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Old 02-13-2012, 04:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
... I've never used a jacard. Think it would handle conch?
It handles tough beef cuts. Should have no issues with conch.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:52 PM   #12
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Will stabbing meat with something like fork tines really get more marinade into the interior? Think about it. Here's the mass of meat sitting in marinade. The marinade will penetrate some small distance into the meat. How far? In an experiment with green food coloring added to the marinade (oil, vinegar and a little salt), it was clear that penetration through the surface after 18 hours was less than 1.8-inch. Some marinade made it into a crevice but only filled the crevice and hardly penetrated into the meat around that crevice at all.
I suspect you may have made a typographic error, and that you meant 1/8-inch rather than 1.8-inch.

Also, I'm curious if this was your experiment or did you read it somewhere?

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My view of poking at it with a fork is about like one of the sillier episodes of CSI where they used resin to mold the shape of a knife blade by pouring it into the knife wound. (Maybe it was the technical consultants' day off.) The wounds don't stay open when the instrument is tapered.
I had to quit watching the show entirely because so much of it is too fanciful, such as your example. Or imagine the top CSI dude driving a Hummer tricked out with red lights and siren... Yeah that's gonna happen...

I wonder if your conjecture is true or not. (I certainly don't know.) It seems to me that many of the tools described above are used to tenderize meat rather than to encourage marinade penetration. I believe that things like a cuber are intended to break the fibers more than anything else. I'm speculating here, I don't know what is correct. It seems logical that you would need some pressure to force the marinade into the holes.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLC View Post
Some thoughts on attacking meat.

Will stabbing meat with something like fork tines really get more marinade into the interior? Think about it. Here's the mass of meat sitting in marinade. The marinade will penetrate some small distance into the meat. How far? In an experiment with green food coloring added to the marinade (oil, vinegar and a little salt), it was clear that penetration through the surface after 18 hours was less than 1.8-inch. Some marinade made it into a crevice but only filled the crevice and hardly penetrated into the meat around that crevice at all.

My view of poking at it with a fork is about like one of the sillier episodes of CSI where they used resin to mold the shape of a knife blade by pouring it into the knife wound. (Maybe it was the technical consultants' day off.) The wounds don't stay open when the instrument is tapered. The jacard strikes the middle ground between the ineffective fork tines and the destructive effect a blunt rod. If you hope to get marinade more than that tiny distance beyond the surface, you're going to have to make significant holes in the meat, cuts that you can see stay open. And something like a jacard that can do enough to mean to tenderize it will also get marinade to the interior. I think it's most true that the jacard did the real tenderizing, and the marinade added flavor.

The best comment I've seen about marinade is to think of it as sauce, because it's not going to go much beyond the surface. But if you want it as much inside as possible, you can't be timid or treat the whole surface or use ineffective weapons.

None of this applies to brining where the correct salt solution can indeed penetrate and cause meat to take up the solution, and an over concentration of salt can pull water out of the meat to it's detriment.
Thanks for sharing this. I find this very interesting. I was always told not to poke any holes in the meat. I can see from previous one that it makes sense not to do it after it is cooking as well. Do you find this applies to all meat and seafood?
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:58 PM   #14
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A steak cuber does in fact break muscle fibers to tenderize meats.

If you use a meat tenderizer (Adolph's), you are instructed to fork the meat after sprinkling on the tenderizer powder to introduce some of it into the meat. I suspect the holes do close up some but it's probably a little better than doing nothing.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:58 PM   #15
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Even if marinade doesn't penetrate the meat, stabbing meat with fork will help to tenderize the meat on its own. Obviously you are not going to marinade a premium cut meat, it just doesn’t need it. But tougher cuts will definitely benefit even if it is only a drop below surface.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:00 PM   #16
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We should start a laughing thread about CSI; there is so much nonsense there
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:02 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by MrsBlueEyzz View Post
I find this very interesting. I was always told not to poke any holes in the meat. I can see from previous one that it makes sense not to do it after it is cooking as well. Do you find this applies to all meat and seafood?
I'm going to tackle this one although I'll admit I'm no expert and I'm speculating a bit, and I might have a misunderstanding of the process.

