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recipe:technique roast [August 19, 2010] (current)
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 +===== Technique: Roasting =====
 +==== Meats ====
 +I roast both chicken breasts and pork loins at 350<​html>&​deg</​html>​.
 +The trick to perfectly cooked meats is to **use a [[http://​​gp/​product/​B0019R4HQQ?​ie=UTF8&​tag=dmleachcom-20&​linkCode=as2&​camp=1789&​creative=390957&​creativeASIN=B0019R4HQQ|probe thermometer]]**. ​ This little miracle worker lets you monitor the internal temperature of the meat while it's in the oven and without opening the door to let all the heat out.  ​
 +You need to position the tip of the probe in the center of the thickest part of the cut to monitor the part that will take the longest to cook.  I do this by holding the probe beside the roast and placing my finger on the probe at the position of the edge of the meat.  Then just insert at the same angle until your finger touches the meat.
 +Monitoring is only half the problem; the other half is cooking to the correct temperature. ​ Now, if you ask the fine folks across town at the CDC, they'​ll [[http://​​Features/​BeFoodSafe/​|tell you]] that pork needs to hit 160<​html>&​deg</​html>​ and chicken 165<​html>&​deg</​html>​. ​ I can tell you from experience that this will get you the Sahara Desert on a plate. ​ I shoot for ten degrees lower than that: pork to 150<​html>&​deg</​html>,​ chicken to 155<​html>&​deg</​html>​.
 +So that's what you should set as the target temperature on your thermometer,​ right? ​ Well, no, it's not quite that simple. ​ See, just because you take your roast out of the oven doesn'​t mean it immediately stops cooking. ​ There'​s a phenomenon called //​[[http://​​wiki/​Carry_over_cooking|thermal carryover]]//,​ in which the heat that your food absorbs during cooking continues to raise the internal temperature for a few minutes until the entire thing begins to cool down.  This is why some vegetable recipes tell you to boil, say, green beans for a short time before dousing them in ice water. ​ If you don't quickly chill them, they'​ll keep cooking even though they'​re out of the pot.
 +I can generally count on seven degrees of carryover in my kitchen, so I set my **thermometer'​s target temperature** to:
 +|143<​html>&​deg</​html>​ for pork|
 +|148<​html>&​deg</​html>​ for chicken|
 +I'm comfortable with the small amount of risk this entails and indeed have never made myself or my friends sick using this guide. ​ Nevertheless,​ if you want to be absolutely certain or have any doubts about the way your meat was stored before you cook it, play it safe and use the higher numbers.
 +To take advantage of carryover, however, you have to let your meat **rest for at least five minutes** before slicing into it.  This time also gives the juices inside your roast an opportunity to redistribute themselves. ​ See, while the meat is being cooked under high temperature,​ it's also being subjected to high pressure (remember the [[http://​​wiki/​Ideal_gas_law|ideal gas law]] from high school chemistry?​). ​ At the moment you remove the roast from the oven, pressure has forced all the juices to the center. ​ A few moments of rest time **covered loosely with aluminum foil** gives those juices a chance to make their way back out closer to the surface. ​ You'll also want to leave the probe in place during the rest period, or else you're giving those juices a very easy path up and out of your delicious food.

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