One of my goals for 2008 is to expand the readership here at the Fawnskin Flyer. So, you are going to find some new features along with hints and tips–such as [tag]high altitude cooking tips[/tag].
Things get a bit tricky when [tag]cooking in high altitude[/tag] over 5,000 feet. I did some research and found some general information but feel free to add your hints and tips in the comments.
High Altitude Affects on Cooking Meat and Poultry
Meat and poultry are something that I don’t think about as a problem, but then I’ve cooked in high altitude for a while. The difficulty encountered comes from the fact that things can vary.
Although cuts of meat can differ, muscle is about 75% water, 20% protein, and the remaining 5% is a combination of fat, carbohydrates and minerals. The leaner the meat, the higher the water content (ie., less fat means more protein, thus more water).
So, meat and poultry can dry out easily when cooked at high altitude. To avoid this adjust cooking time and moisture–such as when you are simmering or braising. As a general rule of thumb, meat and poultry cooked by moist heat methods can take up to one-fourth more cooking time when cooked at 5,000 feet or above.
However, you are supposed to be able to use sea-level time and temperature guidelines when oven-roasting meat and poultry because oven temperatures are not affected by altitude changes. Not sure I quite believe this but then I have an older stove!
Moist heating methods, such as braising (first browning the meat in fat, then cooking, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid, using low heat for a lengthy period of time) usually yield more juicy, tender meat than when cooked by oven roasting or broiling.
Use heavy cookware with tight fitting lids if you are braising or stewing, as it will help prevent scorching and water evaporation. Ever notice how you seem to have to use more liquid around these parts? Water boils at lower temperature and so it evaporates quicker. You can also try covering the pot or pan with aluminum foil before putting the lid on–as it can help hold in the juices and steam.
Although I don’t use them, commercial cooking bags help hold in moisture. There is debate if frequent basting helps hold in juices. If you choose to baste, add additional cooking since heat is lost each time the oven door is opened.
Today I am cooking a turkey instead of traditional New Year’s menudo. I hope you find these tips helpful…and I’ll let you know how it turns out!
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2008 and is filed under Baking & Cooking, Mountain Lake Resort, Small Town Living.
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