Secret #1: Giving it a Rest

The chefs at hautemealz.com are very excited to announce that, starting today Feb. 9th (my birthday, btw) we will begin a 20-Day 20-Part series of blog posts titled “Tips, Tricks, and Secrets of Professional Chefs”.

That’s right, we’re taking you inside the professional kitchen to show you the techniques that chefs use to make their dishes just a little tastier, a little easier, and a little quicker than the home chef has been taught to do.

You DO NOT want to miss this series! Go to the link in the right-hand column  and subscribe to our blog updates! (You do not have to be a hautemealz.com member to subscribe to the blog or newsletter.)

This is gonna be fun!

-Chef Perry

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Secret 1 – “Giving it a rest”


Have you ever gotten a steak or a chicken breast right off the grill, cut into it with a sharp knife, and had a gush of hot, steamy juices pour out onto your plate?

Yeah, me too.

Did you notice, a few minutes later, that that lovely, juicy piece of glorious cow, pig, or chicken had turned into sawdust?

Yeah, me too.

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Once meat is removed from the heat, it’s vital that it be allowed to “rest”, tented loosely in foil. Resting allows the meat to relax and reabsorb its own juices back into the muscle fibers, as they cool. If you cut into that same steak or chicken breast after its rested under a foil tent for 5-10 minutes, you’ll see those same juices bead up on the surface of the meat, but not pour out of you plate.


This means that the whole cut is going to stay moist.

With small cuts like steaks and chops, I think that just a few minutes (5-10) is sufficient.

brisket10Some larger cuts of meat, like pork shoulders, leg of lamb, or beef brisket, require foiling or wrapping tightly in foil, and “coolering” (see picture, right) for a longer length of time. This allows the internal temp to rise the last few degrees without any additional heat, without the outside of the meat overcooking.

Here are some good general resting times:

  • Pork shoulders (Butts), & Brisket – 2 Hours
  • Whole Turkey, Lg Roasts  –  30 minutes
  • Smaller roasts, Whole Chickens, Turkey breasts  15– 20 minutes
  • Steaks, Chops, Chicken Breasts, 5 – 10 minutes

Always tent the meat loosely in foil to keep the surface temperature from dropping much faster than the internal temp. This can lead to drying, as well.

l_R090184Oh, and while those steaks are resting…toss some chopped shallots, a cup of Merlot, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and a teaspoon of chopped garlic into a skillet and simmer. Add any drippings from the steak plate, as well, then pour a couple of tablespoons over each steak, just before serving. (You’ll thank me.)

Tomorrow, we’ll continue our series “Tips, Tricks, and Secrets of Professional Chefs” by taking a look at “Buttering Up!”

See ya tomorrow!

-Chef Perry