long times at temperatures above 70, despite the drying out that might also occur. However,
tough cuts tend to come from older animals, and the fat content of meat tend to increase with
age. Therefore it is not as serious if these meats are cooked for a long time at higher
temperatures because the effect of the melted fat improves perceived juiciness and
tenderness, despite the actual meat being dryer.
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· The tender young meats: Tender meats however, which contain less tough collagen and
strong muscle fibres, do not need to cooked for long times at low temperatures – indeed, the
best way to reduce moisture loss is to cook these pieces at a very high temperature for a very
short times – this greatly reduced cooking time and thus the risk of excessive coagulation and
Cooking in a liquid
The benefits:Cooking meat in a liquid is an effective way of evenly transferring heat to all parts of the
meat, especially compared to cooking meat over a hot solid which only heats the part of the meat in
contact with it. Heat is transferred by the hot liquid molecules moving – this type of heat transfer is
known as convection.
If the liquid is kept at a temperature that is well below the boil, the meat will stay fairly tender as the
temperatures inside the meat are high enough for the proteins to denature and coagulate, but
temperatures, even at the meats surface, are not high enough to cause significant squeezing out of
the liquids trapped in the protein network and thus drying out of the meat. Cooking at a lower
temperature therefore prevents the meat from being over-cooked. It also prevents any aromatic
molecules, which are destroyed at high temperatures, from being destroyed.
This method of cooking in a liquid for a long time is therefore ideal for cuts of meat high in collagen.
Over time, the collagen molecules will dissociate from the connective tissue and dissolve into the
cooking liquid. In this form it is called gelatine, and has the ability to form a gel on cooling, if sufficiently