Why meat must rest after cooking

I was visiting a friend once and steak was for dinner. I noticed immediately that there was no resting of the steak from the braai and it seemed almost rude when I waited for 5 minutes (while everyone else started eating) before slicing it up. So here I explain why meat must rest.

Also, all meat is better when rested, and not just red meat. I include Pork, Lamb etc. Just try it and you will notice a difference.

What happens when you cook meat?

When you cook meat, the protein in it sets. Generally speaking, the softer it feels, the less cooked it is and of course vice versa. Cooking your steak to your liking is also a skill that is obtained over time but also a few overcooked meals too.

I use a meat thermometer religiously, It removes all the guesswork and I spend less time thinking about it. Some of the best chefs in the world do too.

What happens when you rest meat?

Have you ever cut into your meat and the juice just flows out? That means you have not rested it enough. The reason it needs to rest is because the juices need time to redistribute. If you cut straight into your beautiful piece of steak after cooking it, it kind of defeats the purpose. By resting your meat it adds the finishing touch of keeping your meat juicy and moist and not drying out.

Something else to remember is that meat continues cooking when removed from the grill/pan. So if you aiming for 55C, remove it just below this and while resting it will come up to 55C. How much exactly, will vary and is best to experiment.

How long should you rest your meat?

It fully depends on the size of the cut, but as a guide, bigger roasts should rest for 10-20 minutes and your steak should breathe for at least five minutes. Another general guide is 1 minute per 100g of meat.

For steak, I like to reverse sear which allows me to eat straight from the pan. Click here to learn more about the reverse sear method.

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