HOW TO COOK MEAT

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

A

B

  • bain marie

    Bain Marie

    Also known as a double-boiler or a water bath the bain marie is a piece of French cooking equipment that is used to heat things slowly and gently.

  • baster

    Baster

    A baster is used to baste meat as it cooks in its own juices. Commonly used for rotisserie cooking, grilling and roasting.

  • blender

    Blender

    Used to puree, emulsify, chop and blend things in the kitchen. Especially things like smoothies, daiquiris and pina coloda's.

  • boning knife

    Boning Knife

    A narrow-bladed knife used to remove the bones and/or flesh from meat. The blade is stiff when used for beef and pork, but a flexible blade is more useful for poultry and fish.

  • braising pan

    Braising Pan

    A special enameled cast-iron pan with a tight fitting lid used to braise meats. Also called a brazier, braiser or a rondeau.

  • bread knife

    Bread Knife

    A serrated-bladed knife used to cut bread. The recessed or off-set handle is the most ergonomic and easiest to use. Also, bread knives make really nasty wounds.

  • broiling pan

    Broiler Pan

    A pan that is designed to fit under the broiler. Usually a rack is suspended over a reservoir to both elevate the meat and catch the drippings.

  • butchers knife

    Butcher's Knife

    A knife that is made specifically for butchering, processing and sometimes gutting animals.

  • butchers twine

    Butcher's Twine

    Used for trussing and tying things up for cooking.

C

  • can opener

    Can Opener

    You'd have to have been living in a cave for the entirety of your life with people who were also born in a cave to not know what a can opener is.

  • carving knife

    Carving Knife

    A long, thin knife used for cutting thin slices of cooked meat. Often, a meat fork will also be included if the knife is part of a set. In the old days, the carving knife was the best knife in the house, so it often had an ornately decorated or fancy handle and was stored in a box with the good china.

  • casserole knife

    Casserole Dish

    A large deep dish made of glass or clay used for baking and serving. In Minnesota we use casserole dishes to make "hot-dish" and that's what we call it too.

  • chafing dish

    Chafing Dish

    A way of gently cooking food or a way of keeping food warm on a buffet. In fancier restaurants chafing dishes are used to prepare food table-side. In trashy restaurants they are used to keep you from getting sick from the crappy food.

  • chestnut knife

    Chestnut Knife

    A very shallow bladed knife used to score the skin of chestnuts for steaming. The blade is shallow so that it doesn't cut the flesh of the chestnut while it cuts the skin.

  • chimney starter

    Chimney Starter

    The chimney like tool that makes it easier to light charcoal for grilling.

  • chinese chefs knife

    Chinese Chef's Knife

    A large, rectangular-bladed knife resembling a cleaver, but much lighter and thinner. Like other chef's knives, the Chinese chef's knife is an all-purpose knife used for a variety of tasks. It is used widely throughout many Asian countries.

  • china cap

    China Cap

    A conical strainer made of metal, similar to the colander. Generally considered to be a cheaper alternative to the chinoise. I'm not positive, but I bet the name of this tool is offensive to someone, somewhere.

  • chinoise

    Chinoise

    A fine-meshed, conical strainer used sometimes in conjunction with a wooden cone to help push stuff through the holes. Chinoise is the French feminine adjective for Chinese; not sure why they called it that.

  • cleaver

    Cleaver

    Large, rectangular, heavy, and thick-bladed knife used for "cleaving" bone and meat quickly and efficiently. Not to be confused with a Chinese chef's knife, which resembles the cleaver in some ways.

  • colander

    Colander

    A bowl shaped strainer used for draining food like pasta and vegetables. Those made of screens may be the most efficient.

  • crab cracker

    Crab Cracker

    A sort of pliers used to crack open the shells of crab and lobster. Or you could just use a pliers, or even better use your bare hands!

  • crock pot

    Crock Pot

    A brand name for a type of slow cooker, which is a type of electric cooking appliance used for making dips, soups, stews, and braised dishes.

