Cooking Methods

Cooking methods are divided into three categories: dry-heat, moist-heat and combination-heat.  By understanding the cooking methods enables one to choose the correct method for specific foods, the various methods of cooking have a direct impact on the outcome of the finished dish. Choosing the correct method not only affects the flavor of foods, but also texture and appearance.

Most dry-heat cooking methods are rather quick processes—they add crispness and flavor to food but do not tenderize. Thus, it is imperative to choose the appropriate product to be cooked in this manner (tender, thin or small).

Moist-heat and combination-heat methods, particularly braising and stewing, have the ability to break down naturally tough cuts of meat because of the long, slow cooking period.

Dry-heat Cooking Methods Moist Heat Cooking Methods Combination Cooking Method





Dry Heat Cooking Method
Dry-heat methods cook the foods with hot air or fat. Example of this method are:








Types Of food suited for this method are:

Thin, tender cuts of meat such as chops, steaks, or cutlets.

Ground meats

Most seafood

Most vegetables

Similarities and Differences between Sautéing, Pan-Frying and Deep-frying:

The main similarity between these three cooking methods is that they all use hot fat to cook the food; the major difference is the amount of fat.

Sautéing—There should be just a thin coating of fat in the pan (about 1/8th inch). Sautéing uses conduction to transfer the heat from the hot pan to the food.

Pan-frying—The food should be partially submerged in fat. The fat should cover approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the product which is to be cooked.

The heat is transferred through both conduction and convection: the conduction of the hot pan to the food, and also through the convection of the hot fat which partially surrounds the food.

Deep-frying—To deep-fry, the food is entirely submerged in hot fat. Heat is transferred to the food in deep-frying through the conduction of the hot fat which surrounds the food.

Similarities and Differences between Grilling and Boiling:

Though these terms are often used interchangeably, they are distinctly different.

While both use a radiant heat transfer, the heat source from grilling comes from the bottom, or underneath the food, whereas the heat source from broiling is on top, or above the food.

Similarities and Differences between Roasting and Baking:

Roasting and baking are basically the same thing; the difference is in terminology. Generally speaking, meats, poultry, large fish, and vegetables are roasted.

Baking is generally applied to breads, pastries and other sweet confections. Heat is transferred to the surface of the food through the convection of hot air, and then penetrates the food through conduction.





Moist Heat Cooking Method
Moist-heat cooking methods cook the food with a liquid, usually water, stock or steam.





Types Of food suited for this method are:

Tender cuts of poultry, such as chicken breasts.

Starches and pasta

Some fruits

Most seafood

Most vegetables

Similarities and Differences between Poaching, Simmering, Boiling and Steaming:

These four cooking methods are similar in that they are all moist-heat cooking methods and they all use convection as the mode of heat transfer. The difference is in the temperature of the liquid and steam.

Poaching—To poach, the liquid should be between 160-180°F, the liquid will "shiver" slightly, but there should be no visible bubbling.

Simmering—The temperature of the liquid is between 185-205°F, there should be small bubbles breaking the liquid's surface.

Boiling—At sea level, water boils at 212°F, there should be large bubbles breaking the surface and a large amount of movement in the liquid.

Steaming—In order to create steam, water has to be at 212°F or higher. When steaming the food is in contact with the steam only, if submerged in a liquid it is considered poaching, simmering or boiling.



Combination Cooking Method
Combination cooking methods use, as the name suggests, a combination of dry heat and moist heat methods



Types Of food suited for this method are:

Tough, less expensive cuts of meat, such as beef round or pork shoulder.

Certain firm-fleshed seafood's, such as swordfish, tuna or monkfish.

Some vegetables

Similarities and Differences between Braising and Stewing:

Braising and stewing are similar in that both entail first sautéing the item, then adding liquid and simmering.

The difference here, as with baking and roasting, is in the terminology. Generally foods that are cut up or diced are referred to as a stew, whereas a larger items (poultry legs, porkchops, pot roast, etc.) are referred to as braised.