What Are the Best Meats for Fondue?

Fondue is a social and fun way of eating food when entertaining. We traditionally think of fondue pots as brimming with gooey, melted cheese for dipping bread and other delicacies into. However, an oil or broth fondue can be just as enjoyable for cooking cuts of meat.

Sometimes called “fondue bourguignon”, one might guess it hails from France. Vineyard workers, many years ago, found themselves with little time to spare for food while harvesting grapes in the fields.

To cater for this, the owners of the wineries placed pots of hot grapeseed oil in the fields. The workers brought meat from home and could stop and cook small pieces on skewers when they were hungry.

Today, meat fondue is either cooked in oil or a seasoned broth. Let’s look at the best meats for a fondue and how to cook them.

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The Best Cut of Beef for Fondue

The purpose of cooking beef in a fondue is to have it cooked perfectly but quickly. Stewing beef or roasting beef and other cheaper cuts just won’t work. They will not have time to tenderize, and will be chewy.

The best cuts, although generally more expensive, are tenderloin or filet mignon. This will cook to your taste, rare, medium or well done—and remain juicy and tender. Sirloin is another option which can work well.

If you need to use a more budget-friendly cut of beef, you might be able to tenderize the beef by marinating it before cooking. Just remember to drain off the marinade before placing it in hot oil, or it could splatter.

This video shows you how to prepare beef tenderloin for the fondue:

Beef can be cooked in either broth or oil. It can be served with any dips of your choice or a nice, fresh, side salad.

To cook beef in a broth fondue:

  • Trim the fat from the beef.

  • Cut it into about ¼-inch to ½-inch strips.

  • Heat your broth to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Put your piece of beef on a fondue fork or skewer.

  • Place in the broth for between 20 seconds and one minute, depending on your preference.

To cook beef in an oil fondue:

  • Trim the fat from the beef.

  • Cut the beef into ½-inch to ¾-inch cubes.

  • Heat your oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Place a cube of beef on a fondue fork or skewer.

  • Place in the hot oil for between 30 seconds and one minute, depending on how you like your beef cooked.

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The Best Cut of Chicken for Fondue

The best part of the chicken to use for fondue is a skinless, boneless breast. This will cook quickly and won’t have any sinew or fat. It is important when cooking chicken in a fondue to make sure it’s fully cooked. There should not be any pink left in the middle.

Chicken can be cooked in a broth or oil fondue. Serve with simple side items of your choice.

To cook chicken in a broth fondue:

  • Cut the chicken into ¼-inch slices or ½-inch cubes.

  • Heat the broth to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Place the chicken on a fondue fork or skewer.

  • Put it in the hot broth for about two minutes until cooked.

  • Serve on its own or in a bowl with some of the broth.

To cook chicken in an oil fondue:

  • Cut the chicken into cubes measuring between ½-inch and ¾-inch.

  • Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Place your chicken on a fondue fork or skewer.

  • Put it in the hot oil for about one minute, make sure it is cooked through.

  • Serve with a sauce of your choice—sauce recipes for wings are a good option.

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The Best Cut of Pork for Fondue

Pork is another meat that will cook well in a fondue. However, like beef, it needs to be a cut like a tenderloin or a cutlet, which has little fat and no sinew.

Cheaper cuts will be tough and chewy. As with chicken, you need to ensure pork is cooked all the way through before eating it.

While thin strips of pork can be cooked in broth, this meat is better suited to an oil fondue.

To cook pork in an oil fondue:

  • Trim the fat from the pork, leaving a thin layer to add flavor.

  • Cut the meat into approximately ¾-inch cubes.

  • Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Place the pork cube on a fondue fork or skewer.

  • Put it in the oil and cook for between 45 seconds and one minute.

  • Serve with dipping sauces, such as sweet and sour or honey mustard.

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Great Seafood for Fondue

Another good choice for cooking with an oil or broth fondue is seafood. Strictly speaking, it isn’t a meat, but is worth a mention.

You could choose shrimp, lobster, scallops, crab or fillets of fish. Make sure you clean shrimps properly and devein them. Lobster and crab need to be out of the shell. Fish fillet must be “pin-boned.”

Delicate seafood is better suited to a broth, while fish can be cooked in either. Serve with a citrus and green salad for clearing your palate.

To cook fish or seafood in a broth fondue:

  • Cut the fish fillet into ¼-inch strips and clean any seafood thoroughly.

  • Heat the broth to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Place the fish or seafood on a fondue fork or skewer.

  • Put it in the hot broth to cook—one to two minutes for fish. For shrimp, cook until they turn pink. For other seafood, cook until it’s no longer opaque.

To cook fish in an oil fondue:

  • Cut fish fillet into ¾-inch cubes or ½-inch pieces.

  • Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Place the fish on a fondue fork or skewer.

  • Cook for approximately one minute.

Seafood can be served with dips of your choice, such as the ever-popular tartar sauce. A lemony butter sauce could be tasty as well.

Summary

Meat cooked in a fondue is delicious. You can enhance the flavors with marinades before cooking, or serve with a selection of sauces and dips.

Just remember, because they cook quickly, tender cuts will work best. Take a look at your local grocery store for their selection and choose wisely. You and your friends will be gathered around your fondue pot with full bellies in no time.