Veal cutlets are a delicious and versatile meat that can be used in a variety of dishes. However, if not prepared correctly, they can be tough and chewy.
That’s where tenderizing comes in. There are several methods to tenderize veal cutlets, from pounding them with a meat mallet to marinating them in milk or yogurt.
In this article, we’ll explore the different ways to tenderize veal cutlets and provide you with a step-by-step guide to making perfectly tender and juicy veal cutlets every time.
So, let’s get started!
How To Tenderize Veal Cutlets?
Method 1: Pounding with a Meat Mallet
One of the most common ways to tenderize veal cutlets is by pounding them with a meat mallet. This method involves placing the cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pounding them until they are thin and tender.
To do this, start by wrapping your veal cutlets in plastic wrap and gently beat them with a meat tenderizer until they become tender and thin. If you do not own a commercial meat tenderizer, you can also use the bottom of a pot or pan to beat your meat.
Also, season your veal cutlets with pepper and salt after being tenderized.
Method 2: Marinating in Milk or Yogurt
Another way to tenderize veal cutlets is by marinating them in milk or yogurt. This method involves soaking the cutlets in milk or yogurt for several hours, which helps to break down the tough fibers in the meat.
To do this, place your veal cutlets in a shallow dish and pour enough milk or yogurt over them to cover them completely. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight for best results.
Method 3: Using a Meat Injector
A meat injector is another tool that can be used to tenderize veal cutlets. This method involves injecting a marinade directly into the meat, which helps to break down the tough fibers and infuse it with flavor.
To do this, prepare your marinade by mixing together your desired ingredients (such as olive oil, garlic, herbs, etc.) and filling your meat injector with it. Inject the marinade into the veal cutlets at several points, making sure to distribute it evenly throughout the meat.
Why Tenderizing Veal Cutlets Is Important
Tenderizing veal cutlets is an essential step in preparing them for cooking. Veal cutlets are a lean and tough cut of meat, which can make them difficult to chew and digest if not properly prepared. By tenderizing the meat, you break down the fibers and connective tissues, making it easier to chew and more flavorful.
Tenderizing also helps to ensure that the veal cutlets cook evenly, preventing overcooking or undercooking in certain parts of the meat. This is especially important when cooking thin cutlets, which can easily become dry and tough if not cooked properly.
Furthermore, tenderizing veal cutlets can help to infuse them with flavor. When marinating or injecting the meat with a flavorful mixture, the marinade can penetrate deep into the meat and enhance its taste.
Pounding With A Meat Mallet
Pounding with a meat mallet is a classic and effective way to tenderize veal cutlets. First, choose a good dishwasher-safe cutting board that can be well-sanitized. Alternatively, you can use wax paper or plastic wrap around the meat to avoid contamination of surfaces.
Next, place your veal cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap and use the spiky side of the meat mallet to pound them. The flat side is for pounding fillets of chicken or veal thin for escalopes etc. If you don’t have a mallet, the bottom of a glass or a rolling pin will work. However, be careful not to hammer too hard as you will crush not just the connective fibers but also the softer meat tissue and end up with mush. You want to pound it firmly so that you get the print of the spikes on the surface of the meat indicating you have penetrated and broken down those tough fibers.
Turn it over and repeat on the other side until you get the desired thinness and tenderness. Remember to season your veal cutlets with pepper and salt after being tenderized.
When pounding meat for cutlets or for tenderizing, a meat mallet often tears the plastic bags or wax paper. To solve the problem, you can purchase a large rubber mallet at the hardware store. Not only does it work great for pounding and tenderizing meats, but it’s also indispensable for breaking apart bags of frozen foods, such as vegetables and fruit, allowing you to get just the amount you need. It’s also ideal for breaking up chunks of ice.
Marinating In Milk Or Yogurt
Marinating veal cutlets in milk or yogurt is a simple and effective way to tenderize the meat. This method works by using the natural enzymes in milk or yogurt to break down the tough fibers in the meat.
