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What can I use as a substitute for a meat mallet in my kitchen?
When lining up your ingredients, you also have to include tools that will make preparing and cooking the food easier.
A meat mallet is an essential tool since it makes even the cheapest cuts of meat succulent and tender.
If you do not have one in your kitchen, you can use a rolling pin, hammer, knife, marinade, slow cooking or salt to cook a recipe that requires a meat mallet.
What is a Meat Mallet?
A meat mallet comes in handy in meat pounding or tenderizing it. It looks like a hammer with a rectangular end, which may be smooth or tipped depending on the style and design you choose to buy.
Apart from serving as a meat tenderizer, meat mallets are also used for crushing garlic, fresh ginger, nutcrackers, and ice crushers.
Below are the alternatives you can use instead of a meat mallet:
- A Rolling Pin
A rolling pin is a basic tool found in most kitchens and is used to spread the dough in different baking recipes.
The cylindrical wooden utensil is perfect for tenderizing cuts of meat. You can use it in a similar way that a meat mallet to prepare your meat for cooking.
To avoid contamination first, wrap the meat in wax paper before pounding it with a rolling pin.
- A Hammer
If you are missing a meat mallet in your kitchen, get a hammer from your toolbox. You tenderize meat by breaking down the connective tissues.
This happens when you use a hammer in the following steps:
– Place the meat on your chopping board
– Cover it with protective paper; the greaseproof paper will work
– Pound the surface evenly
- A Knife
Tenderizing meat can also be defined as the process of using a tool to break down meat fibers.
Hence a knife is another alternative that can be used instead of a meat mallet. The process involves making long thin cuts across the meat fibers.
This action is known as ‘scoring’ and requires shallow cuts to be made at intervals in the meat to break down the tough proteins.
Correct slicing after the meat is cooked can also determine whether the meat is easy to chew. The best way to slice the meat is across the grain to shorten the long fibers.
Certain fruits contain enzymes that that can speed up the process of breaking down meat fibers.
These fruits are acidic in nature, and they include pineapples, kiwis, and papayas. The procedure is to puree the fruit of your choice, add the meat, oil, and lemon then allow the mixture to rest for several hours before cooking it.
Also used for marinades are buttermilk and yogurt, as they also contain enzymes that break down proteins.
This alternative to a meat mallet is one that enhances the flavor of the meat in addition to tenderizing it.
- Slow Cooking
This is a method of cooking that yields meals that have tender, flavorful cuts of meat.
When the meat is cooked over low heat for an extended period of time, the collagen gradually breaks down, releasing flavor and resulting in deliciously tender meat.
Cooking is best done in a slow cooker or Dutch oven.
Most chefs use sea salt or kosher salt to tenderize meat. The salt is generously applied to the meat about an hour before it is cooked.
When salt is applied to meat, it draws out the moisture, which helps break down proteins and soften the meat. Make sure you wash the meat thoroughly before cooking it.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need a meat mallet in my kitchen?
Yes, you will need a meat mallet at one point in your kitchen. It changes how meat tastes regardless of how tough it may be before it’s cooked. It helps to hammer the meat such as skirt steak and flank. So, you should have one in your kitchen or go for a tool that makes an ideal alternative.
- How do I use a meat mallet?
The steps of using a meat mallet are easy. Start by pounding it with the ridged side of a mallet. It will break down. Pound the meat until you break it down sufficiently using the smooth side of the mallet.
- Can I mallet a chicken breast?
Slice chicken breasts in half, but leave the breast attached. Wrap it with a plastic wrapper before using the flat side of the mallet to pound your chicken breasts.
There are many occasions in the life of a cook when an essential tool is missing. However, thinking out of the box will save the day and may yield surprisingly good results. Let nothing stop you if you do not have a meat mallet. Use one of the above alternatives.
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