Tenderising meat is not advisable as it is better to serve it as it comes.  And if you’re buying meat from a decent butcher, it should not need tenderising.  However, if you are in a situation where you need to tenderise meats quickly, there are a few tips for doing so:

  1. Beat the meat: meat can be tenderised using a mallet or rolling pin to break apart the meat fibres.  Place the meat on a cutting board and cover with cling film. Smack the meat evenly with a hammer or rolling pin (chicken more gently that meat). The meat will soften and you can then cook it as you wish. Most meats contain sinews which can’t be broken down.  Remove these where you can so that they do not make the meat chewy. 
  2. Cut the meat.  Cutting meat across the grain will make the meat more tender, as you’re not fighting with the fibres when chewing.  Cutting the meat into smaller pieces will also help, as well as removing the sinews which can’t be broken down.
  3. Pack with Salt:  Salt is a good breaking down agent and packing your meats in salt will assist in ‘curing’ them slightly, which will also break down the meat fibres.  Pack the meat with salt and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Remove the salt (wash off) and then use.

Join our South African Cooking safari on 11 June. Learn to make delicious meals made from local fare, including a mixture of flavours from African, traditional Afrikaans and Cape Malay cuisines. 

Get the details here.