Cooking Tips – English Beef and Lamb

 

There are many delicious ways to cook Quality Standard beef and lamb. This section gives you great tips on how to cook beef and lamb successfully whichever way you choose cook it. Click on any of the cooking methods below to find out more.

Meat storage and preparation

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Stir-frying

Beef Cuts Cooking time
Steaks: Sirloin, rump, rib-eye, minute, cut into 1cm (½inch) strips 2-4 mins plus 2 mins with vegetable
Lamb Cuts Cooking time
Leg, Neck fillet, cut into 1cm (½inch) strips 2-4 mins plus 2 mins with vegetables

Method

  • Heat 15ml (1tbsp) oil in a wok or large frying pan.
  • Add the meat and stir-fry for the recommended time.
  • Add the hardest vegetables first (e.g carrots, onions) and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the rest.
  • Add sauce of your choice (up to 150ml (¼pt)) and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Suggested vegetables for stir-frying:

  • Baby sweetcorn, Green beans
  • Bamboo shoots, Leeks
  • Beansprouts, Mushrooms
  • Broccoli, Mange tout
  • Carrots, Peppers
  • Peppers, Spring onions
  • Chinese leaf, Swiss chard
  • Courgettes, Sugar snap peas
  • Or try a packet of stir-fry vegetables from your supermarket.

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Roasting essentials

  • Position the oven shelves so the meat is in the centre of the oven.
  • Place the joint uncovered on a wire rack in a roasting tin ensuring any fat is on the top. This allows the juices to run down and baste the joint naturally.
  • When roasting beef and lamb joints, the secret is to cook the joints in a moderate oven for slightly longer to ensure even cooking.
  • Remember to weigh beef and lamb joints before calculating your preferred cooking time.
Oven Roasting:Gas mark 4-5, 180-190°C, 350-375°F
Beef Cuts Cooking time
Joints:
Sirloin, Rib, Topside, Brisket, Silverside, Mini joints
Rare: 20mins per 450g (1lb) +20 mins
Internal temp approx 60°C
Medium: 25mins per 450g (1lb) +25 mins
Internal temp approx 70°C
Well-done: 30mins per 450g (1lb)+30 mins
Internal temp approx 80°C
Burgers 15-20 minutes
Lamb Cuts Cooking time
Joints:
Leg, Shoulder, Breast, Shanks, Rack
Medium: 25mins per 450g (1lb) +25 mins
Internal temp 70-75°C
Well-done: 30mins per 450g (1lb)+30 mins
Internal temp approx 75-80°C
Loin, Chump, Cutlets 2cm (¾) thick 25-30 minutes
Burgers 15-20 minutes
  • Allow the joint to rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking to let the meat fibres relax and juices distribute evenly so the joint is moist and easy to carve.
  • To test the degree of cooking, use a meat thermometer. There are two varieties available. One you insert in the centre of the raw joint, or at the thickest point and cook until the desired internal temperature is reached. The other is inserted into the cooked joint after roasting. This gives an instant reading.
    Beef: Rare – 60°C, Medium – 70°C, Well Done – 80°C
    Lamb: Medium – 70-75°C, Well Done – 75-80°C

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Roasting in liquid

Slow moist methods include pot roasting, stewing, braising and casseroling. These methods are ideal for tenderising less expensive, less tender cuts of meat and are convenient ways of cooking as they require very little preparation or attention during cooking. Simply pop one in the oven or on the hob and let it cook while you sit and relax. As it is all cooked in one pot you’ll save on washing up too!!

Pot roasting

  • Pot roasting uses whole joints of meat – boned and rolled joints are ideal for pot roasting.
  • It is traditionally carried out by browning the joint and then cooking in the oven or on the hob with liquid and vegetables.
  • Allow approximately 450g (1lb) vegetables (use root vegetables cut into large pieces) and 150ml (¼pt) liquid (try stock, wine, cider, beer etc) for a 1.25kg (2¾lb) joint.
Pot roasting: Gas mark 4-5, 180-190°C, 350-375°F
Beef Cuts Cooking time
Silverside, Rib, Brisket 30-40mins per 450g (1lb) +30-40mins
Lamb Cuts Cooking time
Shoulder, Breast, Shanks 25-30mins per 450g (1lb) +25-30mins

Method

  • Heat 15ml (1tbsp) oil in a large heavy based saucepan or casserole dish. Brown the joint on all sides.
  • Add the vegetables and liquid, and any seasoning or herbs.
  • Cover and cook either on the hob on a low simmer or in the oven for the calculated cooking time.

Stewing, braising and casseroling

  • Stewing, braising and casseroling are all moist methods of cooking that are cooked in the oven or on the hob. The meat is simmered gently at a low temperature with added liquid.
  • Allow approximately 225-350g (8-12oz) vegetables (use root vegetables cut into chunks) per 450g (1lb) meat and 150ml (¼pt) liquid (try stock, wine, beer etc).

