What Does Resting Meat Mean? Why Should You Rest Meat?

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Resting meat means literally giving the meat a rest – letting the meat sit out of the oven and off the stove before you cut it.

Why is it so important to rest meat?

Resting meat makes a huge difference in the quality of the finished dish.  If you pull your gorgeous New Zealand lamb rack out of the oven and slice it immediately, all the lamb’s juices will run out onto your cutting board, leaving the meat dry, tough and with significantly less flavor.  Such a shame. By letting the meat rest, you give all those delicious juices a chance to thicken so less of them will run out.

How do you rest meat?

After the meat is finished cooking, simply transfer it to a clean plate and cover it with foil.  Let it sit for 5-15 minutes (depending on the size of the meat cut…most steaks only need to rest for 5 minutes, while larger cuts and roasts will need 15).  The residual heat in the meat will continue to cook it slowly during the rest, so pull it from the stove or oven about 5-20 degrees away from your ideal internal temperature (the larger the cut, the more it will continue to cook) and allow it to coast the rest of the way while resting.


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5 Responses to “What Does Resting Meat Mean? Why Should You Rest Meat?”

  1. 1
    Keith Nielsen says:

    Cooked an 8.5 pound prime rib, removed when two digital thermometers indicated 120 deg, rested it for about 15 min. Result was completely unacceptable, way too well done! Now the question is what was the done wrong? Bad thermometers, too long resting?

  2. 2
    Matthew says:

    Hi Keith,

    So sorry for the very late reply! This comment slipped by under my radar.

    I don’t know how far over you ended up with from your comment, but a large cut like a roast can coast as much as 20F during a rest (it has a lot of thermal mass). I’ve updated the language in the post to make it a bit clearer (and remove the old chef’s tale of juices “redistributing”, which they don’t actually do).

    If the roast went further than that, it sounds to me like a thermometer issue. Try testing your thermometers by using them to temp boiling water. You should get 212F, unless you’re at altitude (in which case it will be lower, how low depends on where you are). If not, it’s time to re-calibrate or replace them.

    If they’re ok, it’s possible (if you used that same testing spot for both probes) that you hit bone (if doing bone-in, obviously), a pocket of fat, of some other point that gave you an anomalous reading? That’s the only other possibility I can think of.

    Hope that helps. Sorry your roast overcooked!

    Marx Foods

  3. 3
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