What’s the rule to get the right point of meat?


To start the subject about meat spots, first we have to understand that there are basically two types of meat: the tough ones, rich in collagen, and the soft ones.

For us to eat satisfactorily and have the apex in tasting the tough meats — such as the breast, fillet cover, ribs, termites, etc —, a higher point is needed to hydrolysis, which is the breaking of the collagen.

In short, to turn this collagen into gelatin and water.

With these meats, we will generally achieve this process from 90ºC onwards — that is, with the meat well-done. So, for tough meats, we will work with them for a long time. It will roast the meats and leave them with an internal temperature above these 90ºC.

For example: with termites I usually work at 94ºC. A breast, at least 96ºC, and a rib, 92ºC. That is, I leave them roasting for a long time until they are soft and well done.

Meat considered tender, on the other hand, can be made in any stitch we like: rare, minus point, medium stitch, plus point and well done. There’s even a sixth point, the blue one, where it’s just sealed and completely raw inside.

But let’s talk about the stitches, because to get the blue stitch, just seal the meat at a high temperature.

To get the right spots, what I usually do is first seal the meat at a high temperature, to make a good maillard reaction, and leave the color very golden, with a crust on the outside.

Afterwards, I place these meats in a region of the grill with less heat, to keep hitting the spot, trying to preserve the meat’s succulence as much as possible.

So what do I do? I seal the meat, place it on the second floor or in an area with less heat on the grill itself, and I start touching the meat.

Here comes the rule of thumb.

It involves touching the apple of your hand (the mount of Venus) and comparing it to the firmness of the flesh.

If the feeling is the same when touching, with the index finger, the flesh and the hand, it is a sign that I have rare meat.

If, for touch, I bring my forefinger together with the thumb of the hand to be tested, and then touch the apple with the forefinger of the other hand, the area takes on a little firmness—the same as a minus point meat. Joining the index finger with the middle finger, the firmness is equivalent to the meat to the point. Indicator with ring, plus point. And forefinger with the little finger, a well-done meat.

I don’t usually talk about time to set the stitch, because in each barbecue, in each environment, in each region of the country, we will have different times to set the stitch in the meat. Everything influences the temperature we will find.

When we talk about point, we are talking about the internal temperature of the meat, that is, if a meat is between 47ºC and 52ºC, we have a rare point. A meat between 53ºC and 57ºC, a minus point meat. From 58ºC to 62ºC, to the point. A meat from 63ºC to 67ºC, we have a point plus meat. And, above 68ºC, a well-done meat.

I can’t say that it only takes five minutes on the grill on each side to get to the point anymore. If you are in Rio Grande do Sul, in addition to having the temperature of the ember —which is hot—, there is also the temperature of the environment, which is cold. So it will take longer.

If you are in Recife, in the sun of 40ºC, the meat will reach the point much faster. That’s why I’m always playing it in order to find the point I want.

The point I particularly recommend for tender meats is the minus point. In rare meat, we have very little cooking in the fibers.

At the minus point, we start to have the detachment of the meat, there is a peak of juiciness, this is because much of the water in the meat fibers has already broken and 1) you can feel this juiciness better than in rare meat, and 2 ) it didn’t get lost, didn’t evaporate, like a spotted meat.

This is the point I recommend for soft meats such as ancho, chorizo, sirloin steak, prime rib, etc. No wonder, this point is known today among my followers as “Netão’s point”.

Have a good barbecue and may Our Lady of the Point Bless us.


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