Alors, after the last event a few people asked for tips in regards to cooking a piece of meat well. And being that we are those kinds of people we figured we would oblige.
There are of course many ways to cook a nice tender and succulant morsel of beef, but i will limit myself to how i cooked the large piece of faux-filet (sirloin) for the last event.
First tip : the salt
This really is the second most important thing for me when cooking beef, lamb, duck, and to a lesser degree, pork. I like to salt well in advance (a day or two), especially for a large piece, this does many things, not least of which is to allow the salt to penetrate the whole piece and not just season the outside. Many people (especially chefs) will tell you not to salt until the last minute as salt draws out moisture and thus makes your meat dry, and they are right....up to a point.
What actually happens is the salt begins its process by drawing out the moisture but as more time passes, the moisture will be drawn back in by the salt that is now within meat. So now we have a piece of meat that is well seasoned and the moisture has been locked in by that seasoning.
Second tip : resting
This is of course the most important part of cooking almost any meat. the entire process of cooking meat is about applying extreme heat to the outside, this draws the blood to the exterier (where the heat is) creating the caramelised edge that we all love, but it means that there is now no blood in the middle of the meat, resting allows everything to settle back into place, and become more juicy and tender. One of my prefered Australian chefs, Neil Perry (whose father was a butcher as well), states that you should rest your meat for twice as long as you cook it, for me that is a little excessive but at least one and a half times as much as the cooking time is a good idea.
Because it is protein it will keep cooking while it rests, so always cook one cuisson less than you want. i.e for rare, cook it blue, rest, reheat quickly, serve straight away. It is not, however fundamental to re-heat the meat if you don't think it is needed, one of the best chefs i ever worked for prefered the meat served to her directly from the resting tray and not re-heated.
It is also important to rest your meat at the right temperature, just beside the oven/stove top you are cooking on is good, never above the oven, or conversly, anywhere too cold, as both will toughen the meat.
Another significant advantage of the resting process, is the juices that will come out of the meat while you rest, this can and should be poured into any sauce you have made or simply poured over the meat on the plate, some people (like myself for example) like to mop up these juices on a piece of bread, they really are the tastiest part of the meat.
P.S: traduction en français à venir très vite! (Ms Jones)