly fried meat. You can also use the juices for a sauce or gravy
So here we have it. Our top tips for frying meat. What are your thoughts? Do you have any additional or different tips? Get your pans at the ready. If you think we’ve missed anything or you have any questions you can let us know by commenting on our social feeds by clicking below. Enjoy frying