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Why Should You Let Meat Rest?

You've mastered the flip, but do your burgers still taste dry or bland? Here's why.

As summer approaches, that means planning for graduation parties, family reunions, and picnics in the park has commenced. No such event is complete without food, and oftentimes, these events take place outdoors, which means it's time to fire up the old grill for a barbecue. After all, those juicy burgers and flavorful steaks won't flip themselves!

If you're whipping up burgers or steaks for your family and friends, you should know what a top-notch, perfect beef dish requires before and after it's been cooked: rest. Yes, it's that easy. Though we know it's hard to wait because it looks so good, there are real reasons why you should let meat rest before you cook it and before you cut into it.

If this is news to you, then hang tight and read on to find out exactly what this process is all about and for how long you should let meat rest!

Why is it important to let beef rest before you cook it?

The reason you want to allow beef to rest, which essentially allows it to come to room temperature before cooking, is to prevent it from drying out during the cooking process.

Josh Tanner of New York Prime Beef has told us before that if you're going to grill meat, you will want to avoid plopping it on top of the flames just moments after taking it out of the refrigerator.

"Let your steak rest out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking," advises Tanner. "This is important for larger, thicker cuts like a porterhouse or a big bone-in ribeye. If you throw a cold steak on the grill, it won't cook as evenly and will dry out much more easily."

You'll then want to let a cooked burger or steak rest on the grill after it's been cooked for the opposite reason.

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Why is it important to let beef rest after you cook it?

Fabrice Poigin, culinary director at King's Fish House, and Patrick Ochs, corporate executive chef for INK Entertainment USA, have also told us that one of the biggest mistakes you can make while making burgers is not giving the meat adequate time to rest on the grill.

"Allow the beef patty to rest at least a couple of minutes after cooking. Some blood and juices will drip away, thus keeping the bun from getting soggy," says Poigin.

Ochs concurs and says that "resting is very important when cooking a burger. Like most meats, giving your burger the chance to rest allows all of the deliciously mouthwatering juices to collect and re-distribute throughout the patty for a real concentrated juicy flavor. The smaller the burger patty is, the less time that's needed to rest."

How long should you let the meat rest?

If you're cooking a thick burger, you should allow the meat to rest for up to six to 10 minutes. For a smaller burger, waiting four minutes should suffice. For larger steaks, it may be worth waiting closer to 15 minutes before cutting into it to keep it tender and so the juices don't seep out. Now, it's time to get grilling and create the best burgers and steaks you've ever made!

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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