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Pandora's avatar

Has anyone ever tried steaming left over meat?

Asked by Pandora (31757points) October 16th, 2022
15 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

I’m specifically wondering about drier meats like left over pork or chicken. I usually either bake it again only adding some water on it and wrapping it up to seal in the juices, or microwave it (though I find this often makes the meat tough or it dries out quickly) or I reheat it in the pan on the stove. That one is usually the best but still these dry meats don’t hold well the next day unless you add a lot of fat to it. So I wondered if anyone has tried steaming them to make them as juicy as the first time they were cooked.

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JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t tried it, but it should theoretically work. I usually microwave leftovers that don’t need to stay crisp.

For my husband I take food out of the fridge a half an hour before dinner time so I don’t need to microwave it as long. For myself, I tend to like my meats on the dry side so it’s not an issue.

One option is to use a low fat sauce with leftovers. A red sauce, soy and lime, salsa verde, just to name a few.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes, once or twice. Disappointingly ineffective. It softens up the chicken (in my case) but it blanches out all of the taste. Won’t do it again.

Pandora's avatar

@elbanditoroso Was that boneless, skinless chicken? I wonder because its the worst at holding in flavors no matter what. I never make any to last the next day unless its sitting in some sauce. I think the bones and the skin helps hold in the flavors when cooking.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Steamed no; sous vide yes. Steaming will dry the meat more. Same reason reheating with microwave toughens meat and dries it out.

How do I reheat meat with sous vide? To heat your meat without cooking, place your vacuum bags with food in water that has been heated to just below the original cooking temperature (approx. 2 degrees lower). Smaller portions take about the same amount of time to heat up as they do to cook.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Pandora yes, boneless, skinless

kritiper's avatar

I do it with left-over meat loaf.

Pandora's avatar

@kritiper I tried that with my meatloaf today. It helped make it nice and juicy again after being in the fridge for 3 days. But I figure red meat is easier for steam to penetrate than it may be for those dry meats.
@elbanditoroso Skinless, boneless chicken is easy to lose its flavor unless it was originally cooked in some sort of sauce or marinated very well before cooking. Drumsticks have more fat in them and so does the skin. It helps lock in the flavors better. I always find reheating chicken the next day if it was skinless and boneless to be pretty flavorless.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora If leftover chicken breast is unappealing why not turn it into chicken salad or cut it up and throw it into a different dish or soup? How much chicken do you usually have leftover? Same with pork, you could make pozole or cut up the pork for tacos, stir fry, or to add to paella. When it’s sliced thin or in small chunks it seems less noticeable to me that it’s dry. So many ways to use it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I steamed leftover spareribs. (I know it sounds incredible that I’d have leftover spare ribs.)
It worked great!!!
I put them in a Corelle bowl and put a Corelle plate on top. Then I added a little water to the bowl. I microwaved for a minute, and checked. Then another minute. Then I started hearing the plate shake from the escaping steam. I let it go for about another minute and let it sit while I got my other food ready.
The ribs were perfect!

Smashley's avatar

Left over meat has more limited utility, but think of it as an ingredient, instead of what it was. Tacos, breakfast burritos, pasta sauces, are all good ideas.

If you must continue to be boring, and don’t want to use fat, cut the meat into small pieces and do a quick pan poach.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

You can cook/roast about any meat past the point of where it starts to get dry and tough and it will begin to get soft again like a pot roast. One of the key secrets in making great BBQ is to cook it past that point but not so far that the meat itself begins to break down like in said pot roast. Even if it’s leftovers if it was not cooked to that point you can cook it some more. Ground beef is an exception but it does rehydrate pretty well. That’s why many little hamburger stands (like at a carnival) keep cooked patties in warm water.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Blackwater_Park The low n slow works for BBQ brisket and chuck pot roast because both are high fat content and connective tissue. Chicken breast doesn’t have either. Others have said re-purpose, chopped for salad or tacos, maybe put it iin marinara sauce and put on pasta.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@Tropical_Willie You can still cook chicken beyond that point where it gets soft again and falls apart. Slow yes, low no. If you get that internal temp up to like 185–200 the meat itself starts to break down. It’s not good for much except filler for tacos and stuff at that point like mentioned though.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Well I cook my chicken thighs and drumsticks to 185* F but they have fat and connective tissue.

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