How to grill and fry meat

A picture of Delia's How to grill and fry meat how to cook guide

How to Grill Meat

What grilling should achieve is a lovely seared, faintly charred outside edge with the rest of the meat very tender and juicy within. This is the closest thing to cooking on an open fire because, when the meat is placed on a rack, the air circulates and this gives the grilled meat its unique flavour. If you're cutting down on fat, then grill without fat or oil. However, if that is not your priority, it is better to brush very lean meat, such as pork steaks, with a little melted butter, and fillet steaks with a little oil before grilling.

On a domestic grill, what you need to do is pre-heat to the highest setting at least 10 minutes before you want to start cooking, and remember to try and position the meat 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) from the heat, turning the meat over halfway through to grill the other side. Never season meat before grilling, as salt draws out the precious juices you're trying to keep in (but do remember to season before serving).

Approximate timings for grilling meat are as follows:
steak 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick (ie sirloin or rump) – 1½-2 minutes on each side for rare; 3 minutes on each side for medium; and about 4 minutes on each side for well done.
fillet steak 1½ inches (4 cm) thick – give it 5 minutes on each side for medium; 1 minute less each side for rare; and 1 minute more for well done.
pork chops – approximately 10 minutes on each side, and pork steaks slightly less.
lamb chops – about 10 minutes each side, and cutlets about 5 minutes each side.
Timings vary because the thickness of meat differs, so you need to use a skewer or the blade of a small knife inserted in the thickest part to test if the juices are the right colour.

How to Fry Meat

The very best way to cook steaks is in a frying pan. The cut of meat used here is a sirloin or entrecôte steak. Allow 6-8 oz (175-225 g) per person. Trim off most of the fat, leaving just a little on.

Gently thump the steaks with your fist to flatten and tenderise them slightly.

Season the steaks on both sides with freshly milled black pepper but no salt yet, as this encourages the juices to come out.

It is important to have the pan as hot as you dare, so it has to be one with a thick, solid base to conduct the heat properly. Place the pan over direct heat turned to high and let the pan become very hot before you add just the smallest amount of oil or fat – about 1 teaspoon. Let this become shimmering hot.

Hold the steak in both hands and drop it directly down so that the whole of the surface hits the heat at the same moment. What this does is sear the meat, sealing the edges and encouraging the juices to stay inside.

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