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Cooking red meat

Does anyone have a good experience with red meat on the George Forman grill? I've mastered chicken now I need help with beef. I tried at last night and I think I just bought the wrong cut. I don't know anything about the cuts, please help. I love my steaks (in moderation). Would marinating help? Thanks.

Fri. Jan 20, 12:20pm

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Garlic'n'Herb Mrs Dash, and Hy's steak spice (if available in your state). Sprinkle then grill. Even makes premade storebought hamburger patties edible.

Friday, January 20, 2006, 2:19 PM

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Some of the cheaper cuts are much tougher, and hard/gross to chew. My best suggestion (don't know much about them either) is to talk to the person behind the meat counter at the grocery store.

One good cut, I know, is a filet (think filet mignon). It's actually the same cut as a tenderloin roast. To save a little money (very little) and get the exact size/portion you want, you can buy a tenderloin (it's kind of long and round, like a log...?) and slice it down into the size filets you want to eat, and then freeze them individually. Then, the morning that you want to cook steak (or the night before), just pull one out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. Then it'll be ready to cook on your Foreman for dinner.

Friday, January 20, 2006, 2:46 PM

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I also know very little about the various cuts of beef, but I think that price pretty accurately tracks the quality. So I generally try to buy cuts that are in the middle range for price for what the store is selling. Where I am (NYC), that works out to be anywhere from $7-$10 per pound. If I'm going to cook it in stew or a crockpot, I buy something cheaper (and presumably tougher). If I'm making my bf a fancy steak dinner, I go for something more expensive.

Friday, January 20, 2006, 3:09 PM

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It's hard to know just what you mean. Did you overcook it? If it was just an OK cut, it could be tough and grisly. Marinating could definitely help with keeping it moist. You just have to really watch food when cooking on that grill since it's cooking two sides at the same time. It doesn't take long.

Friday, January 20, 2006, 4:05 PM

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OP here. Thanks for all your help. I think I bought to cheap of a cut because it was really tough. Not so grisly but tough. I'll try a filet next time. Anyone have any good marinade recipees? I know the pre-made one usually have alot of sodium. Any suggestions? Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2006, 4:10 PM

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Marinade will reduce toughness of even a cheap cut, if it is acidic and/or has papain in it.
Marinades are basically salad dressing: oil plus an acid (lemon juice or vinegar) plus whatever spices you like (onion, curry powder, salt, pepper, garlic, etc.). The acidic ingredient is the key one to break down tough parts of the meat, and the oil is the ingredient that contributes "moistness."

Friday, January 20, 2006, 4:55 PM

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I love my George Foreman!

A couple of questions for you:

1) Do you like your meat rare, medium or well done?

2) What cut of meat did you buy?

3) How thick was the steak?

Now, on to your questions:

1) Some of the tenderness depends on the direction of the grain of the steak. When you look at the meat, if you notice that the muscle fibers "line up in long lines, then that means that when you go to eat the steak, you'll want to cut the meat up "against the grain" to shorten it-- that will make it be less chewy when you eat it.

2) Don't forget that the George Foreman is cooking from both sides. Generally, you will need to take about 1/2 the time that you will on a regular grill.

3) To determine the "done-ness" of your meat, make a fist with your hand. Poke the fleshy party between the 1st joint of your thumb and the 1st knuckle of your index finger. if you make a tight fist, and then poke your hand, the "meat" should be very firm-- that's about the texture of "well done", if you make a very loose fist, where your hand is mushy, that's what's considered to be "rare" and if you make a medium fist, then that is "medium" texture....

This is what I consider to be my "wellness guage":

Rare -Brown on the outside, but mostly red in the center (still "mooing" as some call it.) - Very mushy texture
Medium Rare - pink to red center Slightly firm texture, but still a little mushy
Medium - Mostly pink center - A little firmer in texture, but not as mushy
Medium Well - pink to brown in center, but a little bit of pink - Firm in texture, but still some "give"
Well done - brown the whole way through - Very firm texture

Poke your steak while you are grilling it to see if it corresponds to the above textures. (You can also slice open the center of your steak to see if it has cooked enough for you.) HOWEVER, do remember that the steak will continue to cook internally even AFTER you take if off of the grill, so will actually want it to be slightly under-cooked before you take it off of the grill.

There are various ways to tenderize your meat (without using "meat tenderizer", which )

1) pound it (this breaks up the muscle fibers and makes the meat more tender.
2) marinate it. Generally, this involves using something acidic (like vinegar or wine) to break up the meat and to make it more tender. If you plan to marinate it, it's best to marinate it over night--if you're in a pinch, use a fork to poke the meat and marinate it at least an hour before you grill.

Some suggestions for marinades:
Italian dressing (or any type of dressing with oil and vinegar
Beer with spices and either
Wine with spices
Juices - such as lemon, lime, or orange, pineapple, tomato- (anything acidic) - I usually mix the juices with teriyaki or Soy Sauce and ginger, shallots, green onion or garlic)
Of courlse, you can always use a barbecue sauce-- if you look at the ingredients, you'll also see that vinegar is a staple ingredient in most BBQ sauces...
Balsamic, rice, or red wine vinegar tends to lend a good taste... because these tend to be a bit more acidic, I will usually temper with a very small bit of honey or sugar and a dash of salt or soy sauce.

