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Oct 22, 2006 03:23 AM

Jaccard use?

I want to pierce holes in the raw rind of a pork roast before cooking it. A friend recommended that I get a Jaccard meat tenderizer. Is this the right tool for this use?

Jaccard meat tenderizer thread -

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  1. I've never seen one of those, but wouldn't a trussing needle do the job?

    1 Reply
    1. re: rootlesscosmo

      It could, I suppose, but I don't relish the idea of poking holes at 1/4" intervals over a 4 square foot surface area. My concern is that the jaccard might poke too deep, whereas I just want to pierce the surface of the skin to break it up a bit.

    2. The Jaccard DOES work, but I don't think this is what you want. It makes a row (or several rows with a large one) of very thin slits that cut through meat fibers. It is intended to tenderize, and is kind of "surgical" at what it does. You won't see any holes in the meat. I was surprised to learn recently that the Jaccard seems to reduce fluid loss from meat - I always assumed that it would tend to dry out the meat.

      Since you seem to want to render fat, rather than tenderize meat, you would need to be very careful about the penetration depth. In this case, I think scoring the fat with a sharp knife would be much easier.

      4 Replies
      1. re: embee

        Thanks for the explanation. That is really surprising and interesting about the reducing fluid loss. Scoring with a knife is a good idea for rendering fat but that's not quite what I want to do.

        Guess I should explain it so that I can get more input. I experimented making pancetta in porchetta yesterday using a 4-pound slab of fresh pork belly, rolled and tied. The skin was nice and crackly after being dried out for 2 days in the fridge. But as is often the case, it was a bit rubbery in places. So, I wanted to try using the Cantonese prepping method to get the airy, bubbly, crispy skin that's much lighter textured and uniformly crunchy. I'm told the way this is achieved is to poke many tiny holes in the skin, also abrading the skin to break the surface, and then rubbing in a slurry of baking powder and salt. Each of the places where the skin is broken expands and puffs up after drying and roasting, so many small holes are best and they don't all need to penetrate to the fat layer.

        So, the penetration depth would be an issue. When I used to sew (as a teenybopper in 4H), I had a toothed tracing wheel to mark patterns. Something like that, if it was sharp enough to break the skin, mighth be what I'm looking for. Any other ideas?

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Do you have an angel food cake slicer - that might do the trick ...

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I've never cooked pork belly, so I can't be authoritative about this. The Jaccard will give you the cuts you want very easily if you can go a couple of inches deep. If you just want to puncture the skin surface, controlling the depth may not be so easy. It will definitely not abrade the skin.

            I don't know if this will help, but I've done a really good Peking-style duck using a bicycle pump and a hair dryer. I'm guessing that the skin is attached too firmly for this method to work.

            1. re: embee

              I'm trying to think of what the downside might be of tenderizing the meat. Pork belly is pretty soft already, but it won't turn to mush. If I can figure out how to make the holes, I was considering scraping the blade of a serrated knife on the skin to scratch it.

              Yes, a hair dryer works great for removing moisture from the skin in a flash. In the case of this porchetta, after seasoning the pork belly and rolling it up, it needs to sit for at least 2 days for the salt and herbs to permeate the flesh, so it gets dry enough. The punching and slurry method I described for Chinese roast pig makes the skin look like rice krispies almost.

        2. could you use an impact tool like a leather punch, nail set or a jeweler's dap (tiny one)? and tailor's or jeweler's hammer? Seems like this would go faster than a skewer.

          8 Replies
          1. re: toodie jane

            Anyone hava a section of a swami's bed of nails I can borrow? (vbg)

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              say, what about those Paper Tiger tools that score wallpaper for removal?
              like your sewing dealie but bigger--you just roll it around in a circular motion and it perforates....not as heavy as a bed of nails, either.


              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Bed o' Nails, handheld model: the Norpro meat tenderizer. Nails imbedded in a plastic stomper. AKA "The Portable Swami Bed".

                Pictured here:

                This works on a different principle than the saber-blades of the Jaccard. The Norpro can be used as a pricker, such as puncturing rind/skin to get some great cracklings, or also as a pounder for any cut of meat. The nails penetrate without flattening the roast or steak.

                I use this on almost every piece of meat. If you do surface spice rubs, and then use the norpro, it will send some of the rub below the meat surface.

                Ordering online is probably easier than asking your local Swami to part with a section of his bed. He would always know that there was a piece of pain missing. Sort of a reverse on "The Princess on a Pea".

                1. re: FoodFuser

                  Super, just shows what meditation can reveal! The EZ grip version is on its way to me now. A little higher priced on Amazon, but I added it onto some other things with free shipping and come out ahead.

                  If you have ideas about making ribollita, the other part of this meal, please post them to this thread -

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Melanie, I am intrigued by your mention of the baking powder and salt rub. It sounds like this is done before the meat is left to dry out for a while. Could you elaborate or give a name for the technique so I can find out more? Your description of the Cantonese crispy skin sounds so good!

                    1. re: LizATL

                      I'll post to Home Cooking once I get the photographs together. As it turned out, I wasn't strong enough to use the Norpro. Even using it with two hands and leaning my full body weight onto it, the "nails" couldn't pierce the pig hide. I think I'll need to try an ice pick the next time I try this. Applying full force to a single sharpened point should give me the pounds per square inch to make the holes.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Here's a cross reference to Gordon Wing's post on the tool he uses to poke holes in the pig skin.