How To Choose The Best Cut Of Meat For A Sizzling Fondue

Fondue? Don't mind if we do! Melty cheese, crunchy vegetables, and soft bread are a winning combination — but add a rich cut of meat to the mix, and now it's a party.

Fondue comes in many different varieties, from the classic Swiss cheese fondue to those made with flavored oils and broths. These oil- and broth-based fondues work especially well with meats, allowing you to cook your proteins directly in the pot (as opposed to cheese-based fondues, where pre-cooking your meat is ideal).

If you're curious about simmering meat into your fondue but overwhelmed by the possibilities, have no fear. While there is an etiquette to eating fondue, there are no rules for choosing meat options. Still, some meats work better than others depending on what flavorings you've already put into the pot. For a safe option that goes well with just about any flavor combination, choose red meat. Beef works especially well, soaking in the flavors of the cooking liquid and providing extra flavoring back into the broth or oil in the process.

The best cut of beef for fondue

Which cuts of beef work best for sizzling in a fondue pot? Fondue liquid is typically kept at a high temperature to ensure fast and even cooking for dipped ingredients, so you'll want tender cuts that won't seize up too much from being flash-cooked in hot oil or broth.

Now isn't the time to go for budget steak, so indulging in higher-price, higher-quality meat cuts such as sirloin, tenderloin, and even filet mignon is the way to go. These cuts are all tender, rich in flavor, and all but guaranteed to stay juicy after cooking.

Can't afford the higher-quality cuts? Don't worry — you can still use cheaper beef with a little prep work. Start the night before and tenderize the cuts with a meat tenderizer, then put the beef in an easy marinade to further soften it. Just be sure to dry off the meat completely before cooking if you're using oil for cooking (otherwise, the hot liquid can spatter).

Any meat can be a fondue treat

Not a fan of red meat, or avoiding steak for one reason or another? You can absolutely use pork, chicken, or even seafood in your fondue instead. For pork, go for pork loin (not tenderloin), which is a thick cut with a little fattiness that will keep it soft in the fondue pot. Both light and dark chicken meat will work, but chicken breast is ideal. And remember that for both poultry and pork, you need to simmer your meat a little longer in the pot until it's fully cooked through — for beef, a little pinkness is ideal in the center.

More of a seafood fan? Seafood can be a delicious addition to fondue. Use shellfish like shrimp and scallops, or cubes of raw fish, and lobster meat will take your fondue to the next level. Firm fish varieties like salmon, halibut, and tuna work best, just be sure to debone your filets before cooking in the pot. Seafood cooks quickly and can overcook easily though, so keep a close eye on your cooking time!