Cooking

A Rested Development

Why it's important to let meat rest after cooking it
Photo: Dave Katz/Tasting Table
Steak

Have you ever pulled a steak off the grill or a chicken out of the oven so sure it was going to be tender and juicy only to find it surprisingly dry? Did the mouthwatering aroma overtake you, causing you to jump the gun and slice into the meat right away?

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If you've answered yes to both of these questions, you may be able to deduce what went wrong: You should never cut into meat right after removing it from the heat source.

Always let meat rest directly after cooking it.

Whether it's chicken or beef, juices will flood out of a cut of meat if sliced immediately. As Serious Eats explains, the important part here is temperature: Letting meat rest and cool down a bit allows the muscle fibers to better hold onto the juice.

Depending on the size of the cut, you should let meat rest at least 10 to 20 minutes.

Luckily, this critical step is also one of the easiest, because it requires nothing on your part—except for patience. If you can resist the temptation to slice into meat right away, you'll never have to think to yourself, I've made a huge mistake. Instead, you'll have a perfectly juicy dish—if you didn't overcook it, that is.

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