A common question asked, especially for home cooks who are just starting out to properly prepare white and red meat is “How to use a meat mallet?” Maybe, this question is always asked due to the fact that wielding a heavy object with spikes on it can be intimidating. However, in reality, it is more of making the most out of the supposed purpose of the meat mallet.
To help out, in this quick read, we will give you a better understanding of the uses of meat mallet and factors that you should consider when purchasing a good meat mallet. Likewise, we will provide some tips and tricks on how to use a meat mallet for you to get the best results. Surely, it is not just about pounding and crushing, right?
Table of Contents
What are the Uses of a Meat Mallet?
When you hear the word meat mallet, it usually connotes to steak. More often than not, you do not think about the other side of this tool, which is the smooth one. This is the case because the primary purpose of this kitchen tool is to break down fibers and muscle tissues of meat or flatten things out for the meat to cook quickly and evenly. Doing so make it easier to chew and eventually digest. Further, the procedure also releases the right amount of moisture to keep the inner flesh of the meat moist.
However, there are also instances where the meat will not be cooked appropriately even if you pounded them. This may be due to the reason that the force used was not enough. On another note, the smooth side of the mallet can be used for other purposes like crushing nuts, candies, breadcrumbs, etc.
How to Use a Meat Mallet
Here is a quick guide for your road to having professional looking and tasting steaks.
- Step 1
Choose the right meat to pound. The rule of the thumb is that only pork, beef, turkey, chicken, or wild game should be pounded. Meaning, do not include seafood or anything from the garden. According to experts, the good cuts to pound for steak are various cuts of round, round steak, flank steak, and skirt steak.
- Step 2
Once the cuts are ready, carefully trim the fat. The keyword here is trim, which means that you should leave some behind for the strong fatty flavor.
- Step 3
Using a plastic or cling wrap, wrap the cut of meat and let it chill in your refrigerator for half an hour for it to get cold. Do note that you should not put it in the freezer; we do not want it to get frozen.
- Step 4
After chilling the meat, take it out and put it on your chopping board that has a towel underneath. This will assure you that the board would not slip while you are pounding the meat.
- Step 5
Use the side of the mallet with the teeth first to tenderize the meat. Do not pound on random places, instead follow a consistent direction. Make sure that you are not over pounding an area. If you want to be sure, you can count each time you pound one side, and use the same number of pounds on the other parts.
However, you must pound more on thick areas. Also, as a general rule, a pound or two will suffice for the thinner areas. Additionally, remember that you should not mash the meat. Meaning, it should still be “bouncy” even after pounding it. Check if all parts are pounded to perfection. If your protein is chicken, pork cutlets or turkey, use the smooth side of the mallet. Do take note that, these meats are very tender and can be easily bruised. So, just give them a gentle pounding. You can even put a towel on top of that cut to prevent the separation of fiber.
What are the Factors to Consider when Buying a Meat Mallet?
Knowing the proper way of using a meat mallet would not be enough for you to have tender and juicy meat. You must also have the right meat mallet. Hence, here are some factors to look out for if you want a good meat mallet that will last you a lifetime:
When it comes to the material used in the construction of the meat mallet, stainless steel is the best option. The toll can be quite heavy, but it will tenderize the meet effectively and evenly.
A good mallet should be balanced from the handle to the head. This paves the way for proper distribution of force and gravity. To determine if it well-balanced, check if you can grip it without too much hassles.
- Bonding Agent
This talks about the thread or glue used in combining the parts of the mallet. It is best to get one that was welded together for you to be sure that it is truly secure. If you see glue, then better exercise caution as the head of the mallet can get detached.
These are the ones found on the textured side of the head. Make sure that they are not too small or too long.
Go for a meat mallet that has a protective layer in the area where you will grip it. Again, you would be applying force, so it is good to have something in between the mallet and your hands to prevent calluses.
There you have it; the basic things you need to know to use a meat mallet properly. We hope that this knowledge will be utilized for your dreams of having the perfect country fried chicken or flank steak. Either way, do remember that success in this meat tenderizing process is a combination of your technique and the effectiveness of your tool.
So, do not forget the factors to consider in buying the right meat mallet and just follow the general steps that we laid out. For sure, once you master these, you will see such a drastic difference in the taste and texture of your meat dishes.