Usually, I will also rub my steaks with a little oil to carry the flavors of the spices and to cut down the acidity, as well as to keep it from sticking to the grill, Olive Oil is a good choice, as are sesame oil (for asian inspired flavors), chili oil or,in a pinch, I'll use regular vegetable oil (because it doesn't have any taste--I prefer the flavored oils)

Cuts that are affordable:
Sirloin - usually a good lean cut to use. You can also get sirloin burgers, which are pretty lean.
Flank Steak (make sure to marinate it and then cut it against the grain - this is usually a longer grain cut)
Chuck / chuck roast - usually used for stews and slow-cooking-- this one is a bit tougher... definitely need to marinate it - if you get it in a burger, I think it's a bit fattier than the sirloin
Hamburger - watch out-- this can be very high in fat!

Better cuts, that are more expensive and usually much more tender:
Filet Mignon
Porterhouse Steak
Rib Eye
Tenderloin - cut into smaller pieces for filet mignon

Good luck! :-) Most of what I've learned is by trial and error, as well as watching my mom cook and the Betty Crocker Cookbook gives good tips as well as the Frugal Gourmet. :-)

--IrisSVB

Friday, January 20, 2006, 5:21 PM

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Note: when I say "poke your steak", I mean that you should use your finger, not a fork...

Here's some of the marinade recipes I use:

Asian:
Soy Sauce / fresh ginger / sesame oil (or sometimes sesame chili oil) / rice vinegar or red wine vinegar / green onion / garlic (powder is less powerful than the fresh), sesame seeds are optional (they add additional fat), a little bit of honey or sugar (less than 1/2 tsp) to take the "Edge" off of the acid. Sometimes I will use lemon juice instead. Lots of sodium in the soy sauce, so if you want to lower sodium content, use low sodium soy sauce.

Italian:
Most Italian dressings or vinagrettes will work... If you want to experiment, the following are good combinations:

Olive oil, red wine vinegar, Fresh garlic (ground to a paste), Shallots or onions (ground to a paste), basil, oregano, black pepper, hot peppers (if you're a spicy food lover), dried ground porcini mushrooms (this is very pungent--buy it in the spice aisle in a little grinder bottle), a little sugar to take the edge off. Occasionally, I will also add fresh red bell peppers or mushrooms that are ground to a paste. A sprinkle of salt, but be careful not to overdo it-- it's better to salt after cooking.

Mexican:
Olive oil, red wine vinegar and/or Tequila (optional!) ground cumin, garlic, onions or shallots (ground to a paste), chili powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper (if you like things hot!).

Friday, January 20, 2006, 5:43 PM

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1/2 'n 1/2 balsamic vinegar and veggie stock + a bit of honey and an equal amount of mustard + good pinch of mixed herbs makes a terrific marinade

Marinading in Jack Daniels marinade overnight will make almost any tough cut soft and succulent but the sugar content is quite high, so I have stopped using it. However it works better than anything else I've bought straight off the shelf.

mmmmmmm A nice petite cut of steak and a salad is one of my favorite meals. I'm liking the idea of the Foreman grill, so I may have to start a thread where people post their fave George Foreman recipes.

Friday, January 20, 2006, 6:46 PM

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Thanks everyone. This is more helpful information than I ever emagined. I'm glad I asked, this will help alot! I appreciate it.

Friday, January 20, 2006, 7:41 PM

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Actually, you can make your own Jack Daniels marinade...

I have some "agave nectar" that is supposed to have a lower glycemic index (i.e. doesn't give you the sugar highs and lows), and is also supposedly good for cooking as well. Might try making the Jack Daniels marinade using the following:

Jack Daniels (make sure to keep it in the marinade, and not to marinate your insides... LOL), low sugar ketchup (or perhaps a plain tomato sauce), garlic powder or finely ground garlic cloves, onions or shallots (finely ground), Agave Nectar, a dash of cinnamon (sounds weird, but it tastes good). some soy sauce, ground black pepper, and a little veggie oil or sesame oil....

Saturday, January 21, 2006, 12:18 AM

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Oh! If you like middle eastern foods, I will see if I can find my marinade recipe for Chicken (or beef or lamb) Shawarma! It has some interesting spices and the marinade includes yogurt and sumac and other interesting spices.... Tatest absolutely fabulous.... :-)

--Irissvb

Saturday, January 21, 2006, 12:20 AM

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My favorite is over real coals on the grill. I know it's old fashioned and few people do it this way anymore but it really tastes the best. My friend also cooks over their actual fire in the living room. Absolutely delicious.

Saturday, January 21, 2006, 8:19 AM

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This is a great mini-guide on cooking meat.

Sunday, November 12, 2006, 3:43 PM

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