Tenderizing is a process of breaking tough fibers of the meat down. It is a common way in culinary arts these days. As most people do not like tough meat, making it softer and tender is an important step while preparing it. Let’s start with a prior question: How to use a meat tenderizer? It is a kitchen tool that helps to tender the meat.
It can be shaped as a blade, a mallet, or something that looks like a potato masher. The mallet one has two sides: one flat side and the other spiky side. There are both metal options and wood options. I like the metal ones better since they are heavier and make the process easier. A meat tenderizer helps us turn a tough meat to a tender one.
Usually we see this issue with the inexpensive meats but with this product, it’ll be no problem! Any cut of meat can be soft and juicy with the right techniques of course! In this article, we’ll talk about the right techniques of tenderizing meat using a meat tenderizer. I’ll also give you tips and more below. Don’t forget to check that out!
How to Use a Meat Tenderizer
There are a variety of ways to tender your meat: using heat, using salt, using an acidic liquid, marinating with fruit, dry aging, etc. Using a meat tenderizer is just one of them. While it is a great way to prepare delicious meat, it is sometimes used wrong. If you want good results, you need to use the right methods. This kitchen tool can save you a good amount of money on your grocery bill with the proper way to use it.
How does a meat tenderizer help us tender the meat? Just like this: pound the meat with it, it breaks tough muscle fibers and gives us soft, delicious, and juicy meat. Voila! Kidding, but not kidding. I’ll explain more:
Muscles are made of long strings. These strings are like rubber bands. We do not want them on our dinner plate, they are very hard to eat. However, muscle is surrounded by collagen which can be both juicy and tender or chewy and tough. So, how you treat and cook the meat is very important for the results you get.
That’s why tenderizing is important. That’s how a meat tenderizer helps us tender the meat. However, I saw many people do it in the wrong way, end up with bad results and blame the technique itself. But it is alright since even the experts do it wrong sometimes. We are here to learn how to use a meat tenderizer right. Let’s break down the process of tenderizing meat!
Choosing the Right Meat
- The meat you are going to tenderize should not be fatty.
- You can choose any cut of meat for it doesn’t matter at all!
- Since pounding the meat makes it flat, you may not want to use a steak you are going to grill. Instead, you can use a knife or a fork for it.
What Makes Meat Tough?
Cow, lamb, or pig. This is valid for each. They have muscles at the top around their ribs and backbone. These muscles have more fat. So, if you get meat from this area it will be tender and soft. The meat you get will be a high-end cut like a tenderloin, prime rib, etc.
Then we have the working parts like the neck, the legs, and lower muscles. The meat coming from there will be muscled and tough. It is more budget friendly. You can get meat like brisket and chuck from this part.
- Clean your meat. Get rid of the blood and other unwanted pieces. Use fresh water.
- Cut your meat into medium-thin slices.
After choosing meat and cleaning it, get a clean chopping board. Place a wax paper and then place your meat on it. Place another wax paper on the meat because you would not want to worry about a mess after. Now, think of the things that made you sad and/or angry this week. Got it? Awesome! Now get that power from your anger and start to hit it!
For this process, any type of tenderizer is good. You can use any of it. But I love the hammer-shaped ones. They are easy to use, easy to clean, and fun to use. You use the flat side for chicken fillets, veal escalope, etc. The spiky side is for stronger enemies like chuck meat!
Think of this like a hammer and a nail. Once you are done with one side, flip it and do the other side. Do not hit a place twice or harder than others. Make sure to hit it evenly. Every part of the meat should be tender. This is how you use a meat tenderizer!
This is a plus, but I highly suggest you marinate your meat after tenderizing with this tool. Make a magical spice powder and let the meat absorb it. It usually takes 15-20 minutes. Some people keep it overnight, but I do not recommend it. I will mention why below.
There are many ways to marinate meat. There are many recipes on the internet. But every enthusiastic home cook has its own way to marinate. There are limitless options so there are limitless recipes! I have one too!
And you know I love to share everything I know with you. So, here I share this one too! This is the one I always use. I use oil, garlic, onion, pepper, some red wine, and a small amount of fresh thyme. After I tenderize the meat, I marinade it in this, and it always comes out perfect!
Let’s learn some tips to use a meat tenderizer and the process after usage. Even after you tenderize the meat, you need to be careful about some things. For example: keeping everything hygienic. What can we do to make this process as hygienic as it can be? Do not tenderize the meat for too long. If you tenderize it for long, it can be affected by germs. It loses all the juice and food value.
You should cook your tenderized meat as soon as possible. The meat has an open gate for germs after tenderizing it and no one would like to eat germ-affected meat. It will also loosen up and there will be no point of the tenderizing process.
This also means you should not make it rest overnight. Do not keep it in the fridge. I know you want to save time by tenderizing the meat the night before. But when you take it out of the fridge, its food value will be ruined. It is not very hygienic either.
How to Clean the Tenderizer
Keeping the meat tenderizer clean is important for both long-lasting and hygienic purposes. Most people only clean it afterwards and when they use it again, they just use it right away. But this is not a good technique since the tool intensely touches your food.
I recommend you clean it before and after every usage. You can clean it with soapy water and a brush. If it is hard to clean, you can use a metal scrubber. Anyhow, keep it clean guys!
What Not to Do
- Over Tenderizing: You should not tenderize the meat excessively. The meat is dead, mate. Do not try to kill it again. Just use the right amount of pressure. It is important for taste, hygiene, and food acceptance. It might be tricky to find the right amount of tenderizing but once you find it, you’ll have the best.
- Spicing the meat first: As I said, marinating helps to tender the meat even more. Most people do it before tenderizing meat, but this is a mistake. Do not waste your spice powder with this method. Tenderize the meat first and put the powder or paste after.
- The surface: Do not tenderize your meat on anything other than a clean chopping board.
- Not cleaning the meat enough: Cleaning out the blood is an important step since it can seep inside the meat while tenderizing.
Tenderizing is an important method to use on all kinds of meat to end up with a soft and delicious experience. A meat tenderizers helps us with this process. Usually some tough cuts of meat are inexpensive since no one likes tough meat. But we now know the way to turn them into high-end cuts, don’t we? The usefulness of meat tenderizer cannot be overlooked!
In this article, we learned how to use a meat tenderizer and how to use one with additional information and tips. I hope it helped you a lot. If you use the meat tenderizer, how did it go? Are you satisfied with the results? Leave a comment below so we can chat about it!