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The Science of Meat Tenderization: Best Insights

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Do you know meat tenderizer affect meat? Naturally tender slices of meat are more expensive, making it difficult to serve meat on a budget.

Pounding, scoring, soaking in a marinade, and sprinkling it all over with a powdered meat tenderizer are all options for tenderizing tough meat before cooking. All of these techniques aim to break down the dense, strong muscle fibers as well as the protein that holds them together.

Meat Facts

Muscles are the main components of meat. A piece of meat is made up of muscle fibers bound together by collagen protein filaments. Tenderizing meat involves breaking the long strands of muscle and softening the collagen so that it becomes gelatinous. Meat is tenderized by this soft gelatin, which also adds moisture, making the meat juicy. Tenderizing can be accomplished through physical means such as pounding, or chemically by exposing the meat to acids in marinades and powdered meat tenderizers.

Tenderizer Facts

In most powdered tenderizers, the two main ingredients are papain, found in papayas, and bromelain, found in pineapples. Muscle fibers and collagen webs that hold them together are attacked by both enzymes. It softens the meat and makes it more tender. This is also why raw papaya and pineapple cannot be used in gelatin desserts. Bromelain and papain break down gelatin in the same way they do collagen in meat. Looking for the best meat tenderizer? we have a review you can check.


Tenderizing tough cuts of meat allows you to serve protein-rich meals on a budget. Too much red meat is not good for your cholesterol levels or your waistline, but less expensive meats also tend to be leaner. It is the marbling of fat throughout the more expensive cuts that make them naturally tender, so cooking leaner meats saves calories and fat. Tenderizing meat chemically saves time because many lean cuts require an hour or more of braising – being slow-cooked in a liquid – to break down the tough muscle fibers and gelatinize the collagen.


Monosodium glutamate and large amounts of sodium are common ingredients in commercial meat tenderizers. According to Columbia University’s health advice service, monosodium glutamate is the most studied food additive in America. According to the U.S. government, it is safe for consumption. There have been reports of side effects, such as headaches and nausea from the Food and Drug Administration; however, some people with asthma also report these symptoms. Sodium can contribute to and exacerbate high blood pressure, so read the labels on meat tenderizers before purchasing.

What Makes Meat Tender?

There are many factors that influence meat tenderness. Firstly, you have to keep in mind that meat is just muscle, and that muscles are complex things made up of fibers, fats, and protein filaments normally referred to as collagen.

Tenderness is not an exact science, but can be determined by such things as the age of a creature, the stress it endured both in life and death, and the structure of the muscle, i.e. the amount of collagen present, and the distribution of fat throughout the muscle.

In particular, the last point seems to have a considerable impact on the tenderness of meat. We refer to a cut of meat with a lot of marbling as having a lot of fat running through it. In cuts like a rib eye, this marbling melts when exposed to high heat, and spreads throughout the meat, keeping it moist and preventing it from drying out, which is the cause of tough meat.

How Does Meat Tenderizer Affect Meat?

Naturally tender cuts of meat tend to be more expensive, and serving meat on a budget can be a challenge. There are many ways to tenderize tough meat before cooking it, which include pounding, scoring, soaking in a marinade and sprinkling it all over with a powdered meat tenderizer.


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