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You can cut pork paper-thin and it will still cook up a bit tough. There are good reasons for tenderizing cutlets by pounding. It makes for a tenderer cutlet; the pounding breaks up the connective tissues. Tenderized meat requires shorter cooking time and a uniform thickness ensures that each piece of meat can cook at the same rate. 

You will need a meat mallet or tenderizer. Not to be confused with the chemical powder sold as “meat tenderizer”. The meat mallet comes in different shapes, some are stubby, and some come with a long handle. I prefer the long handled tenderizer; it gives leverage so I don’t have to use force pounding the meat. If you don’t have a tenderizer, wash a hammer with soapy water and wipe it dry. You will place the meat between sheets of plastic anyway, as you do not want either the mallet or the hammer to touch the meat. The other reason is you don’t want raw meat particles flying around and attaching to various surfaces in your kitchen. Using a rolling pin to tenderize cutlets is a joke.

You will also need a heavy, wooden cutting board. It will distribute the pressure from pounding evenly, protecting the surface underneath. Never use a plastic cutting board on its own; it will fall apart and worse you will damage your countertop. Don’t pound the meat on a rickety table either, the noise and the movement will be aggravating. A glass table or a tiled surface is much too fragile to pound meat on. Make sure you place your wooden cutting board on a stable, level surface. 

Cutlet Preparation:

  • Place a plastic cutting sheet on the wood cutting board.
  • Arrange as many slices your cutting board accommodates, keeping in mind the meat will spread as it flattens out.
  • Cover the meat with heavy plastic wrap to avoid splatters.
  • Next, pound the meat with the coarse, ridged side of the mallet. Pound it to the desired thickness.
  • Turn the meat over and put back the same plastic wrap. Pound the other side as before.
  • Discard the plastic wrap.
  • For the following batch of cutlets use fresh sheets of plastic wrap.

  • To butterfly a boneless pork chop or vertical slice of pork loin, cut it almost in half through one side, stopping about 1/4 inch from the edge.
  • Open the chop as you would open a book.
  • Place the chop between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it gently with the flat side of a meat mallet to a uniform 1/4 inch thickness.



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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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