Cooking With Violence

I'm not sure why, but some people think that in order for something to be "bodybuilding food" it must be bland and tasteless. The more a chicken breast tastes like a piece of surgical tubing the better, right?

Um, no.

Herbs and spices are either calorie-free or have an insignificant amount calories, so there's no reason for muscle-building food to be boring. Here's a way to maximize flavor and texture without messing up your diet plan. It's called the Paillard method.


Paillard (pronounced pie-YARD) is a French culinary term that basically means smashing the ever-lovin' crap out of a piece of chicken or other cut of meat with a specially made hammer. This does three things:

  1. It allows the meat to cook quickly and evenly because it's only one-fourth of an inch thick.
  2. It adds surface area. There's now more room to put herbs and other seasonings, making each bite tastier.
  3. It makes the meat very tender. See, as meat cooks, its fibers naturally contract and get tighter. So when you pound the meat out before cooking it, you separate and spread the fibers. When it cooks, they're not so tight. The result is melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. (Thanks to Testosterone reader SamuraiWannaBe for that last bit of info.)

So, let's introduce Mr. Chicken to Mr. Blunt Force Trauma!

Basic Chicken Paillard

  1. Get some raw chicken breasts.
  2. Get a meat hammer or meat tenderizer. You want one with a flat side that has some heft to it. Got mine for around $10 at Wal-mart. In a pinch, use a heavy pan.
  3. Get some plastic wrap or wax paper.
  4. Slide your bird between two layers of plastic wrap (works better than wax paper in my experience), place it on a hard, solid surface, and smack it with the flat side of your hammer. Work from the outside in. Go for about 1/4 inch in thickness and make sure it's even to insure even cooking.
  5. Choose your seasonings. Tons of options here. I like lemon pepper, which you can get pre-mixed from Mrs. Dash, but try anything.

I usually spray my squashed bird with Pam organic olive oil then pan cook it, but chicken paillard works great on the grill too. Note that cooking times will vary, but will be much shorter than usual.


(Note: I'd just like to point out that I got through three-fourths of this article without a single "beat your meat" or "Wanna touch my meat hammer?" joke. But please, feel free to make up your own as we go along.)


Works great with beef too!


Simple, tasty, and made with love... and violence. Plus you get to go buy a really cool looking weapon and hang it in your kitchen.

Go whack some animal flesh!

Chris Shugart is T Nation's Chief Content Officer and the creator of the Velocity Diet. As part of his investigative journalism for T Nation, Chris was featured on HBO’s "Real Sports with Bryant Gumble." Follow on Instagram