HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Is there a standard method for pounding chicken breasts flat?

  • t

It's all pretty much in the subject line. Every time I try to pound a breast, it pretty much turns into a splayed, shredded, uneven lump of raw meat-things. Had better luck when halving the breast before pounding, but even then... Would like to know if there's a standard way to get even, flat, discs of breast. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I always put mine between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound evenly with a rolling pin, turning the paper as I go for to keep it even. My mom uses wax paper.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Novice Cook

      I've only ever pounded chicken for marsala (and only when I'm having someone over who refuses veal) and I usually use thin sliced cutlets. But if I were using breasts I'd cut them in half horizontally (to make them thinner to start with). Then sandwich them between plastic wrap like Novice Cook does. I like to use my heaviest wooden spoon and basically spank the meat until it's flat enough. Since it's a pretty gentle method, I've never had my meat break or shred or lump. It probably takes longer than using a meat pounder tool, though.

    2. I prefer not to use one of those expensive pounders and instead use the bottom of a small to medium pot with plastic wrap to protect the flesh. Hit the whole piece at one time, not side to side, etc.

      1. Whether you sandwich it in plastic wrap, wax paper, or pound it alone on a board, the trick is to be gentle. Yes, you'll have to pound for a little longer, but you won't shred the breast to little pieces.
        I use a very heavy round metal pounder, so that I don't have to put a lot of force into it, thus tearing the chicken. If you don't have a heavy pounder, just use a heavy rolling pin or cast iron skillet. Just raise it above the breast and let it fall...as you get more comfortable, you'll figure out how much force you can add without shredding.

        1. For what it's worth, I'd read somewhere that unlike other (basically mammal) meat, poultry stays more tender when sliced to the desired thickness rather than pounded. I don't know why it works, but I tried it and found it does stay moister than when I used to pound it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MikeG

            It's also a lot faster!

            1. re: MikeG

              I've tried pounding and I've tried slicing. For me, the sliced chicken breast is juicy with an appealing texture whereas for me, pounding makes the meat more like shoe leather.

          2. I use an empty beer bottle.