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albie

Jaccarding Meat: Tenderizing by Piercing

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... do not pierce the meat at all, ever, if you are trying to retain juices: personal experience, not theory. Remember, searing does not seal the surface.

...

Forget "the surface" when it comes to juices -- that is not what its about.

Jaccarding does "what it says on the packet" - it reduces the 'tightening up' of the meat on cooking. And that does reduce the amount of those juices squeezed out.

Despite the holes in "the surface".

Personal experience, not theory.

Reduced tightening, does also mean reduced resting to relax that tightening.

Certainly the effects are most dramatic on cheaper (inferior) materials.

But the effect is a whole lot more subtle than hitting it with a hammer ...

Personally, I remain unconvinced as to the food safety wisdom of encouraging wider adoption of the sous vide method to ANY comminuted meat, including jaccarded meat.

AND, especially in that regard, I too have my concerns about efficient home sanitisation of Jaccard tools. Is a strip-down and wash after every use the only (or even an adequate) means of ensuring food safety?

The hygiene aspect still concerns me, but make no mistake, the tool does work.

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There is absolutely no reason why you couldn't be perfectly safe at home with this device. All it takes is a normal procedure to prevent contamination.

Because of the dangers of sous vide, one could presear the meat and allow it to rest. While doing this, one could soak the jaccard in 150F water for 5 minutes or more. This would be more than enough time to kill off any bugs and should be a low enough temperature so as not to hurt the plastic casing. I would suggest that the soaking is good procedure regardless of cooking method.

I'm suggesting the above on top of your normal procedures (i.e. dishwasher, sanitizing solution etc...).

Safety is important but writing off a useful instrument for these kind of safety concerns seems to me less like being properly cautious and more like being too lazy to follow good hygeine procedures.


Edited by BadRabbit (log)

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I never put 2 and 2 together, but now I know why those outback steaks from my childhood were so tender and left my mouth feeling nearly raw. Why cutting into it was like cutting into a big booger. Commercial tenderizer, ftl.

I dont see why anyone would puncture a dry aged piece of beef, one major benefit from the aging process is the breaking down of muscle fibers.

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...

But frankly, I'm scared (blank)-less about cross contamination. ...

Becasue the device is spring loaded, aprox 1/4 of the blade is covered by the plastic guard at any time. I've sanitized teh guy in commerical hi-temp d/washers, tied a string around it so the tips are exposed and washe it again, doused it in sanitizing solution, but I'm still worried about the sanitizing aspects of the device.

...

Its the tiny holes in the blade guard that concern me.

The blades 'wipe' through those holes on every stroke, as they come out of the meat.

Washing it 'tied up' (to expose the blade tips) does nothing about the blade guard holes - they are still almost full of blade!

I think its better stripped out.

And then the holes probably should be 'flossed' somehow. (Or do the blades do that for themselves?)

While the temperature in the dishwasher should sanitise the thing (as in killing bugs), I'm not at all sure that it would do anything about removing any tiny bits of meat debris in the holes. And that could be a wonderful culture medium before the next use.

Perhaps the protocol should be to clean it before and after every session of use?

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Its the tiny holes in the blade guard that concern me.

The blades 'wipe' through those holes on every stroke, as they come out of the meat.

And then the holes probably should be 'flossed' somehow. (Or do the blades do that for themselves?)

Perhaps the protocol should be to clean it before and after every session of use?

The holes are designed to "sweep" the blades. I have taken mine apart and never seen anything inside the sliding blade cover.

My procedure above was essentially a "before and after" approach. Clean regularly and soak it right before using it and everthing should be fine.

Edited to correct quote.


Edited by BadRabbit (log)

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The various claims that piercing meat while raw is OK, but not while cooking (not OK) are bogus; do not pierce the meat at all, ever, if you are trying to retain juices: personal experience, not theory. Remember, searing does not seal the surface

I'm not sure what your personal experience is with piercing meat but strongly suspect it didn't involve a Jaccard.

We are not talking theory here. Many people up thread were sceptical about the process but willing to try it out. Look especially at the one by NathanM, who is a converted sceptic.

I first tried the Jaccard on his recommendation from the sous vide thread. Does it leak more fluid than unjaccarded steak? Not at all. Is it a juicy, tender, piece of meat after cooking? Sure is. I'll also add another: it seems to require less resting than conventionally cooked meat.

I am tempted to use a vulgarity, but I will refrain. My "personal experience" involves weighing before and after, a la Alton Brown. This after I purchased and read McGee's two books, so it was quite a while ago. I am mystified that some people still buy into the searing folk non-wisdom, after so many years of refutations. If one destroys or alters the structure of the meat, sure, the tenderness will increase, but so will the loss of juices. Jaccard or not Jaccard, the effects are the same: do-it-yourself Rustler's.

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interesting, I never would have considered getting one of these things, but now I'm tempted. Can't afford prime all the time, as nice as that would be, and the idea behind this tool makes sense. I'd not be concerned about sanitation, I think one would have to have a really dirty tool or piece of meat to cause much damage. Maybe not in SouVide, but why would you need this tool in that case?