To marinate your veal cutlets in milk or yogurt, start by placing them in a shallow dish and pouring enough milk or yogurt over them to completely cover them. You can use either regular milk or buttermilk for this method, but plain yogurt is also a great option.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight for best results. The longer you marinate the veal, the more tender it will become.
Before cooking, be sure to rinse the meat in cool running water and pat it dry. You can also season the cutlets with your desired herbs and spices before cooking to add flavor.
Using A Meat Tenderizer
Using a meat tenderizer is a great way to tenderize veal cutlets. A meat tenderizer, also known as a meat mallet or meat pounder, is a hand-powered tool that is used to break down the tough fibers in the meat and create a more tender texture.
To use a meat tenderizer, start by covering your veal cutlets with a layer of plastic wrap to prevent juices from flying everywhere. Then, using the flat side of the meat hammer, pound the meat in a straight downward motion. This will help to even out and flatten the cutlets.
Next, use the spiky side of the hammer to tenderize the meat. This will further weaken the tough muscle tissue and make it more tender. Be sure to pound both sides of the cutlets evenly.
Using a meat tenderizer alongside a marinade can make the veal cutlets even more tender and flavorful. The marinade helps to infuse flavor into the meat and make it softer and easier to chew. Some good marinade ideas include milk or yogurt, olive oil, garlic, herbs, and citrus juices like lemon or lime.
It is important to note that when using a meat tenderizer, you should always follow proper safety precautions. Keep your fingers away from the spiky side of the hammer and be sure to use a cutting board that is larger than your cutlets to prevent messes.
Brining Veal Cutlets
Brining is another effective method to tenderize veal cutlets. It involves soaking the meat in a saltwater solution, which helps to break down the tough fibers and infuse it with flavor. To brine veal cutlets, start by preparing a brine solution with a ratio of 1 liter of water and 35g of salt for a 3.5% brine. If you prefer saltier meat, you can use up to 50g of salt for a 5% brine. You can also add other flavorings such as spices, herbs, or sweeteners to the brine.
Once the brine is prepared, place your veal cutlets in a shallow dish and pour the brine over them to cover completely. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 to 5 hours. After brining, remove the meat from the liquid and discard the brine. Then, pat the meat dry with a paper towel before cooking.
Brining veal cutlets before grilling or pan-searing helps to keep them moist and tender when cooked. It is important not to overcook the cutlets as they can become tough if cooked to medium or well-done. So, take care to cook them only until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F for medium-rare.
Tips For Cooking Tender Veal Cutlets
Cooking veal cutlets can be tricky, as they can easily become tough and chewy if not cooked properly. Here are some tips to help you cook tender veal cutlets:
1. Bring to Room Temperature: Remember to remove your veal cutlets out of the packaging, pat them dry, and bring them to room temperature before cooking. This ensures that they cook evenly and stay tender.
2. Preheat Your Cooking Surface: Preheat your griddle or heavy-based frying pan until it sizzles when you add a drop of oil. This helps to create a golden crust on the cutlets and seal in the juices.
3. Season with Salt Just Prior to Cooking: Season your veal cutlets with sea salt just prior to cooking. This helps to enhance the flavor and tenderize the meat.
4. Don’t Overcrowd the Cooking Surface: Don’t overcrowd the cooking surface as this can cause the meat to steam instead of sear, resulting in tough and chewy veal cutlets.
5. Cook Over High Heat: Cook your veal cutlets over high heat, turning them only once after a rich, golden crust has formed. Reduce the heat to medium when the crust has formed and continue cooking until done.
6. Add Butter for Extra Flavor: Finish by adding a small knob of butter when frying or on the grill. This adds extra flavor and helps to keep the meat tender and juicy.
7. Let it Rest: Leave your veal cutlets to rest in a warm place for 2-3 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in tender and juicy cutlets.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your veal cutlets are cooked to perfection and turn out tender and delicious every time.