Do You Play With Your Meat?

Inspired by the recent steak thread, I’ve been reflecting on how Costco and other retailers needle most boneless steaks and chops. They do this to tenderize the cut, but needling can also allow seasoning and marinades to go deeper into the meat.

Some home and restaurant cooks refer to needling as "Jaccard"ing, after the brand name of an early and popular hand tool that does it. There are also manual and electric machines that roll the cut, doing both sides at once.

Who here needles, how often, and for what? What do you use?

I have both a triple-row Jaccard and a Microplane roller.

I wouldn’t call it “play.”

When I do my smoked pork shoulder I stab it all over with a sharp knife in my sink before applying the dry rub. Those are deep stabs to the bone, which might play into one’s psycho tendencies I suppose - it’s deeply satisfying :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I generally don’t do this with steaks of any kind, regardless of thickness, as I’m pretty happy with a dry brine and don’t need a lot of seasonings with good quality steak. S&P is all I need.

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It depends. I used to put small amount of baking powder to my beef for stir fry. I do not do it as much (not sure why).
I also needle my pork skin. This is pork belly, and on the top right you can see I have a needling tool.

This help to create more buffy fried skin.

Mine looks like this:
I have to say I do not play with my meat very often.

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OMG that pork belly :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes:

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Thanks. So fat… I can only have 3-4 pieces at a time.

That is the perfect amount. I remember picking up pork belly at Big Wong to take home. The first package barely made it into NJ, as I was feeding my PIC morsels in the car.

I have a jaccard in my Amazon cart. I’m thinking it might help with tough grass fed steaks. Any advice appreciated. Marinades?

You’ll get the hang of it. Resist the temptation to try to puncture all the way through the meat. The pressure required can flatten/spread the cut, perhaps more than you want. Better to flip and do the other side. Cleaning can be bothersome.

3-4 pieces of heaven. I’m buying some this weekend.

Pounding and needling are different processes.

The hammer-style pounders are fine for flattening. Of course they have to be brought down flat, else you can pinch and cut the meat.

I also have one of these somewhere: This style works well, and flattens meat even less than the Jaccard. But it’s harder to use safely.