Store meat on the bottom shelf of your fridge; it’s the coldest part of the fridge, but also means if any juices leak they won’t cover food below. Make sure your meat is covered to avoid any potential cross-contamination.
Resting meat after cooking is really important; this means leaving your meat to sit for a little while after you’ve finished cooking. This helps any meat juices to be reabsorbed into the meat, keeping it moist. It also makes meat easier to cut. Steaks normally only need 5-10 minutes, but a whole roast (beef / lamb) will need at least 30 minutes. Roast chicken should rest for 15 minutes.
To check ‘doneness’ of your steak (i.e. if it’s rare, medium rare, well done), the most accurate way is with a meat thermometer. Here’s a guide to each level:
- 50°C / 120°F rare
- 55°C / 130°F medium rare
- 60°C / 140°F medium
- 75°C / 170°F well done
If you don’t have a thermometer, the other approach is to use a finger test. Lightly press the centre of your steak; the more rare it is, the softer it will feel when pressed.
A good guide for the different levels of doneness is to compare the feel of the steak to the muscle just below your thumb (palm side). Lightly touch your thumb and each of the below fingers together, and the feel of the muscle will indicate the level to which the steak is cooked:
- Thumb & index finger = rare
- Thumb & middle finger = medium
- Thumb & ring finger = done
- Thumb & little finger = well done
For extra crispy skin on your roast chicken, follow Felicity Cloake’s guide to the perfect roast chicken and turn the oven temperature up to 250°C for the last 10 minutes of cooking.