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Old 02-13-2012, 01:25 PM   #1
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"Stabbing" meat to marinate?

I ran across a recipe for a marinade for steaks. It calls for stabbing the steak all over with a fork so the marinade can permeate the meat. I have never done this before. Have any of you? Wouldn't it make the juices run out of the beef?

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Old 02-13-2012, 01:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lyndalou View Post
I ran across a recipe for a marinade for steaks. It calls for stabbing the steak all over with a fork so the marinade can permeate the meat. I have never done this before. Have any of you? Wouldn't it make the juices run out of the beef?
It's OK to stab a raw piece of meat. Just don't do it after it's been cooking.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:42 PM   #3
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It's funny to read this now because I read a recipe that said to stab the steak before marinading and I tried it on Saturday and trust me the steak was still nice and juicy and had soaked up all the flavours from the marinade:) So I would say yes, go ahead and stab!:)
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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Andy's correct. You'll be fine. The stabbing (puncturing) of the meat allows for the marinade to get into the fibers of the meat. You'll have a tasty end product as a result.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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A fork certainly works---so long as it's long-tined. Even more efficient is to take two forks and line them up back to back. Then, holding them by their handles, start stabbing.

If you're going to do this often it might pay to invest in a Jacard. That's a special tool designed specifically for the purpose. There are several knock-off brands available less expensively. Check Bed Bath & Beyond and see what they have.

Technically the process is called "pinning," although many call it jacardding, after the name of the tool. It's usually used to tenderize tougher cuts of meat, rather than tender ones.

But, for only occasional use of this technique, forks work fine.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:32 PM   #6
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They even sell special tool to do the stabbing in the restaurants.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:49 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I'm about to attack that hunk of meat.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:56 PM   #8
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A fork certainly works---so long as it's long-tined. Even more efficient is to take two forks and line them up back to back. Then, holding them by their handles, start stabbing.

If you're going to do this often it might pay to invest in a Jacard. That's a special tool designed specifically for the purpose. There are several knock-off brands available less expensively. Check Bed Bath & Beyond and see what they have.

Technically the process is called "pinning," although many call it jacardding, after the name of the tool. It's usually used to tenderize tougher cuts of meat, rather than tender ones.

But, for only occasional use of this technique, forks work fine.
We have a 48-blade jaccard tool and love it. Have had it for many years. One of the things I like to do is to pierce chicken, pork, whatever, then slip the food into a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag or, better yet, a vacuum sealable bag and put the bag into the freezer.

The food gets a good dose of the marinade AND I don't have to remember to put it into marinade on the day I plan to cook and serve it.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:41 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:52 PM   #10
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"Stabbing" is an absolute must for something like conch for a preparation like cracked conch. If you have a realy good relationship with a butcher, you might get them to run it through the cuber. I've never used a jacard. Think it would handle conch?
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