There are common cooking methods that are used around the world. The technique is usually the same but the ingredients are different.
Cooking Methods & Cuisines
The three types of cooking methods are dry heat cooking, moist heat cooking, and combination cooking. Each of these methods uses heat to affect foods in a different way. All cooking techniques, from grilling to steaming, can be grouped under one of these three methods. Understanding and mastering the different types of cooking methods is essential to becoming a great chef or home cook. Knowledge of cooking techniques allows you to work with a variety of ingredients and kitchen equipment to achieve consistent, flavorful results in your cooking. Continue reading to learn about the three main types of cooking, all the techniques that fall under those types, and the foods that are complemented by these techniques. Perfect simple cooking techniques and then your food will become amazing
1. Dry Heat Cooking
Dry heat cooking works without the presence of any moisture, broth, or water. Instead, it relies on the circulation of hot air or contact with fat to transfer heat to foods. Temperatures of 300 degrees or hotter are used to create browning, a reaction where the amino acids and sugars in food turn brown and create a distinct aroma and flavor. The unique scents of toasted bread or seared meat are both examples of dry heat cooking at work.
Broiling works by transferring extremely high heat onto food, usually directed from a radiant located above the food which cooks on one side at a time. Browning can occur very quickly with this method, sealing juices and flavor inside and leaving a crisp exterior. Because this cooking method is fast, it’s helpful to use a timer or check the doneness so foods don’t become burnt or overcooked. In commercial kitchens, broiling can be performed with a salamander or broiler oven.
Best foods for broiling:
- Meats: Broiling works best on thinner cuts of meat, like steaks, pork chops, or hamburger patties. Tender cuts are preferred because the dry heat will quickly evaporate moisture and dry out the meat.
- Poultry: Use chicken or turkey cutlets, breast halves, quarters, and legs in the broiler for flavorful results.
- Fish: Choose thick, sturdy fish, like salmon, that can handle high heat and won’t dry out easily.
- Fruits and Veggies: Broiling can even be used on fruits and vegetables. Try broiling peaches or grapefruit for a unique menu item.
Grilling is similar to broiling, in that it uses radiant heat to cook foods quickly. Most commonly, grilling equipment will feature an open grate with a heat source located beneath the food. Flipping is required to cook foods on both sides and grill marks from the hot grate or rack are desirable.
Best foods for grilling:
- Burgers: Ground hamburger meat is moist and cooks up very well on a hot grill. The high heat sears the outside of the patty for delicious charred flavor.
- Meats: The dry heat from grilling will quickly remove moisture from meat so it’s best to choose tender cuts or marinate the meat first. Ribeyes, porterhouses, t-bones, and strip steaks have higher fat content and marbling that produces a succulent grilled steak.
- Poultry: Boneless cuts of chicken work best because they will grill more evenly. Whole chickens can be grilled, but spatchcocking is recommended.
- Fish: Salmon, tuna, and swordfish steaks are sturdy enough for the grill and won’t dry out quickly. It’s possible to wrap fish in foil before placing it on the grates to prevent it from falling through.
Roasting is performed inside an oven and uses indirect heat that cooks from all sides for even browning. This method of cooking works more slowly, coaxing flavors out of meats and vegetables. Roasting can be performed at very low temperatures between 200 degrees and 350 degrees Fahrenheit for tougher cuts of meat, or higher temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for more tender cuts.
Best foods for roasting:
- Meats: Roasting cooks large cuts of meat slowly and evenly. Prime rib, beef tenderloin, pork butt or shoulder, and pork loin all benefit from roasting.
- Poultry: Whole chickens or turkeys can be placed in a roasting pan or on a rotisserie spit and cooked for several hours for a moist and flavorful product.
- Fruits and Veggies: Roasting is a great way to bring out the best qualities in fruits and vegetables. Grapes, cherries, and tomatoes can be roasted to intensify their flavors. Pumpkin, squash, eggplant, and cauliflower are also excellent candidates for roasting.
Baking and roasting both use indirect heat to surround foods and cook from all sides. The term roasting is used when cooking meats or vegetables, and baking is used when making bread, rolls, and cakes. Technically, these cooking methods are the same, but baking is usually performed at lower temperatures than roasting.
Moist Heat Cooking
This is a gentle type of cooking either in water or a flavoured stock. This method of cooking is particularly useful for delicate foods like poached eggs. Temperature is usually between 140 and 180f
Simmering is similar to poaching but the temperature is higher and the range is between, 180 to 205f.
Again higher in temperature and used to cook pasta or vegetables or a classic hard boiled egg.
In steaming, water is boiled continuously to produce a steady amount of steam. The steam surrounds foods and cooks evenly while retaining moisture. Steaming can be performed in a few different ways. For high volume kitchens, a commercial steamer or combi oven is the most efficient. Other methods of steaming include using a pot and steamer basket, using a microwave, or wrapping foods in foil so they can steam in the oven.
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Other Types of Cooking
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Been around for many years, in and out of fashion but they definitely have their uses.
Dry smoke or hot smoke has been used forever, one of the original ways to preserve foods.
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Perhaps surprisingly, microwaving does a good job of preserving a food’s vitamin C content, as well as other nutrients that are often diminished in the heating process. Researchers conducted a study in which they found that microwaving and steaming were able to best preserve flavonoids found in broccoli.
Sous vide uses an airtight vacuum seal and a slow cooking time to help create tasty culinary creations. This method not only locks in moisture, resulting in a juicy dish, it also comes with its own variety of health benefits.