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Red Scare: Why I Tend to Overcook My Meat

I ruined my leg of lamb today.

There it was, sitting in my hot oven, gently braising in its marinade of soy sauce, red wine, garlic, chopped fresh garlic and mint, when the timer went off. I've made this recipe many times before, and I know to cook the tied-up leg for 20 minutes per pound. I had a little two pound chunk of lamb from Fairway, and the timer dinged at 40 minutes.

I picked up my knife, made a little slice into the fat bulging side of the rolled leg, and took a peek.

Eeek. Bright red. Too red? Maybe just a touch.

See, I like my lamb cooked on the rare side. I order it that way in restaurants. But when I'm at home, I don't trust my gut. 

I know that the meat will keep cooking once I pull it out of the oven  But ... that center looked red. REALLY red.

I tell myself it's better to undercook, than overcook, because you can always brown it up in the oven or in a skillet, to taste.

But. It was RED red red. 

And so I compromised. I put it back in the turned-off oven with some foil over it. And I proceeded to make myself a well-done leg of lamb.


How rare is to rare for you? Plus, leave us tips on the best way to know when meat is cooked in the comments below.