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Science & Cooking: What is Cooking?

by Roxanne Chang` 4 min read

Science & Cooking: What is Cooking?

The science of cooking happens through combining, mixing, and heating ingredients. Basic principles for everyday cooking include culinary technique, chemical reactions, cooking time, and a heat source. Let's hop into the topic of food science to see how heat plays a role throughout.

What Is Cooking?

The cooking process is all about the application of heat to food. This applies to all types of cooking and impacts the nutritional composition of your meals. Find your method of cooking from The MeatStick Cook List to see how different foods respond when cooked with the traditional method to the more innovative cooking technique.

So How Does Heat Affect Cooking?

Cooking happens when heat goes from a cooking appliance to the food. For example, from a grill to a piece of meat. We'll break heat into two types: external heat and internal heat.

External heat refers to how the food is cooked, where the heat comes from, and how long the cooking method lasts. External heat can be applied from a wide range of sources, including pressure-cooking, slow cooking, carryover cooking, and more. Common appliances used by the MeatStick community include stoves, grills, fryers, ovens, and smokers. 

BBQ with the MeatStick

Internal heat looks at how a cooking method affects texture and how cooking time affects flavor. Cooked foods rich in protein, or large molecules made of amino acid strands, may have a chewier texture because on their composition. When the food reaches its caramelization temperature, it begins producing desirable colors and flavors that are characteristic to many dishes. Most common is using dry heat to cook onion until it reaches its caramelization temperature, which creates a sweet flavor (tip: a pinch of baking soda will make the onion just a little softer in texture). 

MeatStick Ribs

How This Affects Our Health

No matter the cooking method, heat is essential to food science and key to reducing health risk in humans. Heating food throughout adequate periods of time with sources such as boiling water can help destroy potentially harmful compounds, harmful chemicals and harmful bacteria. Science and cooking intertwine as heat brings food into a chemical process. The cooking of foods may be advantageous if flavor and texture are improved, resulting in healthy foods containing desirable compounds. Starchy foods like meats, biscuits, potatoes, and bread create desirable compounds when cooked properly. Try frying, baking, grilling, or roasting these foods.

Improper cooking could negatively affect nutritional composition and create undesirable compounds that pave way for heart disease, change in blood pressure, and cancer in humans. Always remember to keep an eye on high levels of fat content, trans fat, artificial sweeteners, antioxidant capacity, advanced glycation, aromatic hydrocarbons, among other correlating factors. 

Family eating a meal happily

Photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash

Science and cooking go hand-in-hand: the way you cook directly affects your health and the nutritional composition of your food. This makes it all the more important to measure food temperature accurately when cooking, especially with meats. Kitchen thermometers help with managing precise temperature control and are an essential tool to have throughout any cooking process.

How a Food Thermometer Can Help 

Food thermometers, specifically meat thermometers, help us keep track of our food's internal temperature and maintain precise temperature control. These thermometers can be instant read, wired, or true wireless. Each has its pros and cons, and we've summarized them for you to make things easier.

Instant read thermometers

Instant Read Thermometer with foods

Photo by ThermoPro on Unsplash

An instant read thermometer reads your food's temperature at the specific moment in time it's inserted. Although it'll provide you with immediate results, it won't be able to tell comprehensive temperatures throughout your whole cook or give a heads-up on how your meat is doing. You'll still have to stand close to your appliance to make sure your meat is cooking properly.

Pros: Gives fast readings, works with thick and thin foods.

Cons: Not designed to remain in cooking food, danger of false reading if not inserted fully/correctly.

Wired thermometers

Wired thermometers

Photo by ThermoPro on Unsplash

A wired thermometer can provide more information about your cooking meat than an instant read thermometer. You'll be able to monitor its real-time cooking temperature on the wire-attached display. However, this is not to say your cooking experience will be hassle-free. With strings come attachments, so you'll still have to be next to the thermometer to get your temperatures. 

However, the biggest dangers when it comes to wired thermometers is when you're in a panic. With hot wires around, there's a high chance to burn yourself or knock things over when you are rushing to get your meat out of the oven. 

Pros: Also gives fast readings and works with both thick and thin cut foods.

Cons: Still have to stand next to your cooking meat at all times. No freedom or flexibility in cooking, especially when smoking meats and cooking American BBQ. Burning yourself on wires or knocking over plates.

True wireless thermometers

The MeatStick is a true wireless meat thermometer

True wireless meat thermometers make it so that you're not babysitting your meat while it's cooking. A durable smart wireless meat thermometer, like MeatStick, can safely remain in cooking food to give you the most accurate and up-to-date temperatures. They work with both thick and thin cuts of meat, so you get perfectly cooked meat every time.

MeatStick's true wireless technology provides a hassle-free cooking experience, no matter how you're cooking. With its exceptional range, you can monitor your meat from most parts of your home. With the MeatStick Wifi Bridge, you can monitor from anywhere. MeatStick comes in versatile sizes for everyday cooking and American BBQ. A true wireless meat thermometer can completely upgrade your cooking in ways that instant reads and wired thermometers can't. With the MeatStick, you'll be able to cook meats up to 212°F for 24+ hours and make the juiciest, smokiest brisket, all while keeping an eye on your smoker’s cooking temperature from wherever you are.

Science and cooking affect the texture and flavor of food as well as human health. The whole process can be optimized with the help of MeatStick, so you can cook the perfect meats every time. 

Checkout the MeatStick X Here

The MeatStick X Set

Pay Attention to This When You're Cooking


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