How to Keep Meat Moist and Juicy

No matter how you cook it, here’s how to maximize meat’s flavor.

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Food chemist Shirley Corriher shares tips for keeping meat moist and tricks for a juicier hamburger.

For the tastiest hamburger, use ground chuck, which comes from a more flavorful muscle, has more fat and is less expensive than ground sirloin.

It is very important not to overcook meat, which can have as many dangers as undercooking meat. Dry flesh against a very hot surface produces unhealthy chemical compounds. To avoid, keep the meat moist, either with a marinade or with careful cooking over a less high heat for a shorter time. Blackened foods are safe because they are protected by the butter and rubs.

To prevent meat from shrinking up into little wads when it cooks, cut it against the grain. Look for the longest fibers in the meat (they will run the length of the meat) and cut perpendicular to them. This will also produce a cut that's tender.

Brining makes meat juicier. Unbrined meat loses 30 percent of its moisture, while brined meat loses only 15 percent. Make a brine by combining 1 cup of salt to 1gallon of water. Brine the meat about four hours and rinse thoroughly. There will be no added saltiness to the finished product. Brine a turkey overnight in the same solution, increasing the amount of brining liquid to cover the bird.

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