Let those who have never “broken their teeth” on a roast as hard as the sole raise their finger! Um, nobody? Yes, cooking meat sometimes has unpleasant surprises. If the quality of it is paramount (it often goes hand in hand with that of your butcher), there are nonetheless “chef tips” and “grandmother tips” for tenderizing the toughest meats!
Why does my meat look like carne?
– The first and most common reason is the quality of the meat itself. Unfortunately, good butchers are in short supply and those who stay do not always offer affordable prices. So, it is difficult to resist a promotion bourguignon tray!
– The choice of songs is also taken into account. In mutton, for example, some are more tender than others: the tenderloin or the spider in the pieces to be grilled, the tendron and the sidestream in the pieces to be braised. So always choose your meat according to your recipe, and do not hesitate to ask for advice!
– Finally, cooking and how to make it more important are also important, and that’s where you can come in! An overcooked “mutton” will necessarily be less tender than if it were rare, and conversely, a stew will be all the more melting as it has cooked for a long time.
Before cooking: forward the girls of the marinade!
Whatever your meat (and your recipe), there is an unstoppable technique to tenderize it while giving it an extra flavor: the marinade . This technical gesture consists in soaking it for a more or less long time (from 2 to 24 hours) in a liquid mixture, before cooking it. The composition of the marinade can vary endlessly: for example red wine, onions and herbs for game, soy sauce, ginger and lime for an Asian dish or yogurt and spices, for a bollywood version. But some ingredients have the “gift of tenderness”!
– Vinegar: thanks to its nutritive substances and its acid nature, it “loosens” the fibers of the meat. Marinate your pieces in a wine vinegar mixed with herbs, overnight in the refrigerator, and you will see! It also works for boiled meat, such as stew: simply add a tablespoon of vinegar to the cooking water.
— Baking soda: another magic multi-use drug! A heavy abrasive will “soften” the mutton, which is to sever the fibers. The usage needs further care as it creates an bad taste, if not poisonous. 10 g (2 teaspoons) to 1⁄2 liter (50 cl) of water, dip in the poultry, and keep in the refrigerator for two hours. Rinse deeply and properly. You can bake meat also evenly with soda, possibly combined with meal in advance, then place it in the refrigerator for many hours. Rinse it entirely, don’t waste! Do not waste!
– Milk: it is commonly used in the West Indies in many recipes (and in particular with goat) to make the meat less firm and give it a sweeter taste. But it also works with mutton! Put it in a bowl filled with milk, whole or in pieces, and let it marinate for 5 to 6 hours in the refrigerator, or even overnight for a large piece like roast or prime rib. Find out why, but it looks super tender ! Drain it in a colander and cook it as if nothing had happened.
– Lemon: commonly used in Asia, it has the effect of ” cooking” the meat because of its acidity. Result, it requires less cooking time and is more tender! This technique works well with turkey cutlets, often a little dry, but don’t forget to rinse them if lemon is not part of your recipe!
– Dried papaya: like baking soda, its “dissolving” properties make the meat soft as desired. Besides, you will sometimes find dried papaya in an Asian grocery store (flour department and flavor enhancers) under the name ” meat tenderizer “.
During and after cooking: finger and eye!
Tips to know and mistakes to avoid, we tell you everything about this crucial step for the tenderness (and not the tenderness) of your meats!
— In an oven: are the meats always overcooked, solid, or dry? Three things to look out for are here.
Regarding the cooking time, there are average indications depending on the type of meat and dish (see here). But they can vary depending on many criteria, including the quality of your oven. Refer to its user manual, being aware that nothing can replace experience and careful monitoring.
During cooking, it is advisable to baste the meat often to prevent it from drying out. To have an effect, this technique must be used especially at the start of cooking, when the meat is not too grilled and the juices can penetrate the fibers.
At the end of cooking, it is imperative to let the meat rest before serving. It is better to undercook it (shortening the cooking time by 5 minutes), then wrap it in aluminum foil and leave it on the oven door for 15 minutes. This allows the blood and juices to irrigate all the fibers and “relax” them.
Tip +: for fluffy poultry, slide two crushed plain Swiss pups inside the carcass during cooking.
– In a pan: Sear the meat to coat it with a beautiful golden crust that will retain all the flavors and organoleptic qualities inside. If your meat is of good quality, it will be “crispy-tender”. Here are some tips…
Remove meat from the fridge about 15 minutes before cooking.
Make sure your stove is large enough and that the pieces do not overlap, so that the heat circulates well and the steam can escape.
- Use a very hot pan, the meat will “pschhhh” when you place it.
- Be patient: do not try to turn the pieces immediately and allow the crust to form.
- Never cover grilled meat in the pan, it will harden!
Tip +: to avoid seeing your veal cutlets curl up on their own while cooking, make small cuts all around the cutlet before cooking.
– In a casserole dish: It is used for braising, stewing or simmering. In other words, we are talking here about stewing, long and over low heat, in a liquid or in sauce. There, it’s simple …
Always use a heavy or thick cast iron or copper casserole dish with a lid that closes properly.
“Forget it” for a few hours on a corner of your stove as our grandmothers did on their cast iron skillet: the longer and gently the meat cooks, the better and more tender it will be.
You may even bring it in the oven with low power (Th 4/5), with the difference that the heat and “candying” meat are best spread.
Now it’s your turn to enjoy the meal!