Cook like a pro with these culinary school tips

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Food too bland? Misshapen hamburger patties? Try this...

(WYTV) – Here are a few tips from culinary schools to perk up your meals.

If you tend to take a piece of meat out of the refrigerator — or even the freezer — and throw it directly on the grill, don’t. For the best-tasting steak, take it out of the cold and let it sit for an hour or two before cooking. If you start cooking the steak when it’s already at room temperature, it will cook much more evenly.

Want a bit more juiciness in your chicken or pork chops? Brine them. It’s not just for turkeys. Soaking the meat in cold salt water infuses it with rich flavor and a juicy texture even before you cook it. Brining also helps keep your chicken or pork from drying out and provides a safeguard against overcooking.

If your food tastes bland, it may just need more salt. Instead of salting heavily at the start or end of cooking, trying sprinkling on and off as you cook and sprinkle the salt from up high so that it will be evenly distributed throughout your dish.

If you add a pinch or two of sugar to a recipe that uses tomatoes, you’ll notice the difference. The sugar will counteract the natural sour taste of the tomatoes to make a rich, pleasant flavor.

And finally, how to make a perfectly-shaped hamburger. It takes just seconds. First, toss the patty down hard on your cutting board to force out the air bubbles. Then press an indentation into the center of the patty. These two simple actions prevent the patty from puffing up in the middle and create a nice, even burger.

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