To Rest? or not to Rest?

There is debate amongst food scientists as to the value of resting.

I will sometimes rest and other times I wont. There are a few things I think about.

If I have someone who doesn’t like the look of the juices on the plate (it is not Blood) then I will rest, the juices thicken during resting and less leaks out onto the plate. Also the cooking will even out while resting, you will get more even colour and less red in the middle, so it looks more well done. But, there is no helping people who do not like the meat juices.

There is tension in the meat fibres straight from a hot cooking environment and I like it to relax a little before carving to stop the tension squeezing juices out.

More often than not the meat is resting because I have other elements of the meal to deal with, finish off or serve up.

Do not be afraid your meat will get cold while it rests, it won’t! In fact, for a short while the internal temperature will increase as latent heat from the exterior works it’s way to the interior.

Take this into account and stop the cooking a few degrees before it is at its perfect doneness.

Remember that as soon as you carve, you are increasing the surface area so Heat and Moisture loss will increase. Carve as you are serving, not before.

Typically, the internal temperature of a piece of chicken or steak will increase in temperature up to 3°C (5°F) in the first 5 minutes of resting, for a larger roast this can be up to 9°C (15°F) in 10 minutes.

Resting relaxes the muscle fibres, this reduces the tension on the meat and prevents the juices from being squeezed out when carving.

When resting, cover the food loosely with foil.

Ensure there is an air gap between the food and the foil, this provides an insulating layer, in the places where the foil touches the food, heat from the food will be transmitted through the foil and lost.

The Resting Experiment

I would encourage you to do an experiment with your food probe.

I was sceptical about the value of resting until I did this!

My fear was that the meat would cool before I got it to the table!

Cook a Chook.

Take it out of the cooker and note the internal temperature.

Make a note of  the internal temperature every minute.

You’ll see, like me that the temperature increases initially and it is 20 minutes or so before it comes back down to the temperature it was when you removed it from the cooker.  It will then take another 20 minutes or so before the temperature drops to a Holding or Service temperature of 65°C (150°F)

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Lesson One (Meats)
Lesson Two (Temperature)
Lesson Three (Cooking)


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