Tips for Tenderizing Meat
1. Beat it with a tenderizing hammer. The reason tenderizing meat in this way works is because by battering it with a tenderizing hammer you are beginning the mastication process and breaking down the cell structure of the meat. A small points here, only use this method of tenderizing meat directly prior to cooking as the meat becomes more susceptable to freezer burn and turning brown.
2. Marinade in an acidic substance such as vinegar or citrus juice – tenderizing meat in this way works because vinegar is an acid and therefore disolves the membranes around the cells and unwinds the long proteins in the muscle. You need to be aware when when tenderizing meat in this way that the vinegar is going to flavour the meat so here’s a couple of quick tips – wine vinegar will leave a slightly bitter taste to the meat whilst cider vinegar will give it a sweeter tang. Armed with this knowledge you can make a decision based on the type of recipe you are putting together.
3. According to eHow, fresh pineapple juice contains a powerful tenderizer in the form of the enzyme bromelin. I haven’t tried tenderizing meat like this but I would imagine a marinade of pineapple would add a sweet, fruity flavour to the dish so ideal for moroccan or caribean dishes.
4. For tenderizing larger cuts of meat, the best method is slow cooking in a moist environment (like a stew or pot roast) over a long period of time.
5. Apparantly baking soda is used in many Chinese restaurants to give a tender, silky feel to smaller cuts of meat. Simply coat the cut meat in baking soda (about 1 tsp per 450g of meat) and work it in with your fingers. Leave for no longer than 15 minutes (you don’t want the baking soda to flavour the meat) and then wash thoroughly.