Appliances, buffalo, Chefs, Features, Tips and Tricks, Vogue
Guest Blog - Which Equipment Cooks Meat Best?10:07 am
For this week’s guest blog, I was asked to write about which kinds of equipment I believe cooks meat best. In all honesty, even if I managed to complete this mammoth of a task, I'm certain even the most devout readers would eventually have to exit the page, and seek refuge in a dark, quiet room. As with thousands of different kinds of cooking equipment sold through Nisbets, each with the ability to cook meat in a variety of ways and with the endless types and cuts of meat means, this blog could quite literally go on forever.
So rather than run through every type of cooking equipment sold at Nisbets, I thought I would talk about a couple of my own personal favourites and the benefits they bring to cooking meat.
This year, Nisbets launched its very own Buffalo clip-on water bath, an appliance proven to be a huge success amongst a range of caterers and chefs. The Sous Vide method of cooking was invented in the 1960’s when scientists were searching for the optimum way to cook fois gras. The appliance however proved to be so successful that now a wide range of meals are cooked using Sous Vide machines or Water Baths.
Just in case you haven’t heard of Sous Vide before, in essence the method consists of food sealed under vacuum in a bag (you either need a vacuum packer such as the Buffalo Chamber Machine or get your butcher to vacuum pack it for you) and cooked at relatively low temperatures over long periods of time whilst submersed in water.
I personally love the Sous Vide method of cooking as it offers you precise temperature control (generally to less than ½ ˚C), ensuring you get rare, medium or well done perfect every time for your guests. Sous Vide in comparison to the two more common methods of cooking cuts of meat, (braising and roasting), both of which can dry out the meat, also allows you to tenderise some cuts of meat. Skirt or cheek for instance, although very flavoursome, may have been dismissed for being too tough. By the using Sous Vide method, such cuts have again found favour amongst chefs.
The fact that the meat is sealed in a bag (often with herbs or a marinade) means it doesn’t lose any moisture and absorbs the flavour from the herbs better. This not only gives you some of the most tender, but also the flavoursome, results possible.
However, Sous Vide does have some drawbacks.
The Sous Vide method of cooking does not colour or caramelise your food, an important step in the cooking of a wide variety of meats. Colouring or caramelising your meat not only produces an aesthetically appealing texture and colour, but also releases previously hidden flavours. This means that you also need to “finish” your meat using a direct or radiant heat method.
One way to do this is to griddle your meat afterwards. Nisbets has just launched a brand new Buffalo Jumbo Contact Grill with a 35cm square cooking plate. This is large enough to cook six to eight steaks at the same time.
The major benefit of this contact grill (other than its impressive size) is that you have the choice of using it as a regular griddle, or clamping down and finishing both sides of your meat in half the time, whilst also producing aesthetically pleasing charred-markings on top. The flat bottom plate also not only allows for easy cleaning, but allows you to also cook other foods, such as eggs.
It also comes with a programmable audible timer, making multi-tasking in a busy commercial kitchen easier than ever before!
If the Buffalo contact grill is a little large or too serious for your circumstances, then my final recommendation would be to take full advantage of one of the skillet or grill pans from our very own Vogue. These pans are made of cast iron - one of the best materials for finishing steaks. Its heavy weight not only ensures an even heat, but also holds temperature extremely well, allowing you to sear meat perfectly. Being made from ferrous material also means it is perfect for use on induction hobs, but remember to keep the heat fairly low, as most induction hobs will get a cast iron skillet sizzling hot in no time.
It’s also really important to season your pans before use and not wash in soapy water or dishwashers, and of course the more you use them, the better they will be.
So that's my favourite way to cook a perfect steak! I'd love to hear yours, along with your favourite pieces of Nisbets equipment.
Richard Ebbs CFSP
Head of Product Training