Let us get started with some very easy techniques to make any kind of meat tender and juicy!
Before we start with this list I want to make something very clear. All the methods mentioned below are used by professional chefs in restaurants. So lets get started with this list of 6 Easy Ways to Make Meat Tender.
1. Meat Mallet
This is one of the methods out of the 6 Easy Ways to Make Meat Tender which can be physically done. And by physically I mean you just basically have to take a meat mallet and gently beat the meat so the breakdown of the tissue.
It one of the classic methods that we use for a lot of dishes like a chicken roulade. For chicken roulade, we normally beat the chicken breast so that it becomes into a thin sheet and we can roll it with stuffing.
I wouldn’t say that it’s one of the best methods to tenderize your meat. It is definitely one of the easiest ones.
A meat mallet is a very inexpensive tool and can be used for other purposes except for tenderizing your meats. I would really suggest you go for it. It is a very handy tool to have in the kitchen. Click here to buy one!
Now a meat mallet is again a tool that will not be applicable to all the dishes that you cook. Mostly because in most dishes you cannot afford to make the meat flat by beating it. Because some recipes just do not call for that shape.
But I promise this is the only thing that is not applicable to all the dishes. The next five things on this list will be applicable to each and every dish.
I guess it’s one of the most popular ways to make the meat tender. And I’m pretty sure when you clicked on this article 6 Easy Ways to Make Meat Tender you already knew that marination is going to be there. Well, you are not completely wrong because it is quite popular. And very easy so I did not want to skip it even though you already know about it.
But I guess I can give you a lot more output on marinating including the things you already know and extra knowledge does no harm.
The good thing about marination is that it works with both meats and vegetables.
But in this case, we will be exclusively talking about different types of meats.
So before we start all the different types of meat there are not a lot of variations for the most part. There are only two main types of meats. The first one being white meat and the second one being red meat.
Types of Meats
Now there is a lot of dispute when it comes to the colour of the meat. But all I can say is don’t check the colour when it’s raw. I am talking about the colour when it’s cooked.
I know you will be like pork meat is pink in colour and for the most part, even chicken is. But when we talk about the colour of the meat in culinary terms you always check the colour after the meat is cooked completely.
Let’s start with White Meat
White meat does not really need long durations of marination. I think about 2 hours should do just fine for tenderizing your meat. Now there are a lot of ingredients that you can use for marinating white meat depending upon the dish you are making. But few tenderizing agents in a marinade are lemon juice, salt, vinegar, curd, and also oil to some extent.
Now coming to the Red Meat
Red meat is more difficult to tenderize since it’s harder in texture. We have to keep it for long hours.
Although the best thing about red meat is that we don’t need a lot of marinade for it. We just need a little more time for red meat that is because it has a lot of natural marbling.
Marbling means layers of fat between muscle tissues which basically makes sure that the meat is very tender naturally.
Just give it enough time to rest and relax and you don’t really need a lot of ingredients to make it tender and salt works the best. You can always use all the tenderizing agents mentioned above for white meat but salt is the best one.
I think this is the part which I like the most in this whole article of 6 Easy Ways to Make Meat Tender. That is mainly because you just don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to invest extra, and you don’t have to put any extra effort. You just have to let the meat rest. I don’t think it can get any easier than this.
If you follow my blog regularly and you have read a few recipes. You might have noticed that I always say that buying your meat one-day prior to cooking is very important so that we can rest it for a while. Cooking the meat immediately after it got slaughtered is the worst thing you can do and no matter how much marinade you apply it will still end up dry and chewy.
So, in culinary school we are taught about a process called rigour Mortis. This process takes place after the animal has been slaughtered. In a lot of countries, there are certified slaughterhouses and this process is taken care of.
But if you’re getting your meat from a small Store most probably they are not taking care of it. In this process after the animal is slaughtered you allow all the blood to flow out of its body. And it is important so that when we rest it, later on, the muscles can relax. Because when you slaughter the animal the muscles contract a lot and it’s very difficult to let it relax naturally if you don’t let the blood flow out.
So after this process has been carried out you just let the meat rest for 12 to 14 hours in the fridge and trust me it will make a whole lot of difference that even a marinade won’t.
And if you are hying frozen meat that is the best thing you are already practising and you do not need extra resting just let it come to room temperature.
4. Internal Temperature
Internal temperature is checked for different stages of cooking. You might have noticed that there are various degrees of cooking in a steak starting from rare, then moving onto medium rare, which is probably the most popular one, and then after that comes medium, medium well and at last well done. This method is followed by chefs out of these 6 Easy Ways to Make Meat Tender.
So all the stages have different internal temperatures and that decides the degree of cooking that has already happened in the meat.
Now, medium-rare is popular because it is much more tender and juicy than well done. It is mainly because till the time you cook the steak until it’s well done it kind of loses all its internal juices.
For obvious reasons, it tends to be a little dry then medium-rare.
Although the same can be done with other meats as well. In most cases, we do cook the chicken completely but just to make sure that we don’t overcook it you can keep checking the internal temperature. Especially in the case of Roasted chicken or maybe a Roasted Turkey for Thanksgiving.
You just need a very small and inexpensive tool for this method that is the cooking thermometer. It just doesn’t come handy in checking the internal temperature it will come handy in a lot of places and a lot of recipes when you work in the kitchen. Just get it today and it’s very useful in the long run for you to become a good cook. Click here to buy a cooking thermometer.
Just like this thermometer I have a list of 14 Must-Have kitchen tools that will make you a better cook! I highly recommend you to go through it. Lets jump to the next method out of these 6 Easy Ways to Make Meat Tender.
5. Fast & Slow Cooking
Lets move ahead with this 6 Easy Ways to Make Meat Tender list. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did not hear about this method. Mostly because I personally use it and I don’t know if it is used by a lot of chefs. But it is exactly what it sounds like. First I cook it on high heat for a few seconds and then cook it slowly until it is done.
It sounds very simple but it can be really tricky at time. So the first thing you have to make sure is that your pan is smoking hot and then sear your meat completely on each side until it forms a crisp skin. Which should take about 30-40 seconds depending upon the size of the cute.
Then it is time to cook it slowly. Now, this can be either done on the gas range itself or the best way to go about it is in the oven.
If you are planning to cook it on the pan make sure you do it on the lowest setting and cover it with the lid so that the moisture doesn’t escape. Although if you are planning to do it in an oven just let it cook in the oven at 180 degrees celsius. Also if the meat cut is bigger than you can bump up the temperature till 200 degrees celsius.
This way you make sure that when the crisp skin is formed you lock all the juices inside and once they are locked. Just keep cooking it slowly until well done.
6. Raw Papaya
I kept papaya separate and not with marinades in this 6 Easy Ways to Make Meat Tender list because it has a very powerful enzyme called papain. It technically does not tenderize meat. It tends to breakdown the tissues and has a melting effect on the meat.
For example when we make a Lamb Biryani and we do not have enough time to marinate it or even rest it. Papaya saves the day. We just add 50 grams of raw papaya paste for 500 grams of meat and does the work pretty well.
And the best part is that raw papaya technically doesn’t have a very strong taste, flavour or smell so you can feel free to add it anywhere and the dish will remain the same.
But always remember it has more of a melting effect rather than tenderizing the meat. So if you have the time always go for marinating the meat and resting it. You would always get better results that way and papaya paste is just for emergencies.
That is all from my side! If you know any other way to tenderize the meat let me know in the comments!