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For How Long Should You Rest Meat?


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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 05:40 AM

I've been working as a bartender in a new restaurant in town, and when I get a chance I poke my nose into the kitchen and see what's what, looking for insights, tips, and, yeah, tastes. :wink: One thing that I've immediately noticed is that the chefs, who've worked in the kitchens of meat-centric types like Barbara Lynch, Paul Bertolli, and Tony Maws, let the meat rest far longer than I do or have seen recommended. A sautéed chicken breast, for example, may sit for 10 minutes before it's plated.

I've read through this topic and it doesn't quite get to the question of duration. What guides do people use? How does method -- high-heat sauté or roasting vs lower heat methods -- change that duration?
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#2 weinoo

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 07:08 AM

I'm a 10-15 minute person for meat such as a pork chop or a steak that's at least 1" thick. Larger items, like a whole bird, a roast, etc. can wait 20 - 30 minutes before carving.

One thing I always do is to put the product on a pre-heated platter or whatever, and cover it with some foil...and maybe even top that with a clean kitchen towel. Loss of heat is minimal.
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#3 nickrey

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 07:13 AM

One rule of thumb I've come across is resting for half the time it took to cook the meat.

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#4 paulraphael

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 12:41 PM

I've seen various rules of thumb based on cooking time, but I'm suspicious; they fundamentally don't make sense. A 1" steak can cook in just a few minutes under a salamander, 20 minutes in a medium skillet, or several hours by low temperature sous vide. In these cases, the ideal resting time is in fact inversely related to the cooking time; the low temp steak won't require any rest; the very high temp steak will require the longest.

I don't know any good formula, but in general the higher the cooking temperature and the thicker the meat, the longer the ideal rest time. I've gotten good results with 7 to 10 minutes for steaks, and up to 30 minutes for large roasts.

Edited by paulraphael, 25 April 2010 - 12:46 PM.


#5 Chris Amirault

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 05:44 PM

Large roasts including chicken?
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#6 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 05:49 PM

Usually about 10 minutes for most things that I make most of the time--steaks, a roast chicken or duck, a small roast. Up to 20 minutes for something like a standing rib with 4 or more ribs or a turkey. More like 5 minutes for small things like tournedos or a chicken or veal paillard.

#7 paulraphael

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 05:55 PM

Large roasts including chicken?


Nah, I rest a chicken for 10 minutes or a bit longer. By large I meant something like a turkey or a prime rib.

Often I rest for however long it takes me to make a pan sauce, not according to any theories of what's ideal. Haven't done any formal testing.

Edited by paulraphael, 25 April 2010 - 05:58 PM.


#8 David Ross

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 06:14 PM

Well, chiming in here as a very unscientific home cook, for thick New Yorks of about 1 1/2" and thick tenderloins of up to 2," I only let them rest no more than 5 minutes. They stay hot, which I want, and don't seem to lose much moisture. The tenderloin doesn't of course have as much moisture to begin with as a New York, but honestly, I don't seem to lose much moisture out of my steaks.

Rather than let the steak rest on a cutting board, I put the steaks on a small rack over a serving plate while they cool. Any juices that do seep out run onto the plate that I'm serving the steak on, so I basically have steak jus on the plate, which I like. If I choose to make a sauce, I'll add those juices back into the pan and take on making the sauce. It's not a typical technique but it works in my atypical kitchen.

For whole roasted chickens, which I usually do on the rotisserie, I'll let a 3 1/2-4 1/2 pound chicken rest for about 10 minutes. Now those I treat differently than the steaks. I keep them on the spit and just let the bird rest before carving.

#9 John Rosevear

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 06:31 PM

My rough rules of thumb, based on nothing but home-kitchen experience: 5 min plated and covered for a 1"-1.25" steak (which is almost always high-heat grilled in my house) or 10 min if I want a plateful of juice (which I often do if I'm going to be adding fries). 10-15 min for the 4 lb-ish chickens I tend to cook, up to 30 min for a larger pork or beef roast.
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#10 Marlene

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 06:45 PM

I'm just going to say that it's a little more complicated than this. I'll stick to large cuts right now, like say a prime rib, rather than the small cuts of steaks, etc that only need really maybe 5 minutes of resting.

