If you’ve ever made a home-cooked meal, chances are you’ve acquired a few true kitchen essentials (mixing bowls, measuring cups, spatulas, oven mitts). But what about those next-level items that make more sophisticated recipes (beef tostadas with pomegranate salsa, garam masala steak with roasted veggies) attainable even for a beginner chef?
We consulted with Kitchenworks owner Martha Jenkins to compile a list of gadgets that are especially useful for meat lovers looking to experiment with different cooking techniques. From basic items to more specialized tools, here are five kitchen products that will kick your cooking skills up a notch.
Using a thermometer is the best way to ensure that meat is cooked to your liking. Jenkins recommends this Polder Probe Thermometer, which comes equipped with a pre-settable alarm that will alert you when your meat reaches a desired temperature, or after it has cooked for a set amount of time. You can also program it to remember your frequently used settings.
Tip: Laura’s Lean Beef cooks in 1/3 of the time, so it’s better to judge whether your meat is ready by temperature rather than time.
Roasting Pan with Rack
Roasting uses dry heat from the oven to cook your meat. It’s a great method for round cuts and large pieces of meat (bigger than one pound). You’ll need a roasting pan with a rack – Jenkins recommends this nonstick one, as it’s better for cleanup. It also doubles as a lasagna dish.
Tip: A dry rub is a great seasoning for a Laura’s Lean Beef roast beef. Try one part salt, one part brown sugar, and one part fresh herbs and pepper.
Don’t ruin a perfectly cooked roast with the wrong knife. A carving knife has a straight, long blade that allows for precise, thin slices of meat, and is razor sharp, which makes it possible to cut meat easily and cleanly. Wusthof’s 8″ and 10″ carving knives are both highly recommended and reviewed, and come with a lifetime guarantee.
Tip: If you’re torn between the two, the 8″ knife is more versatile, as it can also be used for other things.
The right cutting board is just as essential as a good carving knife. JK Adams in Vermont makes a beautiful, thick wooden cutting board that has a groove built in especially for holding juices, as well as an indentation that cradles your meat so it doesn’t slip while you carve. This particular board is durable, too – it’s made from Maple and has a mineral oil finish.
Tip: Wooden cutting boards are also thought to be more sanitary than plastic ones due to their durability; knives don’t make grooves as easily in wooden boards, so there are fewer places for bacteria to get trapped.
Stir-frying cooks meat quickly over high heat in a wok or a heavy skillet and uses little oil. This non-stick grill wok is perfect for stir-frying vegetables and smaller pieces of meat out on the grill, is 2.5″ deep, and has a metal handle for easy, compact storage. This cooking method works best with bits of steak, tenderloin, and thinly cut strips from the round.
Tip: Laura’s Lean Beef recommends stir-frying thin strips of meat first, removing, and then stir-frying bite-sized vegetables. Toss the meat and vegetables together briefly, and then serve.
Feeling inspired? Laura’s Lean Beef, North America’s leading lean, natural beef company, offers a variety of recipe ideas and tips for trying different cooking styles. Check out their delicious suggestions here.