10 myths about meat

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1. Salt meat before cooking. It will be much more flavorful and juicy.

2. Pork should end up slightly pink, not white. It is not necessary to overcook pork to prevent trichinosis: Trichinae are killed at 137 degrees Fahrenheit, or medium rare.

3. The only way to tenderize a tough cut of meat is to braise it or stew it slowly. Do not use chemical meat tenderizers or buy "tenderized steaks."

4. To be a great meat cook, you need a digital instant-read thermometer.

5. Do not baste a roast. Basting doesn't keep meat moist but only washes the seasonings away. The trick is not to overcook the roast.

6. USDA is the only federal grading system for meat. Terms like "Butcher's Prime," "Market Choice," and "Lean Select" are misleading terms given by retailers.

7. Don't buy precut meat for beef stew. It is more expensive and you never know what kind of cut it is. Buy a piece of chuck and slice it up yourself (or you can ask the supermarket butcher to do it for you).

8. Do not parboil spareribs. Parboiling toughens the meat and drains it of flavor.

9. "Spring lamb" is available year-round. The term used to refer to animals born in the spring and indicated freshness and quality. Improved animal husbandry now makes it possible to get tender lamb all year.

10. Pan-broiled lamb chops are better than ones broiled in the oven. Home broilers don't produce enough heat and cause the surface of the meat to steam.

Adapted from The Complete Meat Cookbook, by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001.

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