Meat is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether it’s a juicy steak hot off the grill, fall-off-the-bone ribs slathered in barbecue sauce, or a hearty beef stew simmering away in the crockpot, meat dishes satisfy the soul. Not only does meat taste amazing, but it also provides essential nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc that support our health.
From backyard barbecues to holiday feasts, meat brings family and friends together over delicious shared meals. Meat is popular in cuisines worldwide, from American classics like hamburgers and hotdogs to Italian osso buco to Indian curries. The possibilities for cooking meat creatively seem endless.
Below, we’ll explore several mouthwatering ways to prepare meat for your next meal.
When you have time, make the ultimate comfort food – pot roast. Choose a well-marbled chuck roast and season all over with salt and pepper. Sear the roast on all sides in a Dutch oven. Surround with halved potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 3-4 hours until meat is fork-tender. The slower the cook, the better the flavor. Shred the pot roast and serve with the vegetables and cooking liquid spooned over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
Speaking of slow cooking, a crock pot brisket can offer a similarly tender and flavorful result. Brisket, a cut of meat from the lower chest or breast of the beef, becomes incredibly tender when slow-cooked, perfect for sandwiches or as a standalone main dish.
Braised Short Ribs
For fork-tender, fall-off-the-bone meat, braise short ribs low and slow in a flavorful liquid. Short ribs have a high-fat content which keeps them moist during the long cooking time. First, sear the ribs on all sides to caramelize the exterior. Transfer to the oven and add braising liquid like beef broth, red wine, tomato-based sauce, and aromatics like onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs. Braise at 300-325 F for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender. As the ribs cook, the collagen breaks down into gelatin, creating an incredibly silky texture. The braising liquid reduces into a luscious sauce. Serve braised short ribs over creamy polenta or mashed potatoes.
For amazing Mexican-inspired tacos, try crispy carnitas made by braising pork in citrus. Pork shoulder or Boston butt are ideal for carnitas due to their marbling. Rub the pork with a spice blend of cumin, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, and orange zest. Place in the oven and add freshly squeezed orange juice, lime juice, chicken or vegetable broth, onion, and bay leaves.
Braise for 3-4 hours until perfectly tender. Drain and shred the pork. Then crisp it up in a hot skillet with some braising liquid to get crispy edges. Pile carnitas into warm corn tortillas and top with salsa, avocado, cilantro, and lime wedges for incredible tacos.
Make a savory meatloaf packed with herbs and vegetables for the ultimate comfort food. Mix ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add some shredded carrots, spinach, mushrooms, or cheese for extra moisture and flavor. Form into a loaf shape and place in a baking dish. Spread ketchup or barbecue sauce on top. Bake at 350F for 1 hour until cooked through. Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, or roasted vegetables for a satisfying home-cooked meal.
When you need some warmth and comfort, make a hearty beef stew. Choose a chuck roast or other stewing beef. Dice into 1-inch cubes. In the oven, brown the beef in batches on all sides. Set aside and sauté aromatics like onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomato paste, flour, thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine to deglaze. Add the beef back along with the broth. Simmer for 2-3 hours until beef is tender. Add potatoes, peas, and corn in the last 30 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Finish with a sprinkle of parsley, and enjoy big bowlfuls of beef stew with crusty bread.
Fire up the grill for delicious meat and veggie kebabs. This fun dish lets everyone customize their skewers. Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes first to prevent burning. Load the skewers with cubed beef, chicken, or pork and vegetables like peppers, onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and pineapple. Brush with a marinade of oil, lemon juice, garlic, and your favorite herbs, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Grill the kebabs over direct heat for 10-15 minutes, turning frequently, until the meat is cooked and the veggies are tender. The possibilities for combinations are endless. Serve with rice pilaf or couscous.
Who can resist hearty, homemade meatballs? Mix ground beef or pork, breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form into 1–2-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Then simmer the meatballs in tomato sauce for added flavor and moisture. Serve the meatballs over pasta with extra sauce and shaved parmesan. For appetizers, make smaller meatballs and skewer with toothpicks. Guests will devour these crowd-pleasing bites in no time.
Nothing beats a perfectly grilled steak. The grill’s high heat sears the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy. Grilling brings out the rich, beefy flavor in steaks. Choose a thick, well-marbled cut like ribeye or New York strip for best results. Coat the steaks lightly in oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over direct high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. The steak should develop a dark crust while staying medium-rare inside. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. For an extra punch of flavor, top with garlic herb butter. Grilled steak is the ultimate summer dinner.
Warm up with a big bowl of hearty chili. Mix ground beef with onion, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeño, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and chili powder. Add kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, and beef broth. Simmer for 1-2 hours until thickened. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more spices if desired. Garnish with shredded cheddar, sour cream, scallions, and tortilla chips. Chili is also perfect for meal prep since it freezes and reheats well. Customize your bowl with your favorite toppings.
From quick weeknight dinners to leisurely weekend cooking, meat dishes satisfy impeccably. With endless cuts to choose from and ways to cook them, it’s fun to experiment in the kitchen. Grill up burgers or steaks when the weather is nice, or braise flavorful stews and roasts when it turns cold out. Get the whole family involved in assembling kebabs or meatballs. Whip up a batch of chili to feed a crowd. We hope these mouthwatering meat recipes inspire your next delicious dinner.