Q&A: Tenderizing Meat

My wife is allergic to wine, even cooked. What can I use to cook/tenderize meat? She is also allergic to tomato(products) eggplant, green peppers and potatoes. (The Israeli national diet.)

Well, there are a bunch types of tenderizing, mechanical and chemical, so you have plenty to choose from.

Mechanical tenderizing is physically tenderizing the meat, either by using a meat mallet, or a pot, or this little gadget on the right here, which is a cross between an comb and a whole punch. [amazonify]B001347JK6:right[/amazonify] It makes dozens of little holes in the meat, and it really works.

Another form of tenderizing is dry-aging the meat, which I discuss in my steak post.

Chemical tenderizing is using some sort of chemical reaction to create a tenderized meat. Cooking the meat for a long time is one way to do it; the meat breaks down over long exposure to heat.

Acid is another popular method. Besides the acid in wine (tannic), you can use vinegar, citric acid/juice, or soy sauce, which is a very effective tenderizer.

Enzymes that are found in kiwis, papayas and pineapple are useful tenderizers, but if you leave them on too long, the meat will start to turn to goo.

Brining meat is also an effective tenderizer.

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