The Legendary Meat Tenderizer

The Legendary Meat Tenderizer

Of the many ways to soften tough cuts of venison and other wild game, mechanical tenderizers are the most effective. In fact, liquid and powdered tenderizes often do not work at all, leaving hunters and cooks to turn to other devices when faced with tough steaks from a deer shoulder, neck or rear quarters (or the breasts and thighs from turkey, ducks and geese). The two I have found most effective are cubers, whether hand-cranked or motorized, and the Jaccard Meat Tenderizers.

Although both rely on a similar principal - employing sharp blades to cut collagen and other connective tissues - the end product is very different. Cubed steaks and chops are easily identified by the ultra-soft, almost mushy feel and dimpled surface created by passing between opposing bladed rollers. These cuts are great for flash frying when making chicken- or country-fried steaks, or for stewing in sauce for a short amount of time, hence their name - minute steaks, but they are not ideal when the chef or home cook is looking for a fork-tender, grilled venison steak.

Like a cuber, the Jaccard does use a set of sharp blades, in this case 48 stainless steel knives hardened to a Rockwell of 50, the effect of the tenderizer does not change the appearance of the meat, or overly soften it before cooking. Instead, pressing the Jaccard down repeatedly a venison steak or chop, inserts the thin blades into the center of the meat, slicing all the interior connective tissues. This not only makes the steak more tender, it allows it to cook quicker and reduces its tendency to shrink when cooked because the muscle fibers are severed. I have heard professional chefs say their guests cannot tell the difference between a Jaccard-tenderized round steak and a steak cut from a venison backstrap.

Jaccard Meat Tenderizers are very safe and easy to use. The blades are protected by a retractable, spring-loaded guard that slides out of the way when the knives are pressed into the surface of the meat. When released, the cover slides back over the blades, protecting the user from accidental cuts and greatly increasing the life of the sharp, stainless steel knives. I also appreciate that the Jaccard Meat Tenderizer is dishwasher-safe, making what could be a difficult cleaning job hassle free.

For the wild-game cook, or the homemaker looking to stretch the grocery budget with less-expensive cuts from the butcher, a Jaccard Meat Tenderizer is well worth the investment.

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