Shredded meat is a key ingredient in many favorite recipes, but if you've ever shredded a large quantity of meat by hand you know that handling hot meat and ripping it apart with bare fingers gets tedious, painful, and just takes too long.
Pulling the meat apart with two forks is simple enough and helps protect the fingers from heat. Using a standard potato masher also works, although the results may not be as pretty. Both of these methods get the job done a little faster than with bare fingers, and neither requires a special kitchen gadget.
However, if you like gadgets or if you do a lot of meat shredding, you may own one of the several utensils created especially to perform this task. There are "claws" and "meat rakes" that come in sets of two for gripping in each hand and ripping the meat apart like a bear, and any number of "pullers" that resemble a lawn aerator that work by twisting the meat apart.
But the cleanest and quickest way to shred meat requires nothing more than a mixer. A handheld mixer on low will work, but a stand mixer with its flat paddle attachment will produce the best results.
Simply put your boneless cooked meat -- chicken, beef or pork -- into the mixing bowl and turn the mixer on its lowest setting. Once the meat has been pulled into large chunks, turn the mixer up one setting faster. In less than a minute, your meat is properly shredded and ready for your recipe.
The next time you're preparing a recipe that requires shredded meat, especially if you are hosting a large party or get-together, try letting your mixer do all the work!