There is a Magical Elixir… One that makes Meat meatier…
There is a Magical Elixir… One that makes Meat meatier…
(Should that be Mightier…)
Good evening everyone, and HAPPY FRIDAY! I know that I am ready for the weekend, and I hope all of you have great plans.
Maybe grilling? After all, summer is half over… (man, where has 2019 gone to?).
Regardless of what you are doing, TGIF, and TGIFF (Thank Goodness it’s FUN Friday!)
Alright, let’s talk about the “magical elixir” that we mentioned.
Now, think about that first statement… make your meat just a little bit “meatier”.
Really think about that; the smell of a gently warming steak, the sound of the sizzle as the steak hits the grill (or pan, we won’t judge… much), the sight of the beef popping and jerking as it slowly works up to a perfect medium rare…
It sounds so good, I know… we all know, because we are all here because we are in love with meat and all things meat related.
Oh, yeah… I can think about scarfing down a perfectly seared center-cut right now (and probably will as soon as I am done writing and posting)!
But, as much as we all love meat, there is always a way to make it just a *little* better.
I mean, knowing how to do the basics with temperature, thawing, cooking times, one flipping once… that is all simple stuff.
Super easy stuff that pretty much anyone can learn how to do, even if they do not taste the meat. They just have to follow the science of cooking!
(Hmmm - that sounds like a great title for Wayside’s next e-book, right? Leave a comment if you agree! Wayside Market Presents: The Science of Succulence: Meat Magic and Mastery).
Anyway… back to the most pressing and immediate topic at hand:
Really, what is the magical thing that you can add to just give that meat a little extra… kick.
The answer is simple, and while not as scientific as what we mentioned earlier, the answer really should hit home…
You should FEEL like you know this…
The answer is, of course:
Its true; knowing how to properly season, spice, and flavor meat with just that little bit of extra can take your steak from drab to fab.
It can take your chicken from lame to insane.
It can take your fish from blasé to classy.
It just takes the right kinds of spices, the right proportions, and the right audience for the particular spicing and seasoning method that you have selected.
That last sentence is super true; think to Indian food, Thai food, or any other more “ethnic food”. The difference in flavors all comes down to the spices!
That being said, let’s get into some seasoning and spicing basics by talking about:
The Best way to Spice Meats
Each type of meat is going to want to be spiced differently, and the spice profile will change with the food that you are serving your spiced beef alongside.
This makes sense; you will not want to season your beef the same way you season a whitefish.
You will also not season lamb the same way you season chicken.
If you want to get more specific with different meat types, you will never season liver the same way that you season turkey or salmon…
Everything has a different quality, a different flavor profile, and a different requirement to make the flavor POP.
To make the meat “meatier”.
Now that we have got your rapt attention, let’s get into some different spices and seasonings that you might want to use with different meats!
If you think about beef, you are probably imagining biting into a slow roasted piece of prime rib, or a smoked sirloin, or maybe even a divine center cut slowly seared to perfection.
Regardless of what it is, all beef and steak have one thing in common:
The flavor envelops you, it bursts when you chomp down on it, and it is truly unrelenting.
That being said, this is one time you do not necessarily want a complimentary spice to go with your meat. You want powerful spices and flavors that will stand on their own
(Side note, that is why we often have steak slathered with grilled onions and black mushrooms).
The good news with this is that you can easily “spice up” your beef, and it is kind of difficult to spice it so much it is inedible.
I mean, don’t put a pound of garlic on a 3-ouncer… but don’t be afraid to really try to add some more flavor, either!
The Right Spices for Beef.
Alright, immediately we are going to rescind our previous statement; it is hard to over season beef with the right spices. If you use the wrong ones, you can easily ruin a perfect sirloin or a delicious ribeye.
(You can also over salt… don’t over salt!)
Anyway… the spices you probably most want to consider for beef and steak are:
· Pepper – it probably does not matter so much if it is black, red, cayenne, white (yes, there is white pepper). Pepper offers a bit of natural heat to each bite of your meat, and that can accentuate the flavor. Coincidentally, like salt, any pepper can be overdone; be sure not to use too much! The recommendation here is to add just enough when cooking and to allow people to add more afterwards if they need it!
· Thyme – Thyme is a good selection for beef because it is mellow and flowery (lemony in some cases). This can help round out the flavor you get from your beef, creating a true complete flavor profile.
· Bay Leaf – I remember my mother making beef stew when I was a kid (a great use of a tougher cut of beef, BTW), and there was always a certain number of whole bay leaves in the soup. I never understood why until the first time I tried to make it myself… without the bay leaf. Being similar to thyme, but less lemony, this helps in a similar way; it rounds out the flavor of the beef for a complete and complex flavor profile.
· Rosemary – Really? YES! Rosemary has a naturally piney taste to it that somehow both competes with and compliments the flavor of beef. This spice is particularly good to use if you are going to be slow cooking your meat – the pine taste gets deep into the meat, and even if you did not cook it over a wood fire (which is the best, let’s be honest, here) you will get that glorious wood-fired taste.
· Basil – Lastly (for now), we are talking about basil. Not much can really be said about basil except that most people say it “brightens” up the meat when it is served with beef. The trick is to add the basil near the end of the cooking so its flavor does not spoil.
And, wow… we are out of time here (or, out of words, more to the point)!
We had planned on talking about chicken, lamb, fish, pork… and anything else that came to mind.
So, that being said we will cover more spices for more meats next Friday. Until then, please enjoy your weekend, and we look forward to seeing you back here again!
Until next time, eat well, live well, ad be well!