  • cutting board

    Cutting Board

    The surface we use to prepare meat and vegetables for cooking and eating. Usually made of hardwood or plastic, these cutting boards need to be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly.

D

  • deveiner knife

    Deveiner Knife

    A specialized knife used to remove the "vein," which is actually the colon, from the back of shrimps. Like a sort of narrow or thin tourne knife. You'd have to eat a lot of shrimp in order for this to be worth your while.

  • digital scale

    Digital Scale

    They come in many shapes and sizes. I would recommend getting a table-top model as a pocket-sized digital scale is pretty much only good for weighing conflict diamonds and illicit narcotics.

  • digital thermometer

    Digital Thermometer

    The absolute best way to check the temperature of something. The detachable-probe model is convenient, but the cord can be damaged easily. But they can usually be easily replaced.

  • double boiler

    Double Boiler

    A type of bain marie. They can be purchased as such or improvised out of similar-sized pots and bowls. The easiest double boiler to make is created by placing a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water. You will need an oven mitt or towel to keep from getting burned by the steam under the bowl.

  • dough scraper

    Dough Scraper

    A flat square of metal attached to a handle that works very well for chopping dough into portions. As an added bonus, it also makes cleaning off a table easier, especially if it has dried dough stuck to it. Just like scraping ice off a windshield.

  • dutch oven

    Dutch Oven

    Usually made of cast iron, this thick-walled cooking vessel has a tight-fitting lid almost always made of cast iron as well. These cooking vessels have been used for hundreds of years and are sort of like an early form of the slow cooker (a.k.a. Crock Pot). They can be placed directly over fires, buried in coals, or nowadays on top of stoves and in ovens.

E

  • egg slicer

    Egg Slicer

    A tool that uses wires stretched evenly across a frame to slice eggs thinly, quickly, and evenly. I knew someone who used it to slice strawberries too. It worked for a time until the wires got loose and eventually the egg slicer crapped out on him.

F

  • fillet knife

    Fillet Knife

    An extremely flexible specialized boning knife used to fillet fish. Its flexibility enables the blade to go around and over the bones of the fish. My favorite fillet knife is made by Marttiini in Finland.

  • flexible cutting board

    Flexible Cutting Board

    These can make prepping large quantities of vegetables easier as after you've chopped them you can pick the cutting board up and dump them easily into a pot or bowl.

  • fluting knife

    Fluting Knife

    These are small, specialized knives used for decorating and peeling. Fluting is when you cut grooves into the side of a column-shaped item like a carrot or cucumber.

  • food mill

    Food Mill

    Also called the passatutto, puree sieve, or moulinette; the food mill is a way of pureeing or mashing fruits, vegetables, legumes and other items into a consistent size. It is the best way to puree things like tomatoes, as it keeps the seeds from getting in the sauce.

  • food processor

    Food Processor

    A sort of quick way to chop things up. The cuts are erratic and inconsistent in size and shape so generally I only use it for things that need to be pureed or made smooth. Some attachments make short work of vegetable prep though, so in large-quantity kitchens they are quite useful.

  • french chefs knife

    French Chef's Knife

    The most popular chef's knife in the Western world. This chef's knife is a general utility knife and is one of the most essential tools in the kitchen. Chefs are more protective of their knives than they are of anything else.

  • frying pan

    Frying Pan

    A general term for pans that are used for frying and searing. Many types of frying pans exist: cast iron skillets, non-stick, copper, copper core, electric, stainless steel, clad, aluminum core. All-Clad makes some of the most accessible high-quality pans.

G

  • garlic press

    Garlic Press

    These things are only good if you buy the good ones. These are generally larger, resembling a small potato ricer. Smashing or pressing garlic breaks down more of the cell walls, which makes the garlic more garlicky. If you like that sort of thing. But depending on how long you cook the garlic, it may not matter as much, since long cooking times break down flavors. So adding garlic near the end of cooking is a good way to get a fresh garlic flavor in your food. But cooked garlic also tastes good, so you have a lot of options.

