High Altitude Cooking Tips from Fawnskin: Meat & Poultry

High Altitude Cooking Tips: Roasted Turkey & Meat

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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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2008 and is filed under Baking & Cooking, Mountain Lake Resort, Small Town Living.

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8 Responses to “High Altitude Cooking Tips from Fawnskin: Meat & Poultry

  • 1
    January 1st, 2008 21:34

    Sounds like some good advice. You can also cook the meat at a lower temperature, but of course, it will take longer. If doing a prime rib roast, make a “marinade rub” of 10 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper and 2 tsp dried thyme. Mix all together. Place roast fat side up in pan. Spread “rub” on the fat side. Let stand for about 1 hour to warm to room temp. Place in a preheated oven of 500 degrees for 20 min, then bring the heat down to 325. Roast for a few hours until thermometer is 145 for med. Take out an let rest for 20 minutes so the meat will retain the juice. Yum Yum!

  • 2
    Mile High Kitchen
    January 5th, 2009 19:53

    Great tips for cooking meats at high altitudes. Such advice is pretty hard to track down on the Internet, so it is much appreciate. Keep up the great work!

  • 3
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    January 5th, 2009 20:50

    @Mile High Kitchen: Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you ever want to contribute…and thanks for the plug!
    @Elena: Very funny. Someone brought it back and I found it near the back door this afternoon!

  • 4
    July 18th, 2009 20:15

    I have a question I hope you can answer…
    Why does ground beef get gritty in high altitude?
    I have cooked in a few Chili Cook-offs & each time the meat gets gritty in higher altitude.
    Thank You,

  • 5
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    July 19th, 2009 13:06

    No idea. It could be the quality of the meat and the need for additional cooking and liquid.

  • 6
    October 7th, 2009 17:26

    does anyone know what would happen if you took home canned foods like jars of chili or sausage to a high altitude. say 10,500 ft above sea leavel? my husband is going to new mexico on a hunt and wants to take some with him. will the glass jar bust?

  • 7
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    October 8th, 2009 09:34

    Commercial goods do fine coming and going from high altitude. The pressure does change but if your canning efforts have a secure top and are airtight there should not be a problem.

  • 8
    Fawnskin Flyer | Thanksgiving in Fawnskin
    November 26th, 2009 06:13

    […] you are cooking at home, check out the high altitude tips for cooking a turkey, try this pumpkin soup recipe, and check out this fun thanksgiving post. AKPC_IDS += […]