How Long Should Your Meat Rest — and Why?

It's included in virtually every recipe for cooking a perfect steak: Let the meat rest. But why is this step so important? And how can you make sure you're doing it long enough?

November 23, 2020
How Long Should Your Meat Rest — and Why?

When you cook meat, much of the moisture rises to the surface and some even evaporates. If you slice into your meat too soon, these juices on the surface will run out. Instead, letting your meat rest allows the juices time to redistribute throughout the meat. Slicing into meat before letting it properly rest risks losing flavor and causes it to potentially dry out. 

While this rule is most popularly applied to steaks, it holds true for just about any meat, including chicken, pork and turkey. However, we know that patience is especially challenging when you're hungry, so let's get down to the nitty gritty — just how long do you have to wait anyhow?  

Steaks

The goal is to find the fine balance of after the juices redistribute, but before the steak gets cold. This is typically right around five minutes for an average sized filet. For larger steaks, you could wait up until 10 minutes, but you shouldn't need much longer than that. For larger cuts of beef, like roasts, you may want to let it rest for up to 20 minutes, depending on size. 

Chicken 

Similar to steaks, chicken breasts need to rest anywhere from five to 10 minutes, depending on size. Now, for a whole chicken, you're going to want to play the long game. In this case, you could let it rest for up to 30 minutes before slicing, but less if it's a smaller bird. 

Pork 

You guessed it — for an individual cut of meat like pork chops, about five minutes will do it, but for a larger cut like a pork butt, aim for at least 20 minutes. Seeing a pattern? 

Now let's talk about the proper way to rest. First, you want to remove from your heat source to avoid overcooking. Transferring your meat to a clean plate or cutting board is the best option. Next, consider using a piece of foil to create a "tent" to keep the meat warm while it rests. That way, you won't have to worry about your meat getting too cold too quickly.  

We know waiting is hard, but patience is a virtue — and this is one situation where we can promise the end result is well worth the wait. Trust us.  

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