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Sous vide - Meat Tenderizer vs Jaccard. Also questions about marinade

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#1 Blitz1775

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:01 AM

First time post here, and I would like to note I'm both relatively new to the cooking scene (mostly wanted to learn cooking to make healthier better tasting food, while saving money), and doubly so to the Sous Vide method. When I heard about it, and looked into it, I figured it was the perfect fit for me. In terms of equipment besides standard cooking implements or some make task easier stuff. I have the Sous Vide Supreme, a blow torch for searing, and do actually have a chamber vac sealer.

Anyways main question I have is regarding the use of a Meat Tenderizer vs. Jaccard. They both seem to tenderize the food, though is one better than the other, or does it depend on the task. If so could you break that down for me?

The other one regards marinade, while I can cook the food well chicken etc, its only good plain for so long. So I've attempted to try my hand at marinades with a very basic barbecue marinade, and also a soy sauce one. Both had serious issues with penetration, and wasn't sure if I was doing something wrong (less so for the soy sauce) besides not using a tenderizer (didn't even know I needed it). When I was experimenting I even had one marinated in the freezer (kind of cool how it never froze due to the chamber vac) no real appreciable difference. So if anyone has any tips on it, or if I'm doing it wrong I'm all ears.

Last of the marinade set, I heard injectors were a good way to get past the marinade problem. However I also read that it explicitly said not to use it with Sous Vide Style cooking, and I wasn't sure why that is. Since from my own understanding as long as you cook it long enough, you bring the germs down to a more than safe enough level.

Thanks for any help you can shine on the matter.

#2 dcarch

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:53 AM

Neither way can tenderize the meat.

Meat Tenderizer - typical meat tenderizer makes the meat mushy soft, too much and too long with tenderizer can turn the meat into a nasty pasty texture.

Jaccard - the meat never gets tender. The fiber gets shorter and the meat becomes more chewable, and swallowable. Be careful with jaccard if you are sous viding meat.


#3 Blitz1775

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

Oh well heck guess I was doing it right enough though the Jacard sounds like the thing I would be looking for in comparison. Although in regards to tender, I wasn't exactly looking for something to tenderize it out, verse more to flatten out the piece of food. Using the chicken breast as an example, it's pretty big and has an awkward shape making it difficult to get an even cooking surface (without using a blowtorch, which made the seasonings not so good on it :P). So in regards to that would a meat pounder be instead of what I should be looking for to just press and flatten the meat a bit?

#4 rotuts

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:33 AM

still not quite sure what you are trying to find out.

SV does not require a uniformly sized piece of meat. one of its strengths

are you asking how to flatten a Ck. Br.? i use an empty wine bottle for flattening. attractively priced, plenty around up to recycling day. :biggrin:

then I re-stock the bin. :huh:

#5 gdenby

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

Please clarify. When you say "meat tenderizer," do you mean one of those toothed hammers, or a marinade of powder application that soften the meat?

Here's what I know about the topics mentioned.

Enzyme meat tenderizers (papain and bromelian) break down collagen, the connective tissue that binds muscle fibers together. The various tenderizers available do not, as far as I know, break down elastin, which binds the muscles to bone. Too long an exposure to the enzyme tenderizers can make the meat mushy and dry before cooking.

But collagen breaks down w. exposure to heat. Both braising and SV will allow the collagen to convert to gelatin. Soft and smooth meat is the result.

As far as I know, elastin does not break down much, if at all, from heating. Cuts w. a lot of elastin can benefit from pounding w. a meat hammer, or piercing w. a Jaccard. These mechanical deformations of the meat structure also often allows marinades to get deeper into the meat.

Concerning flavor addition, I find that hammering or piercing the meat reduces the amount of time to suffuse the meat w. flavor. Cuts the time by as much as 75%.

My pretty limited experience w. SV has often resulted in much stronger flavors compared to meats cooked w. traditional methods. At this point, I am hesitant about adding more than a tiny bit of herb and spice, much less filling the meat w. an injection.

In terms of tenderness, all I can say is that both SV and traditional methods of cooking can make foods very chewable, but the texture is different.

Edited by gdenby, 28 January 2013 - 01:22 PM.

#6 Paul Kierstead

Paul Kierstead
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Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:15 PM

It might be better to ask separate questions separately, to avoid confusing answers.

I think you are concerned about searing/finishing the meat, and irregular shapes being difficult to sear/finish. They can be. Jaccard'ing/tenderizing isn't the answer to that question. My procedure for chicken breasts; note I leave skin on for flavour:
1) I pack carefully to avoid folds, etc.
2) After I pack, I flatten the skin side by pressing it against a flat surface. Not entirely sure this helps.
3) Cook.
4) Sit/Cool (typically I am putting in the fridge for later use) with the skin side down flat
5) When I go to finish, if I am really picky, I trim the chicken edges so that the flat area will dominate. i.e. I trim off the areas that won't touch the pan. If I am not so picky (average week night), I don't sweat it.
6) Place chicken skin side down in a hot, but not blazing hot, pan. I don't use a non stick. I only use a moderate amount of oil. I press down on the chicken. It will stick some. I wait a bit and let it brown. It will unstick. I only brown the 'backside' sometimes.
7) Sometimes I use the smoke gun to add a little smoke.

The heat in this method will allow some seasonings to be used, though usually I even pepper after searing. Excessive heat will not come out so well with skin-on chicken, in my experience; in skinless, you can use a lot more.

For things like beef, the procedure can vary. Bone in often won't sear well in a pan, but can do the broiler for some cuts (I like it with veal chops) or the grill. Boneless willl go well in a super hot pan, if you have good ventilation.

Fish I don't 'finish' but often use a sauce or chutney.

#7 Blitz1775

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:46 PM

Paul for the most part was correct in assuming that I was talking about more of the task of searing/finish for irregular shapes. I honestly thought flattening a piece of meat and using a meat tenderizer were one and the same as far as terms go (thanks mom :P). So at least that question seems to be answered for me in regards to either flatten it or trim it down.

This still does leave the marinade question of how to improve technique, or perhaps using an injector is the way to go, and if not the injector why not. Although I see one response saying because it's already flavorful and might give it to powerful of a taste. I'm personally of the camp a powerful flavor can be reduced or perhaps utilize a different technique (could be very wrong).

In the future I will definitely keep Each topic question to 1 main question and only related sub-questions to go along with it. I just didn't want to clog the forum up with like 3 post at once.