Method

  • There are two methods of preparation:
    1. All the meat, vegetables and liquid are added to a large pan or ovenproof casserole dish. Cover and cook for the recommended time.
    2. The traditional ‘sealing’ method is where the meat and vegetables are browned in a little oil then the remaining ingredients are added.
  • You could also try adding jars of shop bought sauces to make preparation really quick. This method is ideal for making tasty curries, simply add a jar of shop bought curry sauce to some cubed meat and vegetables and cook for the calculated cooking time.
Stewing, braising, casseroling: Gas mark 3, 170°C, 325°F
Beef Cuts Cooking time
Topside, braising steak; dice and daubes; shin and leg Stew 2-3 hours
Braise Braising steak (Shin, leg, neck) 1½-2½ hours
Lamb Cuts Cooking time
Shoulder steaks Braise 1-1½ hours
Chops and cutlets: Loin, Chump 2cm (¾) thick Braise 1-1½ hours

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Barbecue tips

  • Light barbecues well in advance, making sure you use enough charcoal, and wait until it is glowing red (with a powdery grey surface) before starting to cook.
  • Keep meat refrigerated for as long as possible before cooking.
  • Make sure the chef doesn’t mix up the cooking utensils, boards or plates for raw and cooked meats – keep them separate.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly – before preparing food, after touching raw meat and before eating.
  • Ensure all sausages and burgers are thoroughly cooked before serving (juices should run clear).

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Pan-frying

Pan-frying, or shallow frying is a quick cooking method for small, tender cuts using an uncovered pan on the hob.

  • Use a heavy-based frying pan, sauté pan or wok.
  • For best results, use only a small quantity of oil or butter.
  • Ensure that the oil is hot before adding your preferred beef or lamb cuts.
  • Sear each side quickly to seal in juices and retain succulence.
  • Only turn your steaks once during cooking; leaving them to cook untouched will produce juicier results.
  • If you use a griddle pan add a little oil on both sides of your steaks, chops or cutlets and ensure the dry pan is really hot before frying
Pan-frying
Beef Cuts Cooking time
Minute steak For each side allow: 1-2 minutes
Fillet steak
2-3cm (¾-1¼inch) thick
For each side allow:
Rare: 3-4 minutes
Medium: 4-5 minutes
Well-done: 6-7 minutes
Sirloin, rump, rib-eye, minute,
2cm (¾inch) thick
For each side allow:
Rare: 2½ minutes
Medium: 4 minutes
Well-done: 6 minutes
Burgers
1-2cm (¼-¾inch) thick
For each side allow: 4-6 minutes
Mince 4-6 minutes
In a good heavy based pan fry mince, either dry or with a little oil
Lamb Cuts Cooking time
Leg (bone-in and boneless)
Chump, shoulder, loin
2cm (¾inch) thick
For each side allow: 4-6 minutes
Leg (bone-in and boneless)
Chump, shoulder, loin
2cm+ (1inch+) thick
For each side allow: 6-8 minutes
Loin, chump, cutlets
2cm (¾inch) thick
For each side allow: 6-8 minutes
Burgers
1-2cm (¼-¾inch) thick
For each side allow: 4-6 minutes
Mince 4-6 minutes
In a good heavy based pan fry mince, either dry or with a little oil

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Grilling

A fast, dry alternative to pan-frying for cooking tender cuts, using intense radiant heat either above or below the meat. Char-grilling or barbecuing seals the meat juices by forming a crust on the surface of the meat. The meat must be basted with a prepared glaze, butter, oil or reserved marinade mixture. This gives a distinctive flavour to your beef or lamb and keeps the meat moist and succulent. Only turn your steaks once during cooking; leaving them to cook untouched will produce juicier results.

  • Under The Heat.
    Cook the food under a heated element such as a conventional electric or gas grill.
  • Over The Heat.
    Brush the meat lightly with oil and ensure that the grill rack is pre-heated. Place the grill rack over gas or charcoal grill or barbecue.
  • Between Heat.
    Place the meat between heated grill bars (such as vertical toaster or grill.) This employs radiant heat, convection heat or both.
Grilling
Beef Cuts Cooking time
Minute steak For each side allow: 1-2 minutes
Fillet steak
2-3cm (¾-1¼inch) thick
For each side allow:
Rare: 3-4 minutes
Medium: 4-5 minutes
Well-done: 6-7 minutes
Sirloin, rump, rib-eye, minute,
2cm (¾inch) thick
For each side allow:
Rare: 2½ minutes
Medium: 4 minutes
Well-done: 6 minutes
Burgers
1-2cm (¼-¾inch) thick
For each side allow: 4-6 minutes
Lamb Cuts Cooking time
Steaks
Leg (bone-in and boneless)
Chump, shoulder, loin
2cm (¾inch) thick
For each side allow: 4-6 minutes
Leg (bone-in and boneless)
Chump, shoulder, loin
2cm+ (1inch+) thick
For each side allow: 6-8 minutes
Chops or Cutlets
Loin, chump, cutlets
2cm (¾inch) thick
For each side allow: 6-8 minutes
Burgers
1-2cm (¼-¾inch) thick
For each side allow: 4-6 minutes

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Baking

This method employs dry cooking in the oven either in a roasting tin or in a sealed container or foil packet. For wonderfully tender meat, choose a clay or terracotta brick which effectively creates a clay oven within your oven. As the oven heats, steam condenses in the pot, basting the meat in its own juices. The end result is moist, tender, full of flavour and naturally cooked with no extra fat.

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