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When should I take meat out to rest?

Cooking meat can be a delightful experience, but it takes skill to do it right. Timing is crucial when cooking meat and it is equally important to know when to take the meat out of the oven or grill. One of the most common mistakes people make when cooking meat is not allowing it to rest and cool down before slicing into it. In this blog post, we will discuss when to take meat out to rest and why it’s an essential step in preparing a delicious and moist meat dish.

Why Resting Meat is Important

Resting meat is an essential step in the cooking process. When you heat meat, the juices in it gets hot and move to the outer surface. If you cut it straight away, these juices will run out, leaving you with a dry and chewy piece of meat. Resting meat allows for the cool-down phase, where the juices in the meat redistribute and are reabsorbed into the fibers. This redistribution of juices ensures that the meat is tender, juicy, and full of flavor.

When to Rest Different Cuts of Meat

Different cuts of meat require different resting times. Here is a guide on how long you should rest each type:


Beef cuts such as steaks, roasts, and tenderloin should be given a resting time of 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. Thinner cuts will require less time to rest, while thicker cuts should be given a longer rest time.


Pork is a little different from beef; it usually requires a more extended resting time of 10-15 minutes. Pork chops, loin, and tenderloin all fall within this category.


Poultry, including chicken, turkey, and duck, should be rested for 10-15 minutes. It’s essential to note that the meat should be covered to keep it from cooling down too quickly.


Lamb cuts such as chops, racks, and leg steaks should be rested for about 5-10 minutes. Thicker cuts like roasts and legs may require a more extended resting time.

How to Rest Meat

Once you’ve determined the appropriate resting time for the meat, you’ll need to rest it the right way. Here are a few steps to follow:

Step 1: Remove the Meat from the Heat

Remove the meat from the oven or grill when it’s cooked to your desired toughness.

Step 2: Move the Meat to a Cutting Board or Plate

Place the meat on a cutting board and let it rest there. If you’re using a plate, place the meat on the center of the plate and leave it there.

Step 3: Cover the Meat with Foil or a Cloth

Cover the meat with aluminum foil, a dish towel, or a cloth. This step is essential to help reduce the amount of heat lost by the meat while it’s resting.

Step 4: Let it Rest

Allow the meat to rest for the amount of time you’ve determined based on the cut of meat.

Step 5: Slice and Serve

After the resting time is complete, slice the meat according to your preference and serve.


In conclusion, taking meat out to rest is an important step in preparing a delicious and moist meat dish. Resting meat allows the juices to redistribute and be reabsorbed into the fibers, ensuring that your meat is tender and full of flavor. The amount of resting time varies depending on the type and thickness of the meat. By following the above guide on how to rest your meat, you’ll be able to serve a quality dish that everyone will enjoy. To learn more about various cuts of meat and their cooking techniques, be sure to check out the resources available at the National Cattleman’s Beef Association.


Do you cover meat when resting?

Yes, it is generally recommended to cover meat when resting, but not too tightly. Resting is an essential step in the process of cooking meat, particularly with large cuts like roasts or steaks, as it allows the internal temperature of the meat to even out and for the juices to redistribute. If you were to cut into the meat immediately after cooking, the juices could run out, leaving the meat dry and tough.

To properly rest your meat, take it off the heat and place it on a warm plate or serving platter. Then, lay a sheet of foil over the meat, making sure it is not wrapped too tightly as you don’t want to steam the meat. This will keep the meat warm while it rests and allow the juices to stay inside the meat.

It’s important to note that covering the meat too tightly with foil could cause the meat to sweat and lose valuable moisture, which you are trying to keep in the meat. This can undo all the hard work you put into cooking the meat and leave you with a dry, chewy meal.

Covering your meat while it rests is recommended as it helps to keep it warm and allows the juices to redistribute. However, be sure to cover it loosely to avoid steaming and loss of moisture.

Why do you let meat sit after cooking?

After cooking a piece of meat, it is a common practice to let it sit for a few minutes before cutting into it. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it actually plays an important role in improving the taste and texture of the meat.

When you cook meat, the high temperature causes the juices to move towards the center of the cut. If you cut into the meat immediately after cooking it, all of the juices will flow out and you will be left with a dry and tasteless piece of meat. This is particularly true for larger cuts of meat, such as roasts or steaks, which can take longer to cook.

On the other hand, if you let the meat sit for a few minutes before cutting into it, the juices will redistribute throughout the entire cut. This creates a juicier and more tender piece of meat. The process of letting the meat sit is called “resting,” and it is essential for achieving the best possible flavor and texture.

The amount of time you should let the meat rest depends on the size and type of cut. As a general rule of thumb, small cuts like chicken breasts or pork chops should rest for about five minutes, while larger cuts like roasts or steaks should rest for at least 10-15 minutes.

In addition, resting also provides an opportunity for the meat to continue cooking from residual heat. This ensures that the meat is cooked evenly and prevents it from being undercooked or overcooked.

Letting meat sit after cooking is an important step in achieving the best possible taste and texture. By allowing the meat to rest, you retain the juices and improve the tenderness, resulting in a more flavorful and enjoyable meal.

Is it safe to eat meat left out for 4 hours?

Perishable foods like meat and poultry require proper handling to ensure they are safe to eat. One important factor to consider is temperature control. When left at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, bacteria can grow rapidly, potentially leading to foodborne illness.

As a general rule, it is recommended that perishable foods be left at room temperature for no more than 2 hours. This means that if you have left meat out for 4 hours or more, it may not be safe to consume, even if it looks and smells fine.

Bacteria that can cause illness are odorless and tasteless, meaning you cannot rely on your senses to determine if the food is safe to eat. Instead, it is recommended that you use a food thermometer to verify the internal temperature of the meat. The safe internal temperature for beef, pork, veal, and lamb is 145°F, while poultry should be cooked to 165°F.

If the meat has been left out for more than 2 hours and is not at the proper temperature, it is best to discard it. While it may be tempting to reheat the meat to kill any potential bacteria, this is not recommended. When bacteria grow, they can release toxins that are not destroyed by heat and can still cause illness even after the meat has been thoroughly heated.

It is not safe to eat meat that has been left out at room temperature for 4 hours or more. Perishable foods should be properly stored and handled to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.