  • german cooks knife

    German Cook's Knife

    The origin of the chef's knife is Germany, although they call them cook's knives there: kochmesser. The original German version is more curved, continuously, from heel to tip. Germany, especially the Solingen area, is home to some of the best knives in the world. It's where my personal favorite, Wüsthof, is from.

  • grapefruit knife

    Grapefruit Knife

    A dull tipped curved, flexible blade with a serrated edge used to remove the flesh of a grapefruit from its peel and from the inner segmented walls.

  • grater

    Grater

    Also called a shredder in some places, the grater comes in a few varieties: microplane, zester, nutmeg grater, ginger grater, cheese grater, box grater, and more. They do exactly what they say they do: grate things into fine pieces.

  • grill

    Grill

    This is an incredibly broad and diverse group of kitchen equipment. The two dominant forms of grills are charcoal and gas. But seeing as a grill only needs to be food elevated over a heat source many forms of grill are possible. Even infrared grills exist.

  • grill brush

    Grill Brush

    Basically a metal or wire bristled brush that is used to clean the grill grates. Many types exist but most of them only work for a few months before they crap out. Usually because we leave them outside all year long.

H

  • hard cheese knife

    Hard Cheese Knife

    A stiff bladed knife with a forked tip for picking up the cheese that was just sliced. In a pinch these knives can double as butter knives. People may start using them like sporks though. I mean knorks.

  • honing steel

    Honing Steel

    A steel or ceramic rod that is used to straighten the edge of a sharpened knife by removing the burr. The steel is not intended for sharpening, although by using it the knife will in effect be sharper. But it is just for refining the edge, not for attaining it.

I

  • ice cream scoop

    Ice Cream Scoop

    Generally the ice cream scoop is used for more than just scooping ice cream. These scoops are also called portion scoopers, as they are really good at measuring even portions of food quickly. I use them to portion out mixtures of meat to make even-sized meatballs.

  • injector

    Injector

    A large needle used to inject liquid into meat. Very common in the meatpacking industry as a way of adding weight and salt to their products. We do this at home too so that we can get salt spices inside the meat. Some injectors can inject solid food into the meat, sort of a novelty though. I can do that by hand.

J

  • jaccard

    Jaccard

    A brand name and type of tenderizer that uses small blades connected to a spring and a handle to tenderize meat. You put the Jaccard on the meat and push the blades down it to the meat. These blades cut and break down the cell walls in effect tenderizing the meat.

K

  • kicthen mixer

    Kitchen Mixer

    An implement of mixing.

  • kitchen scissors

    Kitchen Scissors

    Possibly more widely known as kitchen shears or poultry shears, the kitchen scissors are a utility tool and are heavy-duty enough to cut through poultry bone. A kitchen essential.

  • knife block

    Knife Block

    A place for you to put your knives. Make sure they are clean before you put them in there though or you might cross-contaminate. Which is one of the reasons I put my knives in my knife roll or on the magnet rack.

L

  • ladle

    Ladle

    A long handled serving utensil with a bowl or reservoir attached at the tip. They come in various sizes and shapes. The most common use for the ladle is for serving soup. But they also used to be used for drinking water. When I was a kid we drank from a ladle attached to the old hand-pump well at the farm. We also used the ladle to prime the pump from a bucket of water kept near the pump. If the bucket ever went dry we would have to go down to the river and get some more water before we could have a drink. That hand-pumped well-water was some of the best water I have ever tasted.

  • lemon reamer

    Lemon Reamer

    Also called a "citrus reamer" or just simply a "reamer," the lemon reamer is one of the easiest ways to extract the juice from a citrus fruit. Usually they are made of wood, which means they shouldn't be put in the dishwasher.

M

  • mandoline

    Mandoline

    A very versatile cooking tool that can cut vegetables very efficiently and evenly. It is especially good at cutting things thinly, like for chips. A good mandoline used well and wisely can make any kitchen more efficient at production.

  • measuring cups

    Measuring Cups

    Lots of different types of measuring cups exist, and they all work fine. Some, like those in the photo, are fancier then others. These are best served to impress people at parties.

