Cooking Tips

Selecting the "Catch of the Day"

  • Selecting fish at a fish market is simple once you learn the basics.
  • Allow 8 to 12 oz dressed fish or 3 to 4 oz. fillets or steaks for each serving. Use this handy reference to acquaint yourself with common market forms.
  • Whole or Round Fish: A whole fish just as it comes from the water.
  • Drawn Fish: A Whole fish minus the internal organs (eviscerated)
  • Dressed or Pan–Dressed Fish: A scaled and eviscerated fish with the head, tail, and fins usually removed. Pan-dressed refers to the smaller-sized fish.
  • Fish Steak: A cross-cut slice (1/2 to 1 inch thick) from a large dressed fish.
  • Fish Filet: A boneless piece of fish cut lengthwise from the sides and away from the backbone. It is usually best to remove any skin before cooking.

Storing Fish

  • Chill or freeze fresh fish as soon as possible. Store the fish loosely in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • To Freeze, store at zero degrees or colder in a moisture and vapor proof wrap. Freeze fat fish for up to 3 months and lean fish up to 6 months.
  • Thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator in the original wrapping or that in the microwave.

Marinating

  • When possible, cut large pieces of meat into smaller portions before marinating. Thinner cuts of meat marinate more quickly.

How Long to Marinate

  • Marinades will penetrate your meat in as little as 30 minutes, but feel free to marinate longer for more flavor. Two to four hours works well to increase penetration and flavor.
  • Marinating less tender cuts of meat, especially beef, overnight will help increase tenderness.
  • Avoid over marinating chicken, as this can cause the meat to become stringy and tough.

How Much Marinade to Use

  • Generally, you'll need 1 to 2 cups of marinade for every 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of food. Use enough marinade to completely coat the food.

Mess-Free Marinating

  • For easy marinating, put the meat and Marinade in a plastic zipper storage bag. Be sure to squeeze out all the air before sealing. This method saves refrigerator space, reduces the amount of marinade needed, and cuts down cleanup time.
  • If you prefer to marinate your meat using a bowl or pan, make sure to seal with a lid so as not to let marinade leak out.

Cooking Tips

  • Baste meats during the last 5-10 minutes of grilling to maximize flavor (to avoid cross-contamination use fresh marinade, not the marinade that was initially used for marinating).
  • Marinated meat can be grilled, broiled, stir-fried, sautéed or even baked.

Seasoning

Meat Preparation

  • When possible, cut large pieces of meat into smaller portions before seasoning. This will provide more surface to season, and give you more flavor.

How Much Seasoning to Use

  • Seasoning can be sprinkled generously on your food. Try starting out with one teaspoon for every pound of food.
  • Be sure to season all sides of your foods for maximum flavor.

Cooking Tips

  • Season foods a few minutes prior to grilling. This will give the seasoning a chance to absorb moisture, and enhance your meal by allowing the most flavor to develop. Add additional seasoning during the cooking process to further enhance flavor.
  • Seasoned meats can be grilled, broiled, stir-fried, sautéed or even baked.

Food Safety

Always Use Good Sanitation and Safety Practices

  • After handling raw meat, wash hands, utensils, cutting boards and other food preparation surfaces with hot, soapy water.
  • Don't place cooked meat onto a platter that previously held raw meat.
  • Use only clean utensils to handle and cut cooked meats.
  • If using a basting brush to apply barbecue sauce or marinade, be careful to avoid brushing sauce onto raw meat and then placing the brush back into the bottle. When in doubt, use a small container of sauce for application to raw meat, saving the remainder of the bottle for use once the meat is cooked.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Cooking Times

Use a meat thermometer to help determine that you are cooking your meat adequately. Place the tip of the thermometer through the side and into the thickest part of a steak or roast. For poultry, place the thermometer into the thigh or breast. In either case, make certain the thermometer is not touching bone.

Proper cooking temperatures - (as provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service):

Steaks and chops

  • Beef, veal, lamb, ostrich and bison
    • Medium-rare 145° F
    • Medium 160° F
    • Well-done 170° F
  • Pork and venison
    • Medium 160° F
    • Well-done 170° F

Burgers and ground meat

  • Beef, veal, lamb, ostrich, bison and venison - 160° F
  • Chicken and turkey - 165° F

Sausages and hot dogs

  • Precooked sausages and hot dogs - 165° F
  • Uncooked sausages (beef, pork) - 160° F

Poultry

  • Whole chicken or turkey - 180° F
  • Thighs, wings and drumsticks - 180° F
  • Breasts - 170° F

Fish & Seafood

  • Fish - cook until opaque and flakes easily with a fork
  • Scallops — should turn milky white or opaque and firm
  • Shrimp and lobster — shell should turn red and flesh should become pearly opaque


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