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Beef 101 - Cooking and Preparing Beef FAQ

Cooking and Preparing Beef FAQ


How can I make my beef more tender?

The less tender cuts of beef can be tenderized by marinating the meat before cooking either with a homemade or bottled marinade , or a store-bought quick marinade mix. Cooking the cut of beef according to the proper cooking method for that cut also will give you maximum tenderness. Stewing beef and pot roasts should be cooked in liquid for a long period of time.

What cuts of beef should be marinated?

Check your meat label for the cooking method. If the label reads "marinating steak," then this steak should be marinated to enable you to get the eating satisfaction you desire. The most common marinating steaks are: inside, outside and eye of round, sirloin tip and flank steaks. For cooking instructions see Marinating Steaks. Other cuts of beef can be marinated for 15 to 30 minutes to enhance their flavour.?
Is it safe to eat medium-rare roast beef or steak? I have heard so many conflicting reports about what is safe to eat. Beef roasts and steaks can be enjoyed medium-rare because if bacteria are present they are found on the surface of the meat. The high temperatures reached on the surface of roasts or steaks during cooking will kill any bacteria. For medium-rare doneness, remove from the heat at 140°F/60°C; the temperature will rise an additional 5°F (3°C) during standing.?? However, in the grinding process, any bacteria on the surface of meat are spread throughout. Therefore, ground beef (e.g. hamburgers and meatloaf) must be cooked thoroughly to 160°F (71°C).

I left a steak on the counter to defrost and forgot about it. Is it still safe to eat?

The Beef Information Centre recommends you always defrost meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

Is there a need to rinse off beef cuts prior to cooking?

We recommend people do NOT rinse meat (or poultry) before cooking. In fact, the meat would become waterlogged, making it soggy and less flavourful. Meat (and poultry) is ready to use right out of the package.?? If there were any bacteria on the outer surface of the raw meat or poultry, the rinsing procedure could potentially cross-contaminate your sink. This would be especially problematic if you then washed fruits and vegetables in the sink (without sanitizing it first) and ate them raw.?? The high temperature reached during cooking destroys any bacteria that are potentially on foods. The best way to tell if meats and poultry have reached proper doneness temperatures is to use a digital rapid-read thermometer to check the internal temperature in the centre of the food.

I've heard about rinsing cooked ground beef. How do you do it and why?

Rinsing cooked ground beef can reduce the fat content. For example, rinsed Regular ground beef crumbles have less fat than non-rinsed Lean ground beef crumbles.

I am cooking a beef roast from frozen, how much extra time should does it need in the oven (or on the grill)?

Beef roasts may be cooked from frozen, just allow about 50% more cooking time. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

I've heard you shouldn't season beef with salt before cooking, but some recipes call for this – what is best?

The practice of salting before cooking has long been debated, with concerns this would toughen and dry meat. We found that meat allowed to stand after salting did have increased loss in juices, however, we also noted benefits. Steaks salted shortly before cooking has lower cooking losses and scored higher for flavour, browning, juiciness and overall tenderness. An added bonus: you'll likely find you need less salt for seasoning if done prior to cooking since more complex flavours develop, not just a salt flavour.

Many recipes say to let beef get to room temperature before cooking, is this safe?

In a word – NO! We measured the internal temperature of roasts and steaks sitting on the counter and found this practice created food safety risks that far outweighed any small quality benefits – even with a standing time of just 15 minutes. So just say NO – keep meat refrigerated prior to cooking.

Can I cook burgers to rare or medium when I grind the meat myself at home?

Ground beef must be cooked to medium-well doneness to ensure safety. Medium-well corresponds to an internal temperature of 71oC (160oF) as measured with an instant-read (digital) meat thermometer. Colour is a very unreliable indicator of doneness. Undercooked burgers can be brown throughout and fully cooked burgers can still have a tinge of pink in the centre.

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