Do You Really Have to Rest Meat Before Eating?

To Rest, Or Not to Rest: This is the Question.

should i rest my meat

When it comes to steak, additional resting time isn't necessary – well, unless you normally eat steak straight off the grill (auuugghhh auuuggghhh auugghh).

Resting meat is common advice to meat lovers. Simply put, to rest meat is allowing it to cool slightly, after it's taken off the grill, before cutting. When the meat rests, the juices which were forced together during cooking are able to redistribute throughout the meat, leading to a juicier steak. If you cut too soon all of the concentrated juices will come pouring out onto your plate or cutting board instead of remaining in the meat.steak juices escape

Let's review the resting rule

When cooking meat the recommended rest time is five to ten minutes (not including larger cuts such as roast). To properly rest your steak you should wrap it loosely in foil and place it in a small area such as the microwave. After the allotted rest time has passed then you can serve your steaks.

Why the resting meat rule is unnecessary when it comes to steak

This advice had become so common that many overlook the downside of of resting meat:

  1. While meat is wrapped in foil it can raise the temperature of the meat changing the doneness level,

  2. The reverse could happen and meat can easily become too cold and

  3. Wrapping your meat in foil can cause the meat to sweat which will make the meat drier.

Let's be real

When your steak comes off the grill, are you ready to dig in?

Most of us aren’t; we still have to finish setting the table and loading the plates. By the time dinner is ready to be served your meat has typically cooled enough. No need to give it a head start by resting it first.

Now let's say you're ready to eat right away, you cut into your steak and the juices come pouring out. As you continue to eat you never touch the discarded juices, simply allowing them to take up permanent residence on your plate. Or not. Nobody does that. As we eat our delicious steak, we mop up those extra juices with every bite. The meat at the end of our fork soaks up all those juices running loose on our plate.

final take

Resting meat is only a valuable practice to those whose skill and timing are impeccable, for the rest of us, resting meat is just not necessary.

Waste not, want not

When it comes to carving up thicker meats, here's solution by the John Boos Co. to savoring juices for a great pan sauce:

save meat jucies

John Boos Newton Prep Master Reversible 18" Square Cutting Board with Juice Groove and Pan


What to do with those juices? Here's two great recipes from Cooks Illustrated using either a red or white wine, enjoy: