Even though the Cajun Blackening process was used originally on fish, it can be used equally well on thin cuts of beef, pork, chicken, shrimp and vegetables.
NOTE: To review and/or select the meat you wish to use, please refer to the “Recommendation Guide to selecting your beef, pork, chicken, turkey or seafood” PDF, located in the Recipe link in the heading at the top of the Home page.
1) Evenly spray or rub, a little oil on all sides of your fish, beef, pork, chicken or vegetables.
2) Then generously grind the Cajun Blackened Seasoning evenly on all sides of your food, gently pressing it onto the surface. The amount of seasoning you grind on food is up to your flavor preference. The more you grind on the more of a flavor impact the seasoning will have. Fig. 1 below is an example of how much seasoning to grind onto your food as a general rule. If you like spicy food, grind more on!
NOTE: One word of caution, these rubs are self-contained, meaning that they already have salt in them in the proper ratio to the spices and herbs, so don’t overdo it with grinding the rubs or add any additional salt.
Figure 1. Red Snapper with Cajun Blackened Seasoning.
3) After you have rubbed your meat, refrigerate it and allow the rub to rest on the meat for at least 20 minutes or up to twenty-four hours. The longer the resting period, the more the rub can penetrate the meat.
NOTE: Always buy your meats from a quality reputable stores. Keep all meat under refrigeration as much as possible during preparation. Don’t leave any meats out at room temperature for more than 30 minutes, except when you are ready to cook it. Then let it just reach room temperature prior to cooking, but don’t let time exceed an hour. Food safe guidelines recommend that any proteins (meats in this case) are not exposed to the “Temperature Danger Zone” (40 F. to 140 F) for more than 4 hours for its entirejourney to you cooking it. We are informing you of these food safety guidelines, because we want you to have a wonderful flavorful safe food experience, every time.
4) Use a solid cast iron pan large enough to comfortable fit the food you are cooking. Using medium high heat, preheat the pan until it just starts to smoke. If you have an exhaust fan as part of your kitchen, turn it on now.
5) Carefully add a few tablespoons of oil to the pan and immediately gently place the seasoned fish, beef, pork, chicken or vegetables in the cast iron pan. The food and oil will begin to smoke. (Good time to turn on exhaust fan or open windows! Caution – fumes from spicy seasonings smoking can be irritating) Leave it in one place for half of the cooking time and then gently flip it over to complete the cooking on the other side. Part of the trick to a properly blackened piece of food is to leave the food in the pan without moving it around. This allows the good blackened crust to form. The same “do not disturb” process goes for sautéing in general, as well. For a piece of red snapper as shown above, the cooking time on each side could be a little as 3 to 4 minutes per side. When you see the edges all the way around the fish turn white, then turn it over.
6) As a reminder, you are blackening the food, not burning it. The pan should not be so hot that the food burns. IF you are unsure about the heat level of your pan, test you pans heat with a small piece of food at first, before dumping all of tonights burnt dinner in the trash.
7) Chicken and turkey should reach 165 F. Fish and pork should be cooked to 145 F. Beef should be cooked to your personal preference of doneness. If you are looking for a specific temperature of doneness, use this BEEF general temperature guide: 125 F. for rare, 130 F. for medium rare, 135 F. for medium, 140 F. for medium well and over 150 F. for well done. The use of a digital instant read thermometer is HIGHLY recommended.
8) Once you feel your meat has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the grill or oven and let it “rest” under a foil tent. There is an activity that takes place now called “carryover cooking”. Once your food is removed from the heat source, it will continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes for smaller cuts. The retained heat in the meat continues the cooking process for a few more minutes, as the meat cools down. Part of the resting period is to allow the internal liquids in the meat, which are forced to the center by the intense cooking heat, and it will take a few minutes for the liquids to redistribute themselves throughout the meat.