  • measuring spoons

    Measuring Spoons

    There are lots of different types of these, as well. I like the traditional ones the best. Keep it simple.

  • meat fork

    Meat Fork

    A large fork for serving meat. It usually accompanies a carving knife in a set stored in a hinged box, lined with velvet, that sits in the china hutch between the collections of blue glassware and fancy porcelain teacups, just waiting for the queen to come to tea so you can get them out and show her how fancy you are.

  • meat tenderizer

    Meat Tenderizer

    A heavy blunt instrument operated by hand that is used to "tenderize" meat by breaking down some of the cellular walls and collagen. If you tenderize the meat a lot it will begin to change shape and flatten, as in the case of schnitzel.

  • mezzaluna

    Mezzaluna

    This half moon-shaped knife is most often used for chopping herbs. It comes in single-blade or double-blade varieties. Sometimes it also comes with a cutting board with a recess in it to fit the blade.

  • microplane

    Microplane

    Is a brand name for a type of grater, zester and rasp used to grate various food items into smaller portions.

  • microwave

    Microwave

    It's that thing that almost everyone in the world knows about.

  • mortar and pestle

    Mortar and Pestle

    Usually made from some sort of stone the mortar and pestle are used to crush and grind substances. They work well for whole spices.

N

O

  • oven mitts

    Oven Mitts

    A insulated cotton glove that prevents the wearer from being burned for a period of time. They are also made from Kevlar and Nomex. The cotton ones should never be used when wet or even moist.

  • oven thermometer

    Oven Thermometer

    A thermometer that you keep in the oven. This is a good idea since most ovens, at least cheap ones, are inaccurate.

  • oyster knife

    Oyster Knife

    A short little knife used to pry open oyster shells.

P

  • parchment paper

    Parchment Paper

    Used in baking to keep things from sticking. Also occasionally used in cooking, to make paper envelopes for steaming with aromatics (en papillote).

  • apring knife

    Paring Knife

    A small utility knife used for many things in the kitchen. With this and a chef's knife, one can do almost any task in a kitchen.

  • parmesan cheese knife

    Parmesan Cheese Knife

    A stubby little short bladed knife with a bulbous handle used to break off little pieces of Parmesan.

  • pastry bag

    Pastry Bag

    Also known as a piping bag this tool is a triangular shaped sack filled with stuff that is extruded from the smaller end through a tip. Lots of things are made using these babies.

  • pastry brush

    Pastry Brush

    Also used for basting things, the pastry brush is used to brush a substance onto an item. Putting egg whites on buns before baking, so that the sesame seeds or poppy seeds will stick, is one use.

  • peel

    Peel

    A flat wooden paddle used to remove items from hot ovens--usually things made with dough, like bread, pizzas, and buns.

  • pepper mill

    Pepper Mill

    A conical burr grinder that is adjustable and grinds pepper freshly and quickly. This is the preferred pepper in most kitchens.

  • pizza cutter

    Pizza Cutter

    Usually made with a rotating, wheel-like blade that rolls over the pizza as it cuts. These are also made with large mezzalunas.

  • pot holder

    Pot Holder

    Any insulated thing that allows you to hold a hot pot.

  • potato masherPotato Masher

    The thing that you've been using to mash your potatoes with for your entire life.

  • potato ricer

    Potato Ricer

    The thing that you've been using to mash your potatoes for your entire life.

  • poultry lifters

    Poultry Lifters

    These things make picking up large roasts much easier.

Q

R

  • rolling pin

    Rolling Pin

    These can be as simple as a dowel or as complicated as a marble tube. My grandma has one that is basically a jar shaped like a rolling pin that you put cold water in for making pie dough and other pastries where keeping the dough cold is important.

  • roasting pan

    Roasting Pan

    The pan that we roast things in. Usually they have a rack to elevate the items off the bottom a bit.

