Cooking Tips and Tricks from The Ranch

Learn to become a pro when it comes to cooking meat by checking out these cooking tips and tricks along with food safety guidelines from The Ranch.

Cooking Tips and Tricks - Table of Contents

Beef Cooking Tips


When cooking beef, cooking times and temperatures may vary based on the your method of preparation, the size of the cut and your desired degree of doneness. 

Always test for doneness using a digital meat thermometer.

125°F Rare – cool red center

135°F Medium Rare – warm red center 

145°F Medium – warm pink center 

150°F Medium Well – slightly pink center 

160°F Well Done – little or no pink

When roasting, remove from heat when thermometer registers 5 to 10°F lower than your desired doneness. Then let your roast rest. the temperature will continue to rise while resting. 

When grilling, braising or broiling steaks and burgers remove them from heat when thermometer registers 5°F lower than desired degree of doneness. Rest your steaks while the temperature continues to rise. 

The USDA recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F (medium) and then rested for at least 3 minutes. To ensure food safety, ground beef should be cooked to a minimum of 160°F (well done). Be sure to check with a digital meat thermometer, as color alone is not a foolproof indicator.

Grilling Beef

Grilling and Cooking Tips

Grilling is a fast and easy way to cook beef. By applying high heat directly to the surface of the beef it sears the outside, thus creating a browned, flavorful crust. 

From searing on a hot grill to resting and flipping, learn how to become a grilling pro with these 7 Easy Tips to become a Steak Grill Master

Learn to Make Diamond Grill Marks

Generally seen in the best steakhouses, you too can learn to make diamond grill marks at home. Just follow these simple steps from Chef Michael Ollier, senior corporate chef for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand. 

  1. Preheat your grill until very hot (about 500-550°F)
  2. Season steaks with salt and pepper, or as desired. 
  3. Place steaks on the preheated grill with the ends at 10 and 4 o’clock.
  4. Once the meat has seared and juices begin to rise to the top, turn steaks clockwise, with the ends at 2 and 8 o’clock. 
  5. After 1 to 2 minutes, flip steaks over and cook until they reach your desired degree of doneness. Use a digital meat thermometer to ensure food safety. 
  6. Remove steaks from grill and allow to rest on a clean plate for approximately 5 minutes. 
CAB Porterhouse

Pan Searing/Sautéing Steaks

Pan searing is an excellent alternative to grilling steak. High heat creates a seared crust that seals in juices and cooks from the outside in. It is an ideal cooking method for thin-sliced steak or other thin cuts of beef. Pan searing should be done in a heavy-bottomed pan, such as cast iron, over medium to high heat.

To pan sear/sauté a steak, follow these guidelines:

  1. Preheat a large pan over medium-high heat. 
  2. Season steak with salt and pepper, or your desired seasoning.  
  3. Next, add a small amount of oil to the pan and heat. When the oil shimmers, use tongs to gently place steaks in the pan (make sure to leave some room between steaks).
  4. Once juices begin to rise to the surface of the meat, about 2-3 minutes, flips steaks with tongs. Cook steaks for another couple minutes and then check doneness with an instant-read thermometer. When steaks have reached your desired doneness (130°F for medium-rare), remove from the pan and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving. 

Watch this video for Step-By-Step Instructions on how to sauté beef

Pan Roasting Steaks

Pan roasting is a great method for thicker steaks (such as the ribeye and porterhouse) as well as roasts. In contrast to pan searing, this method involves searing the beef in a pan on a stove, then putting it into the oven to gently cook the steak throughout. 

To pan roast steaks, follow these guidelines:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Season steak with salt and pepper, or your desired seasoning.  
  3. Next, preheat an oven-proof pan on high heat and add a thing layer of oil. Heat until oil begins to shimmer. 
  4. Gently add steaks to the pan without overcrowding. Sear for about 2 minutes, then flip steaks with tongs and sear the other side for an additional 2 minutes. 
  5. Place pan in the preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until steaks reach your desired doneness (130°F for medium-rare). 
  6. Remove pan from oven and let steaks rest for about 5 minutes before serving. 
Cooking Tips

Learn to cook beef like a pro

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All Beef cooking tips courtesy of the Certified Angus Beef ® Brand 

Pork Cooking Tips

According to the USDA, the safe internal cooking temperature for pork is 145°F

You should allow pork to rest for 3-5 minutes once it has been removed from heat.

