How Long to Let Steak Rest

Whether you’re preparing a roast for a full course meal or a single steak for a quiet dinner at home, it is important to let your meat rest before digging in. But with the concern for time temperature abuse, how long should your meat sit out before it becomes an issue? We sought to find out how long meat needs to rest and why.

How Long to Rest Steak

Resting Steak in foil

After you cook your steak to perfection in a cast iron skillet or broil it in the oven, it is essential to set it out to rest before cutting it. This is true for most meats, including chicken, lamb, pork, and even some fish.

Here are a few methods you can use to judge how long to rest your steak or meat:

  • If pressed for time, allow your meat to rest for a minimum of 5-7 minutes before cutting.
  • If you have a thick cut of meat, allow it to rest for 10-20 minutes before cutting.
  • Rest the meat for 5 minutes per inch of thickness.
  • Rest the meat 10 minutes per pound.
  • Rest the meat for 1 minute per every 100 grams.
  • Rest the meat for half the time it took to cook, or the whole time it took to cook if the meat is thicker.

The goal with steak is to cool it to where the center of the steak is between 130-120 degrees Fahrenheit and the exterior is between 140-125 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature, the juices will be expelled out of the puncture opening and the steak will lose some of its juices. It is for that reason that most chefs will use the timing methods listed above.

How to Rest Steak

To properly rest a steak, roast, or any additional type of meat, follow the steps below:

  1. Remove the meat from the oven or off the burner.
  2. Transfer the meat to a cutting board, warm plate, or serving platter.
  3. Use aluminum foil to tent the pan loosley to retain some of the heat.
  4. Remove the foil after the appropriate rest time.
  5. Cut and promptly serve.

Why Do You Let Meat Rest?

Cutting Steak after resting

It is important to let meat rest after cooking so it can reabsorb and distribute the juices that have been constricted during the cooking process.

If you were to cut a steak right off the grill, you’ll notice that the internal juices pool out of the meat, leaving you with a dry and tough final product. The reason for this is because of what happens to the muscle fibers when they are heated:

  • When the steak or is heated, the muscle fibers constrict.
  • This constriction pushes the juices in those fibers away from the heat source and towards the center of the meat.
  • Since all of the moisture is concentrated in the center of the meat, it will pour out of the meat as soon as it is cut, making it look unappealing and bloody while taking the moisture and flavor with it.
  • The steak ends up dry and flavorless.

Here is what happens when you let meat rest:

  • As the meat rests, the constricted muscle fibers begin to relax.
  • The pressure on the juices is slowly released and the juices are able to redistribute towards the edges of the meat.
  • By letting meat rest, you achieve an evenly moist and flavorful steak when it is ready to be cut.

It may seem counterintuitive to let meat rest with the concern of it reaching unsafe food temperatures. However, because the meat continues to cook slightly after it is removed from the heat, your steak will still be at a safe temperature after resting.

Avoid making a common grilling mistake by giving your steak or grilled chicken the time it needs to rest before serving. Your guests and customers will be impressed by the flavorful results!

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | By Janine Jones
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