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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Salvaging Meat That's Tough or a Bad Cut

Ever cook meat and have it come out looking and tasting like shoe leather?  We have two tried and true ways of salvaging bad cuts of meat or meat that we've somehow flubbed the cooking process. Nothing makes me madder than ruining food, so I am always determined to save it if I can. 

Method #1, crock pot shredding method.  

Works for any type or cut of meat. Place meat in crock pot and cut in chunks to make it fit, if necessary.  We particularly use this if the meat has been cooked but at the end of the cooking process it's tough.  It works especially well for grilled items like steaks, chicken breasts, or pork tenderloins.

Place meat in crock and add enough broth or bouillon to cover it about halfway.  It doesn't even matter what type of bouillon.  Beef, chicken, vegetable... any of it is good.  It doesn't even have to match.  For this process, it's fine to use chicken broth with beef or vice versa.  Cook meat on low for 8 hours.  Shred inside crock pot.  Either add 1/2 bottle of barbecue sauce OR 1 packet of taco seasoning mix.  Allow to cook for another hour or so.  Remove shredded meat and discard drippings/sauce.  This will not have a strong flavor but more of an essence of whatever seasonings you added. 

If using barbecue sauce, then use shredded meat in sandwiches or add to baked beans and use more full-strength barbecue sauce. 

If using taco seasoning, use as meat for enchiladas, soft tacos, flautas, etc.  

Method #2, oven method.  

Especially good for large cuts of meat such as roasts or other thick but less expensive cuts. 

Place meat in a large pan.  Add water or broth, enough to fill halfway.  Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and cook in a 200-250 degree oven for 8 hours.  We usually do this overnight.  

The next morning, this usually comes out tender, juicy, flavorful, and falling apart.  

Meat is too expensive nowadays for it to be ruined and need to be thrown out.  Usually one of these two ways is an excellent way to salvage meat that's just not quite come out how it was expected and is an economical way to get your money's worth! 

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