Some cooks season a joint before it is cooked, while others season it with salt and pepper just before it is served. There is a difference of opinion as to which is the more correct way of the two. Meat of newly killed animals requires longer cooking than meat which has been hung for a time.
In warm weather joints require slightly less time for roasting than in cold.
Boned and rolled or stuffed meats require longer cooking than the same joints would if neither rolled nor stuffed. The meat of young animals and that of old ones requires different treatment. As a rule young flesh, containing less fibrine, requires longer cooking. White meat, such as pork, veal and lamb, always should be well cooked and never must be served rare. The exact time and process of roasting must be left to the good management of the cook, who must be guided by circumstances and conditions. The cook’s business is to serve the joint as full of nourishing qualities as possible. Though roasting is considered one of the easiest and most simple processes of cookery, it really requires quite as much attention to obtain perfect results as is necessary to prepare so-called “made” dishes, the recognized test for good cooks.
Boiling (of fresh meat).—This is cookery by immersion in boiling liquid, which after a few minutes is reduced to simmering. The object of the high temperature at first is to harden the surface albumen and so seal the pores and prevent the escape of the juices. If continued too long, this degree of heat would tend to toughen the joint throughout; after the first few minutes, therefore, the heat must be reduced to about 180 deg. F. The pan used for boiling meat should be only just large enough to hold the joint, and the quantity of liquid no more than is required to cover it. For the boiling of salt meat the general rule of first hardening the surface is not to be followed. The salting of meat withdraws a large proportion of its juices, while at the same time the salt hardens the fibres, and this hardness would be intensified by extreme heat. Very salt meat sometimes is soaked in cold water to extract some of the salt, but whether this is done or not, the rule for boiling salt meat is to immerse it in cold or tepid water and bring slowly to boiling point; boil for five minutes to seal the pores and prevent any further loss of juice, then reduce to 180 deg. F., and maintain a uniform temperature till the meat is cooked. Salt meat takes longer to cook than fresh meat, and the saltness may be qualified by boiling vegetables with the meat, turnips especially being useful for this purpose.
The actual differences between roasting and baking are not great, the terms being frequently interchanged. Meat loses rather less weight when baked than when roasted, but the flavor of meat is inferior and less developed. The heat of an oven being steadier, baking takes somewhat less time than roasting. In a gas oven having an open floor the current of air is not impeded, and such baking very nearly approaches roasting, and the flavor generally is acknowledged to be the same.