BY: PHILIP DEWAR
Meat and potatoes. Likely the most common Canadian and American dish, but did you know how often folks will prepare these “simple” items incorrectly? It might be a common, simple dish but there a few important lessons that can take it from boring fare into something to behold!
A common mistake people make in seasoning meat is adding too much salt. Instead of adding flavour, hi8s will actually remove moisture and flavour of the meat, which is especially important when using a good cut. You can sprinkle some on top at the end, but do not use salt in your rub or marinades.
When selecting a rub, there aren’t too many rules. Use the seasonings you enjoy and that work well together. An assortment of paprika, cayenne, cumin and cajun always work well. If you find yourself near a Sobey’s in the Orangeville or Brampton area, our friends at Fire in the Kitchen have some amazing rubs to choose from!
The next important thing to remember is that you need to remove the meat (depending on size) about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to cook. Bringing the meat to room temperature is important for it to cook evenly. If you go from fridge to pan the outside will end up burning before the inside is cooked through. For a 10 lb strip loin, an hour is a safe bet.
Once you’re ready to cook, fire up your cast iron pan, flat top of the grill to high. You want to sear the outside creating a nice crust that will look in all the flavours. Rotate the meat every minute or two, or until you notice a nice crust has formed. Once the outside is browned, you can transfer it to a baking dish.. or pop the cast iron pan straight into the oven!
If you’re transferring to a baking dish, chop up some root vegetables like potatoes, carrots and celery to use as a bed for the meat. All the juices will melt together with the vegetables and create an amazing side dish. Have your oven preheated to 250 degrees and slide everything in!
The key here is low and slow. You’ve already got a nice crust on the outside and now you just want to slowly have the inside cook without having the muscle fibres becoming tense and tough. This will also help to ensure the meat remains moist! Cook in the oven for about 90 minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees. It’s not quite finished yet, but it’s time for it to come out of the oven.
Place it on a platter and cover it tightly with foil. This is the final resting stage! Let your strip loin rest for about 30 minutes until it reaches the internal temperature of 150. Letting it rest will finish the cooking process as well as relax the flesh giving you an incredibly tender, rich and soft piece of meat.
Always lice in the direction of the grain. You’ll have a lovely medium-well around the outside and a medium rare in the middle. Make sure you follow all these steps and you’ll never have a dry, salty and tough piece of meat ever again!