Did you know that meat consumption is on the rise in the United States? Rabobank, a research and advisory firm, projects per capita consumption levels of more than 200 pounds per year by 2018. No matter which way you slice it, cut it, or tenderize it, that's a lot of meat!
One cardinal sin you see among carnivores everywhere is the continued consumption of tough and chewy slabs of meat. And in the restaurant and food processing industry, tough meat can be the kiss of death. But how do you tenderize meat in a cost effective manner? Here are some tricks to transform a tough cut into a tender masterpiece.
- Slow Cookers
Pressure cookers and crockpots are the easiest way to bring out the juicy joy in a difficult cut of meat. They work by cooking your disappointing meat purchase over the course of many hours on low heat until you can slice it with a spoon. Start in the morning and just go to work. When you come back, you'll have what you've always wanted.
- Great Gastronomic Homemade Marinades
Not only do marinades help to break down tougher proteins and make a steak more tender, but they can add loads of flavor as well. There are two ways to approach marinating meat. First, you can use common cooking acids like vinegar or lemon juice. Make sure not to marinate too long or the proteins much break down more than you want. Second, use fruits with enzymes that break down protein. Papaya, pear, and pineapple puree are all prime options.
- Score in the Steak Game
Scoring is a knife technique where you make small, shallow cuts along the top and bottom of the beef. This is one way of cutting meat that helps break down tougher proteins by hand.
- Bashing the Beef
Using a tenderizing mallet can be great for taking out today's stress in a safe and productive way. Slamming the hammer down on a slab of tough meat might just alleviate anger at the same time as tenderizing your dinner. Win-win, right?
- Commercial Meat Tenderizer Machines
While all of the options above may be viable options for small kitchens and butcher shops, they aren't particularly cost effective for larger operations. If you work in the restaurant industry, or if you are just a really strong believer in tender cuts, this might be something to meat your needs. Instead of laboriously slamming into meat with a mallet, consider an electric meat tenderizer. Professional meat tenderizers will quickly -- and cost-effectively -- prepare your meat.
The important information here is that meat is the best thing ever. In order to keep this statement true, sometimes you need to tenderize your substandard cuts. Whether you want to slow cook your dinner, attack it with a mallet, or get a commercial meat tenderizer, you deserve the most tender meat you can get.