I think I might pick one up next time I'm in a kitchen store. Tempted to do the same test as above, treating half.

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I am tempted to use a vulgarity, but I will refrain. My "personal experience" involves weighing before and after, a la Alton Brown. This after I purchased and read McGee's two books, so it was quite a while ago. I am mystified that some people still buy into the searing folk non-wisdom, after so many years of refutations. If one destroys or alters the structure of the meat, sure, the tenderness will increase, but so will the loss of juices. Jaccard or not Jaccard, the effects are the same: do-it-yourself Rustler's.

The point still remains, have you actually used a Jaccard, or are you being "theoretical"?

By the way who said anything about "searing"? We know from all that is written that it doesn't work to seal in juices. But we know from real-life experience that a Jaccard doesn't cause juice leakage. It seems you are conflating two arguments to discredit a true one.


Edited by nickrey (log)

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Yes, I had made a copy of the device now called a "Jaccard" ( I am a former design/manufacturing engineer), though back then it was only called a "piercer", its true description. I was intrigued by how places like Rustler's were able sell such "tender" steaks for so little money. So I tried tenderizing meat using it, and was amazed how much liquid exited the meat while cooking. I came to the conclusion that the meat was probably also marinated, then read news reports back then that it was truly the case. Soon after those reports the various chains of those restaurants came under closer scrutiny and ridicule. After reading McGee I tried duplicating his tests of cooking meat portions which were pierced/not pierced (by the chef's fork) and seared/not seared. The verdict is that if the meat is not physically altered beforehand, it doesn't matter if searing is used; juices will flow if it's altered (seared or not), and won't flow as much (on unaltered meat) whether it's seared or not. The connection to searing comes when some use the term "tightens up" in regard to the meat cooking. And, yes, I DO know that the piercing causes juices to flow, by measurement. So can anyone observe this, even easier than my tests back then, by taking a piece of meat and dividing it in half, than grinding one half but not the other, and cook both at the same temp to the same doneness, then weigh both. The grinding is the extreme of piercing.

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There is absolutely no reason why you couldn't be perfectly safe at home with this device. All it takes is a normal procedure to prevent contamination.

Because of the dangers of sous vide, one could presear the meat and allow it to rest. While doing this, one could soak the jaccard in 150F water for 5 minutes or more. This would be more than enough time to kill off any bugs and should be a low enough temperature so as not to hurt the plastic casing. I would suggest that the soaking is good procedure regardless of cooking method.

I'm suggesting the above on top of your normal procedures (i.e. dishwasher, sanitizing solution etc...).

Safety is important but writing off a useful instrument for these kind of safety concerns seems to me less like being properly cautious and more like being too lazy to follow good hygeine procedures.

Another technique would be to do what McGee recommends for grinding meats: blanch the outside for a minute or two in boiling water, then grind/pierce without any concern about driving bacteria into the center of the meat. I do this whenever I grind before a meat loaf, and it is easy enough to not be a burden.

Ray

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Curious, I wonder if there is in fact a greater difference between ray goud's "piercing" technique and the use of a Jaccard than meets the eye. The blades on a Jaccard are very thin, and I believe the notion is that you are cutting the muscle fibers (which, as dougal points out, prevents them from tightening during cooking and squeezing liquid out). Whereas, if I am understanding ray's description, his device was more like a series of pins, or fork prongs, tearing the meat fibers apart from one another without actually cutting them. Ray, is that an accurate description?

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I'm always willing to put things to the test.

Here's the results:

Meat was topside, from same cut. Cooked for 4mins per side on a grill pan; medium high heat. Turned half way through each side to give grid pattern.

Weighed before cooking and immediately after cooking. To be overly fair, I weighed non-jaccarded piece first after cooking.

Weight pre cooking: Jaccarded - 132; non-Jaccarded - 128.

Weight post cooking: Jaccarded - 120; non-Jaccarded - 112.

Weight loss post cooking for Jaccarded - 9.09%; non-Jaccarded - 12.5%.

Weight after resting: Jaccarded - 114; non-Jaccarded - 106

Total weight loss post resting Jaccarded - 13.64%; non-Jaccarded - 17.19%.

Seems Jaccarded was the winner.

Think you may be right Chris.


Edited by nickrey (log)

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I am tempted to use a vulgarity, but I will refrain. My "personal experience" involves weighing before and after, a la Alton Brown. This after I purchased and read McGee's two books, so it was quite a while ago. I am mystified that some people still buy into the searing folk non-wisdom, after so many years of refutations. If one destroys or alters the structure of the meat, sure, the tenderness will increase, but so will the loss of juices. Jaccard or not Jaccard, the effects are the same: do-it-yourself Rustler's.

The point still remains, have you actually used a Jaccard, or are you being "theoretical"?