When you cook meat the heat causes the pressure inside to build up and forces juices out of the tissues and into the spaces between. When it cools down the juices can be reabsorbed. That's why when you take a roast out of the oven you let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

If you poke holes in your meat the juices are going to drain out and drip into your pan, your barbecue flames, or whatever you're cooking in. If you don't poke holes the juices will be retained inside the meat and reabsorbed.

Anybody please correct me if I'm wrong.


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We should start a laughing thread about CSI; there is so much nonsense there
I'll get right on it, partly because it might be interesting, partly to save the current topic from drifting.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:26 PM   #18
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Perhaps I wasn't clear on this.

A jaccard is used to tenderize touch cuts by actually cutting the connective tissue. It is nothing more than a series of knives (well, more like lancets). Depinding on model, there are from 16 to 48 of them. A cuber, as somebody mentioned, tenderizes by breaking the fibers. A fork works by separating them, making it easier for them to break down while cooking.

It's ridiculous for a home-cook to even consider a cuber. They're just too expensive, and would hardly ever get used. I mean, how often does anyone make Swiss steak, for instance. But a jaccard is both affordible and useful.

But, a point thought I had made, is that none of these techniques is either useful or necessary with a good steak, which is a tender cut to begin with. But they're ideal for things like flank steak and other bottom cuts.

Whether any of this has anything to do with how well a marinade penetrates deponent sayth not. But I see no reason to marinate a regular steak in the first place.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:49 PM   #19
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I think the crux of the issue is whether piercing a steak by whatever means is beneficial to marinade penetration. And based on that is the inherent assumption that marinade penetration is good. But is it?

As HF says, nobody is going to use any of those devices on a nice, juicy, tender steak. They are used mainly on tougher cuts to tenderize them. Steak lovers buy tender cuts of steak that don't need that and IMO would probably suffer because of it.

I sometimes marinate my steak and sometimes not. I think what I'm doing is a surface treatment, and maybe to a 1/8 inch depth as suggested in an earlier post. This would be in the area sometimes referred to as the "crust," the part that gets browned as you cook it.

I think it might even be undesirable for the marinade to penetrate the middle which will become the pink, more rare area of the steak after you've cooked it. The crust provides the flavor in each bite and the center provides the juiciness. (IMO) I'm not sure what the marinade is adding here. I think it's just fine to have the marinade season the crust and see no need for it to penetrate to the middle.

Marinades are also used to tenderize meat. I suggest that a more tender cut of meat should be chosen for use as steaks, cuts that are already tender and don't need tenderizing. Perhaps stabbing might apply to roasts but the topic OP says we are discussing steaks.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:11 PM   #20
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Yeah. I did mean 1/8-inch. And I read of someone else's experiment. It was pretty graphic and very clear how far the marinade penetrated. I thought it was striking that it wasn't gradual. It clearly wasn't slowly permeating the mean. After all that time, it seemed to have reached some limit. I guess that might have to do with the specific amount of salt, which was nowhere near brine levels.

Of course, when we're talking about one or another cut of beef being tender or not, we're really talking about whether it can be tender when cooked hot and fast on account of low collagen, usually the lesser used muscles which are understandably not as tough. And those naturally tender cuts get dry and tough with long cooking as they loose water and have little collagen to sort of self baste from the inside as it dissolves.

CSI - The odd thing is that the job portrayed in the show doesn't exist. Well practically. In large agencies, forensic scientists don't do much field collection, crime scene techs just fetch and carry and are low level employees, and neither goes back out and makes arrests. And while in small agencies, you can actually do all of it, you don't have many resources. I actually did have as close as it comes to the TV CSI job. I was a detective, and we have to do our own scene technical work, and I was an analyst in a couple of forensic fields. But you'll not find a serologist chasing crooks or even scraping mysterious body fluids off the floor. Nor does anyone, no matter how big, have the resources to build a huge artificial lightening machine to experiment with a car as the television bunch did.
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