Tips & Techniques

A 5-Second Hack for Better Chicken Breasts

Thanks to TikTok, your dinner can now be a winner (winner).

May 15, 2020
Photo by Food52

Chicken breasts are a staple in my kitchen. Crisped up, doused in marinara sauce and mozzarella, poached with milk and herbs—I've cooked them every which way. Normally, the prep is pretty easy (and by prep, I mean taking them out of the package). But there's one thing that's consistently a pain: removing those the stringy, tough tendons.

You know which ones I mean: The unsightly white stuff that just hangs off the cut. Do you carefully try to slice them off, only to hack off hunks of precious meat? Or do you simply ignore them, turning a blind eye to those unsavory bits?

As a lazy cook, I normally do the latter (dousing the whole thing in bread crumbs helps you forget they're even there). But I also couldn't help but watch—first in skepticism, then in awe—as TikTok user Mandy Klentz shared a brilliant hack for extracting them from chicken breasts in five seconds flat.

All you need is a fork and a towel (try a paper towel or something sturdier, like a kitchen towel). Oh, and some chicken breasts.

It's so simple. All you have to do is slide the fork under the tendon at one end of the chicken breast, then using the fork to hold the chicken in place, you grab the end of the tendon with a paper towel and pull up. In one single, glorious motion the chicken is freed from its tendon-y sheath (sorry, gross) and ready to cook with.

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Top Comment:
“I understand how Tik Tok can make a hack widely viewed, however, the easiest way to remove this tendon is by laying the piece of chicken on the cutting board. With a knife in your right hand and a short end of the tendon in the left forefinger and thumb (sorry lefties, just reverse the directions). Then place the knife on the exposed tendon and slide away from the left fingers holding the tendon. I learn this on cooking shows in the 80's. I guess I must be older than dirt.”
— pinkbeach
Comment

If over four million views and 600,000 likes is any proof, I'm not the only one that finds this hack miraculous.

Don't believe me? Give it a watch for yourself. Spicy orange-ginger chicken, pepita-crusted cutlets, and all the piccata you could ever want awaits.

Have you tried this TikTok chicken breast hack—would you? Tell us in the comments below!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Erin Alexander is the Associate Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.

9 Comments

Sally G. May 22, 2020
Please don't publish photos of raw meat on wood.
 
Peggy May 21, 2020
That’s a cool hack but the tenderloin is tender already and doesn’t need It taken out in my opinion
 
Barcham May 21, 2020
Here in Montreal, I have never had to deal with that as I have never found such a tendon in any boneless breast I've bought in our grocery stores. They are always sold fully trimmed here. And I do go through a LOT of boneless breasts, I will be making Greek chicken brochettes tomorrow as a matter of fact.
 
William D. May 21, 2020
It's possible that they've already removed the tenderloin and sold it separately.
 
Peggy May 21, 2020
She is talking about the tenderloin only not the whole breast.
 
pinkbeach May 20, 2020
I understand how Tik Tok can make a hack widely viewed, however, the easiest way to remove this tendon is by laying the piece of chicken on the cutting board. With a knife in your right hand and a short end of the tendon in the left forefinger and thumb (sorry lefties, just reverse the directions). Then place the knife on the exposed tendon and slide away from the left fingers holding the tendon. I learn this on cooking shows in the 80's. I guess I must be older than dirt.
 
Andrew W. May 21, 2020
Maybe it's just me, but I tried doing this several times and could never get it right. I'd end up slicing right through the tendon or filleting off a chunk of the tender too small to make into a chicken finger, but too big to not be upset about wasting.
 
Judith D. May 23, 2020
I'm older than dirt and that's how I do it, but I loved her enthusiasm so much that I will give this technique a try.
 
yep Y. May 15, 2020
I think Jacques Pépin showed this a long time ago