By the way who said anything about "searing"? We know from all that is written that it doesn't work to seal in juices. But we know from real-life experience that a Jaccard doesn't cause juice leakage. It seems you are conflating two arguments to discredit a true one.

The only mention of searing above was when I mentioned it as a way to kill any surface bacteria. It had nothing to do with "sealing" in juices.

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I was responding to this sentence:

The verdict is that if the meat is not physically altered beforehand, it doesn't matter if searing is used; juices will flow if it's altered (seared or not), and won't flow as much (on unaltered meat) whether it's seared or not.


Edited by nickrey (log)

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I know. I was agreeing that he was entering into an argument that no one made (i.e. searing). I thought maybe Ray mentioned searing because he saw my mention of it earlier but didn't read the context of my post.

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Actually, it was Ray who mentioned it in this context.

The way I read his post he was saying "the Jaccard punctures the surface, it'll leak through the holes and searing won't seal them up".

The various claims that piercing meat while raw is OK, but not while cooking (not OK) are bogus; do not pierce the meat at all, ever, if you are trying to retain juices: personal experience, not theory. Remember, searing does not seal the surface.

...

However, with plain (unmarinated, unbrined, not "Dutched") steak, juices simply don't "leak through the holes".

So any discussion of sealing them (or not) is way off target.

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But credit where credit's due, I think I'll try Ray's idea of blanching the outside of the meat prior to jaccarding it and cooking it sous vide. It seems to make more sense than searing.


Edited by nickrey (log)

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We have done a lot of experiments with Jaccarded meat in the last several years while working on my cookbook.

In short:

1. Jaccard works - as reported back in 2004.

2. The meat loses less juice with Jaccard than if left alone. The intuition that it will lose more is just wrong. There is a very good explanation of this - juices leave meat by contraction from cooking. Jaccarded meat contracts less during cooking and thus wrings out less juice.

3 It is used routinely by high end steak houses. It is rumored to be universal but unless you really check all of them it is hard to say it is every last one. However, it surely is most of them. It is generally done by the meat packer that supplies the restaurant.

4. In addition to steakhouses, all (or virtually all) of the rib eye, ny strip and other cuts at Costco are Jaccarded.

5. Jaccarding does in principle introduce a food safety issue because you are poking into the meat. This could introduce pathogens into the interior. However, this is offset by several other factors. The pathogens don't generally have much time to grow if you Jaccard yourself prior to cooking. The blades are easily cleaned - you pop the thing in a dishwasher. So in practice I don't think that Jaccarding is really anything to be concerned about safety wise.

6. Jaccarding works well with sous vide. Saftey is higher with jaccard + sous vide because you can easily cook the meat to pasteurization level. Plus it helps tenderize tough cuts that you can finish tenderizing with long cooking.

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Anyone experience the problem of the jaccard flattening the meat like a schnitzel? Do you just reform/squash it back into shape? Also how many times do you guys jaccard the meat? I think I go overboard (multiple times on each side in both directions - i.e. from top to bottom of the steak, then left to right, then flip and do top to bottom, then left to right).

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It is almost impossible to tell by looking at the meat itself, because the Jaccard holes close up and you just can't see them. So look at the fat. You can often see the holes in the fat, but you need to look very closely. They are small and are quite inconspicuous.

Note that the big industrial sized Jaccard machine that Costco uses can be used in different orientations. A rib eye steak can be Jaccarded while it is still part of the rib roast, in which case the Jaccard holes are going to be along a different axis. As a result, you may need to look at the edge of the steak, not the top and bottom. Or, you can see the Jaccard holes as linear streaks in the fat when you look at the top and bottom of the steak.

In the case of a beef rib roast, or Spencer roast, you typically see the Jaccard holes in the fat cap.

I have seen this in my local Costco and asked the butcher there about it. He said that all Costco steaks (except tenderloin) and most beef roasts are Jaccarded.

I recently bought some USDA Prime rib eye steaks at Costco and they had been Jaccarded.

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Nathan, that's helpful, thanks. What's the difference between the Jaccard machine and the one that makes cube or minute steaks?

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Totally different!

Jaccard is a set of knife blades. Here is an example of the consumer machine. Here it is in use.

It is very hard to see any difference in the meat afterward - except for a few tell tale marks, usually in the fat. Once cooked you cannot tell the difference.

The commercial Jaccard, or this is similar.

Cube steak machines are very different - they cut mostly through the meat changing the texture totally. The result is very obvious both visually. They can only handle thin meat, whereas Jaccard can go as deep as the blades are long, and typically are used on whole rib roasts.

Cube steak is a VERY different thing.

I didn't understand thing myself when I first encountered the Jaccard - I thought that all mechanical tenderizers were like cube steak - a desperate way to make low quality meat edible. That is also the attitude taken my many of the posts above. The truth is very different. I suspect that some of the people who have posted negatively just haven't tried it - or more likely have tried it many times at steakhouses and just never knew it.

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That is just an error on Mr Brown's part - cube steak has nothing to do with Jaccarding.

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