How to Make Lean Meats Tasty

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There's good news for health-conscious meat lovers -- you can enjoy heart-friendly leaner varieties without having to choke down your meal for survival. These may be new methods to you, but they won't require very many new tools or techniques.

Fatty meat is dangerous for your circulatory system but your taste buds give it a "thumbs up" because fat, along with salt, excites our oral sensors. It also provides "lubrication" within the meat which makes it juicier and more tender Given less fat, some strategy must be used to compensate. The goal is to achieve taste enhancement and tenderizing of traditionally less appealing cuts.

DEFROST: Working with partially frozen product is unpleasant and counterproductive. You can use the microwave to defrost meats or place it in a large Ziploc bag inside a pan and fill it with cool water. The microwave method is preferable when time is an issue. If you're planning ahead, allow meats to thaw out in the refrigerator.

BEAT IT: A little elbow grease comes in handy. A manual meat tenderizer and 50 good "whacks" on each side is a good way to start after which a marinade (below) is recommended to complete the equation. Powdered tenderizers may also be used but read the label and avoid ones containing salt. A combination of the two methods may be helpful on an especially resilient piece of meat.