So, it depends on how you're cooking your Prime rib, which is what I'll use for my example.

If you're cooking regular 325 roasting convection or not, then 20 - 30 minutes is about right.

however, if you're doing high heat, turn oven off, or sear then low heat, the meat needs very little resting, say 10 minutes, as it is basically resting during the low heat cooking period. I have checked and the meat doesn't cook up much more after either of those methods after removing from the oven. So it depends on your method. Poultry needs less resting than beef for example, as does pork.
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#11 Shalmanese

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 11:07 AM

I rest until it drops 2C/5F from it's peak temperature. Anything else is an illogical rule of thumb. We have thermometers people, lets use them correctly.
PS: I am a guy.

#12 paulraphael

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 11:12 AM

I rest until it drops 2C/5F from it's peak temperature. Anything else is an illogical rule of thumb. We have thermometers people, lets use them correctly.


What premise is this based on?

#13 weinoo

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 12:23 PM

I rest until it drops 2C/5F from it's peak temperature. Anything else is an illogical rule of thumb. We have thermometers people, lets use them correctly.

What's illogical about letting the temp drop more than 5F?
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#14 Shalmanese

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 01:42 PM

the 5F is just a handy rule of thumb. What I meant was that time based metrics for resting were just as illogical as time based metrics for roasting. Meat is rested once the core reaches a peak temperature. Waiting for it to go down at least 5F means a) You can be certain it really did reach the peak b) any error that might have come about from placing the probe not exactly in the core.
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#15 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 07:22 PM

But is it a temperature related phenomenon that one is waiting for when resting meat? I suppose in some sense it is, but usually the reason that one rests the meat is so the juices don't all leak out right away, and there is no reason to believe that 5F from peak is a good rule of thumb for that, since it would imply that a rare steak won't leak at 115F (if you consider 120F rare for a steak) and a well done steak won't leak at, say 130F (if you think of 135F as well done). I would sooner believe a theory that a steak should be served at 115F, no matter what the peak temperature was, but I'm not sure if that's the case either. And then there's the HACCP guideline that hot food should be held at 135F or higher, which we're probably all ignoring at home.

#16 nickrey

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:30 AM

the 5F is just a handy rule of thumb.


Rules of thumb:

Handy
Illogical
Logical
...

Now I'm getting really confused.

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Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
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#17 marv

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:20 PM

I am terribly unscientific about his sort for thing...so for a steak or chop as long as it take me to set the table and plate up the non meat items...longer for a joint and over an hour for the christmas turkey.

#18 Kent Wang

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 04:10 PM

How about ground meat, like a burger?

#19 infernooo

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 10:25 PM

Here is a great post discussing this very topic:

http://www.seriousea...g-grilling.html

#20 paulraphael

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 02:07 PM

The serious eats article echoes McGee: one reason to rest is to allow the center to finish cooking through conduction, but another reason is to allow the meat to cool slightly all the way to the surface, ideally to 120°F. With the temperature drop, the meat structure becomes firmer and more resistant to deforming while being cut; also, the muscle fibers relax a bit and are able to re-absorb some of the moisture that they've expelled. It's the cooling that keeps the meat from bleeding juices when you carve it.

So yeah, a thermometer will help with this, but the final temperature is more important than the change in temperature from peak ... this is why a roast cooked rare by sous vide will not need any rest, but one cooked in a hot oven will need lots. Ideally after rest, the temperature should be fairly consistent from center to edge.

#21 nickrey

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 03:19 PM

Looking at both the serious eats article and McGee, the final temperature is important because when the temperature is too high the fibers are deformed such that the meat will not take in excess liquid, instead expelling it onto your plate or the chopping board.

What happens then if you use a mechanical tenderizer such as a Jaccard? When this is used, you effectively cut the fibers and modify the meat's structure. Presumably you then create channels in the meat where the juice can be distributed despite the temperature. Is the resting time shortened with Jaccarded meat as a consequence?

Ground meat (see Kent Wang's question above) similarly has a modified structure that may require less resting than intact meat for the purposes of retaining juiciness. For ground meat, however, it seems that many of the web-based discussions of resting burgers seem to center on the process ensuring that the meat is properly cooked rather than as an aid to it retaining juiciness.

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