Fondue is one of the most widely enjoyed dishes around.
It is a comforting meal that is best enjoyed with friends and family gathered around to dip bread, meat, and vegetables into a pot of delectable, cheesy goodness.
There are so many foods you can choose to dip into your fondue, too!
But what are the best meats for fondue? The best meats for fondue are red meats, namely beef cuts like tenderloin and sirloin. However, pork, chicken, and even seafood are also great options. Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of personal taste.
Be sure to keep reading as we delve deeper into this question and uncover the best meats to use for fondue and why they pair so well with this cheesy dish.
Meat For Fondue
Most people seem to have a fixed idea of what fondue is: a shared meal made up of small chunks of bread and a pot full of melted cheese.
However, fondue is an extremely versatile dish. There are also alternative ways of enjoying it. For instance, you can replace your dipping bread with your meat or vegetable of choice. You can also replace your melted cheese with oil or broth.
You can even experiment with different kinds of cheeses and mix and match to suit your taste. If you’re curious about which cheeses work best in fondue, we have another article for that.
Dipping meat into fondue dates back to the French vineyards where workers on the fields had to get creative with convenient ways to satisfy their hunger after a hard day’s work.
They would skewer their cuts of meat and cook it in a pot of oil. This specific style of cooking is called Fondue Bourguignonne – which directly translates to beef fondue.
Of course, since its initial conception, fondue has spread far and wide. Along with its growth in popularity comes the explosion of different meat options available to you.
That is why you will notice that people also use pork, chicken, and even seafood on their fondue.
Best Beef Cuts For Fondue
When cooking beef in fondue, you are given significant flexibility and leeway.
For instance, you can use either broth or oil. Whichever way you prefer to do it, remember that you want it done quickly and thoroughly for the beef to come out juicy and tender.
You’ll want to pick the right cuts of beef to achieve the best results. We highly recommend that you spoil yourself and splurge a little by getting the best cuts of beef around.
Our recommendations are:
- Tenderloin – This is an extremely popular cut of beef. It goes by several names. For instance, some people call it an eye fillet. As its name suggests, it is cut from the loin of the beef. This specific cut is usually cooked as a steak because of its tenderness, making it the perfect candidate for your beef fondue.
- Filet Mignon – This is another popular steak cut that would work well in fondue. Its name translates into tender filet. It is also a part of the tenderloin, albeit coming from a smaller end of the cut.
- Sirloin – This is another great choice if you are looking for the best meats for your fondue. Sirloin is cut from the same section of the cow as the T-bone, porterhouse, and club steak. As you would expect, it is extremely rich in flavor – perfect for sharing over dinner.
As with popular steaks, you have a range of options when it comes to cooking these beef cuts. At the end of the day, it will come down to your taste and the way you like your steak cooked.
However, it is worth noting that premium cuts like these are best enjoyed medium-rare, as it gives you the right balance between juicy and tender.
Remember, beef cuts usually used for stewing and roasting might not be the best choice for fondue. This is because the cooking process used in fondue simply won’t give it the time it needs to become tender.
In all likelihood, you will get pieces of meat that are tough and chewy. Of course, while we recommend that you invest in the best possible experience, we also recognize that this isn’t the most budget-friendly list.
That is why it is also worth indicating here that you can still use a cheaper cut of beef for your fondue. However, you must do some prep work beforehand.
This means tenderizing the meat and marinating it overnight. This will reduce its toughness and make for a more enjoyable experience.
Just don’t forget to drain off the excess marinade before cooking it in your fondue oil to prevent any unwanted splattering.
Best Pork Cuts For Fondue
Another type of meat that works well in fondue is pork. It’s not only delicious but also cooks easily enough, especially when using oil. However, unlike beef, pork requires a bit of prep work before you can dip it into your fondue.
The last thing you want is to pick cheaper cuts, as they are often sinewy. They will inevitably turn tough and chewy. The secret is to pick a pork cut that is tender yet also contains some fat.
We highly recommend that you stick to using pork loin. Take note that this is different from pork tenderloin. The pork loin is a cut of meat along the dorsal side of the pig’s rib cage.
It is significantly wider and thicker than a tenderloin. It also has a nice layer of fat on top, making it perfect for your fondue.
We also recommend that you ask your butcher to remove the bones from your pork loin.
While it may seem like a minor difference, believe us when we say that it will ultimately prove vital once you start cooking. Deboning promotes much more even results.
That said, if you are unable to procure pork loin from your local butcher, we recommend that you cut your pork into thin strips. Doing so will make it easier to cook and will guarantee better results down the line.
Best Chicken Cuts For Fondue
This may come as a surprise, but chicken is another great meat option for your fondue. You have the option to cook it in a broth or using oil.
That said, you have a multitude of options when it comes to chicken parts. However, nothing can beat chicken breast. Just make sure to remove the skin and bones beforehand. You may also want to tenderize the meat.
This part of the chicken cooks best because it is pure white meat. This means that it barely has any fat or sinew.
It is important to remember that the basic principles of frying chicken will still apply here. This means that you can’t treat it as you would beef. It must be cooked all the way through. There shouldn’t be any pink spots in the center.
To make everything more manageable, make sure to cut the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. As a rule, you should be working with ¼-inch slices or ½-inch cubes.
Once the oil has reached 350°F, simply place your chicken skewers in the oil. It should come out perfect after a minute of cooking.
Best Seafood For Fondue
To some, seafood doesn’t fall into the category of meat culinarily speaking.
However, it would be a crime to skip over such a broad category, considering that it is perfect for this particular cooking method. Most seafood cooks great in oil and broth.
Listed below are some of the best seafood for fondue that you can try:
- Shrimp – A staple of any great fondue dinner. Just make sure that you clean and devein them properly.
- Lobster – While a bit expensive, lobster will make any fondue dinner that much more special – just make sure to remove the shell first. Because lobster is delicate, it is best to cook it in broth, rather than oil. The last thing you want is for lobster meat to turn tough and chewy.
- Fish Fillets – As you probably know, there is a wide array of fish to choose from. So you are practically spoiled for choice in this regard. However, we highly recommend tuna or salmon, as they are incredibly rich in antioxidants.
There you have it, our picks for the best meats for fondue. While beef offers the best fondue experience, you can never go wrong with pork, chicken, and even seafood. You just have to pick the right cuts!
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