Pounding meat

Again, I am not trying to be vulgar. It is truly the first title that popped into my head.

Another warning: tonight’s blog is not for vegetarians.

For whatever reason, our meat monger at our grocery store is no longer tenderizing their selections of cube steaks as they once had. The first time around, I learned the hard way just how important proper tenderizing of cube steaks can be to a well cooked meal.

When I visited the meat department the next time, I really paid attention to the appearance of the cube steaks and saw they had not been prepared as I was accustomed. So I rang the bell. I never ring the bell. I never make waves, I never ask for my preference, I never upset the apple cart. Enough cliches. Yes, this time I had to ring the bell. I asked the butcher if he wouldn’t mind running the steaks I had selected through the tenderizer once more. I explained my last batch of gravy steaks was a complete disaster, one I had no desire to repeat again. He was very accommodating, and didn’t seem bothered at all that I had called his attention to the steaks.

The next shopping trip and once again the steaks did not appear as tender as they had before. Once again I fought my natural inclination to just grin and bear and rang the bell. As he had done previously, the butcher was very receptive to my request and I left a happy customer with my purchase.

Yep. You guessed it. The very next shopping trip showed that my meat monger no longer took the time to ensure all cube steaks in the case were the softest goodness they could be. I felt bad about bothering the poor man. This had now become a weekly occurrence. I’m sure he had other, more important things to do. So I placed the tough doormat like hunks of meat into my cart and wandered toward the kitchen aides aisle.

I found, much to my surprise, a meat tenderizing hammer. A real one, made of metal with spikes on one side and a flat iron like surface on the other. The last one of this solidity I ever saw was in my mother’s kitchen. That one was cast from one piece of metal, hammer and handle. Mine had an ergonomic shock absorbing handle. Progress. No matter. It was the tool for the job and I planned to use it.

Tonight I had that opportunity. We had country fried steaks. Main ingredient: battered cube steaks. I set the hunks of meat onto my cutting board and gave one solid whack to the first. How barbaric it was yet how liberating it felt. I whacked at the steak more and then the next and then the next, each with a broader smile on my face. When all was said and done, I had tenderized my steaks on my own and let out a little pent up aggression in the process. A win-win if you ask me.

Yes, the steaks came out tender, more tender than they would have had I not pounded the tar out of them. My dinner, not to mention my culinary reputation, was saved.

If you don’t already have one, invest in a metal meat tenderizer. Pound some meat and release some tension. Make a great meal and feel better. Tenderizing, it’s better than…..therapy.

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