The art of safe roasting

Keep your roast out of the danger zone.

Holiday gatherings include family meals together. Traditional holiday meals are usually family traditions and most of the time it is turkey or some type of specialty meat such as ham, venison, lamb or various poultry.  No matter what your traditional meat is, Michigan State University Extension says that it is best to use a meat thermometer to check when the meat is done but not over cooked.

When purchasing any beef, poultry, veal or pork from a market, it is safe to know that it has been inspected by either a USDA or State inspector. 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.

During the holiday season people tend to purchase expensive meats. Roasting is considered to be the  most effective way to cook meats for good flavor and tenderness. 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 degrees Fahrenheit.  This would keep the meat or poultry at temperatures in the “danger zone” (40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) for too long of time. The time and temperature would allow bacteria to grow and creating a 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 meat is denser and heat takes longer to penetrate the thicker meat. 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 degrees Fahrenheit.

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