The art of safe roasting

Keep your roast out of the danger zone.

Family gatherings often bring special meals. Family traditions are usually centered around favorite foods, including some type of specialty meat such as ham, venison, lamb or various poultry. No matter what your traditional meat is, Michigan State University Extension recommends always using a food thermometer for best quality and food safety.

When purchasing any beef, poultry, veal or pork from a market, it is safe to know that either a USDA or State inspector has done their job and observed the process in the packinghouse. This allows for quality assurance. When purchasing fresh cuts of meat it is important to refrigerate immediately. Keep poultry fresh for no longer than one to two days and other fresh meats for three to five days. Beef, lamb, pork or veal steaks or roasts can be frozen from 4-12 months, ham 1 to 2 months and whole chicken or turkey’s 12 months.

For good flavor and tenderness, roasting is considered the most effective way to cook these traditional favorite meats. Place the meat in a roasting pan and cover the meat with spices of your choice. Place the pan in an oven set at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Ovens provide indirect heat and the lower temperature lowers the amount of shrinkage while maintaining moisture.

According to the USDA it is not recommended to roast at a temperature lower than 325 F. This would keep the meat or poultry at temperatures in the “danger zone” (40 to 140 F) for too long of time. The time and temperature would allow bacteria to grow and creating a potential for food borne illness.

It is important to know that meat that has been boned, stuffed and rolled takes longer time to cook. This is because the heat takes longer to penetrate the thicker part of the meat and the center of the stuffing. Interesting information, meat with a bone in takes less time to roast.

This is just basic roasting information to help you become a “roasting artist.” There are special techniques and recipes that apply to the various meats that can be roasted, however these are roasting basics. Remember to roast meats at a temperature no lower than 325 F.

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