I love my meat tenderizer mallet. It’s my secret to tender chicken.
This handy dandy tool came into my possession pretty much by happenstance. When Nate and I were first married, I was kind of clueless about cooking. As a result, we had more than our share of tough chicken dinners. In an effort to make our chicken actually chewable, I randomly grabbed this meat tenderizer at our local grocery store. I had no idea what I was buying, I just hoped it would work.
Well, It did work and has ever since! Whenever I have a recipe that calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts served whole, I always pound them with my tenderizer mallet before cooking. For recipes where it makes sense, I have been able to pound the chicken very thin and the results are great.
Here are the reasons I like my particular mallet.
- I like the hammer style of my mallet. I feel like I can get good leverage and power by pounding the chicken with a hammer motion.
- I love the pointy tenderizer surface of my mallet. Not only does my mallet physically get the chicken flat from the force, but the textured surface really does what it says it does – tenderizes meat! Nate’s mom mentioned to me once that when she wants super tender chicken, she stabs the breasts like crazy with forks. We decided the result of our two methods is the same, and it is a darn good result at that!
- I would offer a link to the mallet I have, but I haven’t the foggiest idea where it came from. Just search “meat tenderizer mallet” and look around…there are many variations out there. Who knows? Maybe your grocery store has a simple one like mine, too!
If you’ve never pounded meat before, place the meat on a cutting board and then lay plastic wrap over the top of the meat before pounding. The plastic wrap holds up surprisingly well, even when I stab it repeatedly with my scary looking mallet!
Another side note. I don’t pound my chicken when I’m cutting it into bite-sized pieces or slices before cooking. But if I plan on cutting or slicing the chicken after cooking (or not cutting it at all, for that matter), then the tenderizer makes an appearance!
By the way, I highly recommend pounding your meat when you’ve had a bad day. Cheaper than therapy and the meat can take a beating.