It’s distressingly easy to make a mess of boneless, skinless chicken breasts when pounding them thin, tearing the meat. A few tricks will make things go more smoothly.

Pounding to uniform thickness is easier if you begin with a thinner piece of chicken breast. If you have especially fat ones, slice them in half horizontally or butterfly them, recommend hounds. Start pounding the thickest section and work your way to the edges, says blue room.

Zip-top bags and plastic produce bags hold up better to pounding than plastic wrap and eliminate splatter. A bit of water makes a big difference. danna sprinkles the chicken with water, covers it with plastic, and sprinkles the plastic with water before pounding.

What tool should you use? As this CHOW video demonstrates, you don’t need a meat mallet. Hounds use a rolling pin or the bottom of a small cast iron skillet to good effect.

Discuss: Trouble with Pounding Chicken Breasts

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