In general, the following temperatures are a good guide for most cuts of pork:

  • Medium-Rare  145-150°F
  • Medium  150-155°F
  • Medium-Well   155-160°F
  • Well Done   160°F

To test your pork’s degree of doneness properly, use a digital meat thermometer and measure the thickest part of the cut.

Cooking Tips

Smoking Pork

Smoking Pork

Smoking is a great cooking method for pork chops, pork tenderloin and other large cuts such as pork shoulder, pork loin, fresh ham, and ribs. 

There are 3 methods of smoking meat; cold smoking, smoke roasting, or hot smoking. Hot smoking is the most common and exposes the meat to heat as well as smoke, cooking it and giving it a great flavor at the same time. 

Follow this easy guide to help you smoke pork like a pro. 

For more pork cooking tips, including cooking times and temperatures, view this guideline. All pork cooking tips and recipes are courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Lamb Cooking Tips

Before Cooking – bring lamb to room temperature 

After Cooking – allow lamb to rest for 3 minutes

Always cut lamb against the grain 

Don’t overcook – Use a digital meat thermometer

Medium Rare – 145°F 

Medium – 160°F

Well Done – 170°F

Since the internal temperature of cooked meat will rise, pull lamb from heat when it is 10 degrees lower than your desired doneness and let rest for 3 minutes. 

Grilling Lamb

Lamb Cooking Tips

Grilling is a great way to quickly cook lamb with minimal cleanup. When grilling lamb, follow these simple tips:

  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat
  • As a general rule, it’s best to keep the lid off your grill for cuts that cook quickly, such as chops, burgers and kabobs. This allows you to easily monitor doneness.
  • Check doneness using a digital meat thermometer
  • Remove lamb from the grill when it is 10°F less than your desired internal temperature

Braising Lamb

When braising, the meat is browned in fat then tightly covered and cooked slowly in a small amount of liquid. By cooking for a long period of time at low heat, the meat develops flavor and becomes more tender. Braising can be done on the stovetop, as well as in the oven or in a slow cooker. A tight fitting lid is key to preventing the liquid from evaporating. Because Lamb should and shank tend to be less tender, they are the best cuts of meat for braising and stewing.

When braising lamb, follow these simple tips:

  • Be sure to sear the lamb on all sides until browned before adding braising liquid
  • The proper determination for doneness is tenderness, not temperature
  • Lamb is done when the meat is fork tender 
Lamb Cooking Tips

Roasting Lamb

Lamb Cooking Tips

When oven-roasting lamb, the meat is cooked uncovered in order to produce an exterior that is well browned with a moist and juicy interior. Roasting is best with fairly tender cuts of lamb, such as the rack, loin and leg. 

When roasting lamb, follow these simple tips:

  • For a perfect medium-rare, cook 15 to 20 minutes per pound in a 325°F oven
  • Remove lamb from the oven when it is 5-10 degrees lower than your desired doneness and rest for 3 minutes. 
  • Keep in mind that bone-in leg roasts cook faster than boneless because the bone acts as an insulator. 

All lamb cooking tips and recipes are courtesy of American Lamb

Bison Cooking Tips

A lean cut of meat, Bison tends to cook more quickly than Beef. In general, expect a Bison steak to cook one-third faster than the same beef steak. 

Ground bison meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F and the juices should be clear, not red. Roasts and steaks should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F (medium rare) or 160°F (medium).

When roasting bison, the oven should be set at around 275°F. Cooking times should be similar to the time you would cook a comparable cut of beef. 

Bison Cooking Tips

Bison cooking tips courtesy of the National Bison Association