How important is it to have tender meat? Tough meat can kill the most appetizing meal. If the meat is hard to chew, most likely it will not be eaten, leaving your family still hungry and money wasted on unpalatable food. It is a common misconception that the cheaper the cut of meat the tougher it will be when cooked. In reality, even the most expensive cuts can end up as tough as leather if improperly tenderized.
The texture of the meat itself is not in question but how well you tenderize and cook it. The cheapest cuts can be turned into the juiciest and most beautiful dinners. The trick is in knowing how to tenderize your cut before it's cooked. Fortunately, tenderizing your meat Is easier than it seems. You don't need to be a professional butcher or chef in order to pull it off with panache. All you need to know are a few simple tricks of the trade. Here are a few easy ideas to help you tenderize your meat choice ensuring a juicy, savoury and delicious entree!
Hand-held metal tenderizers are used by butchers to pound the daylights out of meat. These tenderizers can be bought to tenderize your meat at home and they are offered in both metal and wooden varieties. This method is great for thin meats but will not tenderize thicker cuts very well. Also, it tends to bruise the meat before cooking by not only breaking up the connective tissues making the meat tough but also the meat fibres. You are basically pulverizing your meat.
Some dishes you want this consistency such as Chicken fried steak or cubed steak. If you are wanting to accomplish this technique at home, use your meat mallet and pound your meat until it is about ¼ inch thick. For other dishes, let's try a different method.
Using a slow cooker is perfect for tough cuts of roast. Many people put their roasts in a covered roasting pan in the oven which is fine at a low temperature for hours. You can also use a slow cooker or a crock pot to put the meat in and cook on a low setting over the course of hours.
The technical term for this method is called thermal tenderization which also applies for grilling. The same technique can be used on the grill when you close the lid and cook the meat slowly surrounded by heat. Tenderizing on the grill is excellent for ribs and brisket!
This is a wonderful way to tenderize your meat and add some tasty flavour as well! There are plenty of marinating recipes and ideas out there or you can be creative and invent your own just make sure that your concoction includes an edible, safe acid such as vinegar, yogurt or a citrus juice.
One of these ingredients is important in your marinade because it will help to break down the toughness of your meat before it even reaches the flame to cook. A key component here to remember, however, is to not allow your meat to marinade too long or it may turn mushy. A safe marinade time is two hours to overnight.
Temperatures and Cooking Times
Cooking meat at the right temperature will ensure that the juices remain in the fibres. Overcooking will dry out the juices leaving your meat tough and extremely hard to chew. Cooking it at higher temperatures can also dry the meats natural juices and leave charred remains. For the most tender meat possible, follow your desired recipe to the mark and do not overcook or use a hotter temperature than necessary.
Tenderizing your meat is an important step to perfectly cooked cuisine. A tough piece of meat not only leaves a bad taste in the mouth but an overall bad memory of the meal in general. You want your meat to be tender and juicy and for all of the sides to compliment your protein creation. The meat makes the meal and a badly tenderized meat makes for a bad meal.
Employing the tips above will get you well on your way to tender meat and happy guests at your dinner table. A great meal and great company to create lasting memories are what it's all about, after all good times and good food go hand in hand!