  • rubber scraper

    Rubber Scraper

    Generally these are some sort of rubber spatula used to remove all the little bits of something stuck to the inside of a bowl or mixer. Sometimes these little bits add up to be one more pancake or muffin. Which is a good thing.

S

  • santoku knife

    Santoku Knife

    A type of chef's knife from Japan that has gained popularity in the past few years. It has been one of my favorite knives to use ever since my brother gave me one for my birthday many years ago.

  • sashimi bocho

    Sashimi Bocho

    A group of Japanese knives, each with specialized purposes. The tako hiki is used for cutting up octopus. The yanagi ba is also called the willow blade and is used for preparing many sashimi dishes. These are the most common, but there are many more types if you are interested.

  • sauce brush

    Sauce Brush

    A heat-resistant brush used for mopping and saucing hot things.

  • saucepan

    Saucepan

    Often referred to just as a pot, this has high sides and can be used for a variety of tasks, such as sauce making.

  • sifter

    Sifter

    A sifter is a type of sieve that separates larger bits into smaller bits as with a flour sifter. A sifter can also help to evenly distribute or dust things, like with powdered sugar on a cake.

  • skimmer

    Skimmer

    Any utensil that can be used for skimming things off the surface of liquids in pots. We called them minnow nets or scoops when I was cutting my teeth.

  • soft cheese knife

    Soft Cheese Knife

    A very narrow and flexible knife with large holes in the middle to prevent the soft cheese from sticking to the blade.

  • smoker box

    Smoker Box

    A little cast iron box that generates smoke in propane grills. You put some wood chips in the box and place it over heat.

  • spider

    Spider

    A type of skimmer from China used for removing items from, among other things, hot oil in woks. They generally have a metallic spiderweb shaped bowl on one end and a bamboo handle.

  • steak knife

    Steak Knife

    A knife, often serrated, used to cut steaks. These are often set upon the table as silverware when required.

  • steamer

    Steamer

    Several types of steamers exist. Some that resemble double-boilers, some that are made of bamboo, industrial kitchen steamers. . . and many rice cookers can become steamers, too.

  • stick blender

    Stick Blender

    Also sometimes called an immersion blender, it makes short work of pureeing soups and sauces while still in the pot.

  • stock pot

    Stock Pot

    A large stainless or aluminum pot that is used to make stocks, broths, and soups. A fully stocked kitchen will have multiple sizes.

T

  • tomato knife

    Tomato Knife

    A specialized serrated knife used especially for slicing tomatoes. Many cooks believe these knives are unnecessary as a sharp chef's knife can do the same thing.

  • tongs

    Tongs

    Spring loaded tongs are the easiest to use. The crappy springy metal ones may as well just be thrown away.

  • tourne knife

    Tourne Knife

    A very specialized knife used, among other things, to "tourne" vegetables. This is a classical French technique that has faded out of practice, as it's a bit wasteful. But tourned vegetables sure look good.

U

V

  • vacuum sealer

    Vacuum Sealer

    A device that sucks all of the air out of a bag. This helps to extend the lifespan of the product.

  • vegetable brush

    Vegetable Brush

    A stiff bristled brush that is used to clean the skin of vegetables.

  • vegetable peeler

    Vegetable Peeler

    Used to remove the skin from many vegetables, including potatoes and carrots.

W

  • waffle iron

    Waffle Iron

    If you like waffles, you've got to have one of these.

  • whetstone

    Whetstone

    One of the preferred methods of sharpening knives and blades. It can be tricky to master, so it's best to have someone teach you.

  • whisk

    Whisk

    Wire whisks are cheap and easy to come by. Treat them well and they will last generations.

  • wok

    Wok

    A bowl shaped cooking pan. Requires large amounts of heat to work properly, as well as a ring to make the wok mobile.

  • wooden spoon

    Wooden Spoon

    Many cooks prefer to use a wooden spoon for certain tasks especially when dealing with non-stick cookware. Some states have however made them illegal in commercial kitchens.

X

Y

Z

  • zester

    Zester

    A specialized type of grater like a Microplane used to remove the outer rind of citrus fruits.