How to Tenderize Meat

Do you prefer your meat tender? Here are some tips to tenderize your meat using household items from baking soda to wine corks. 

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
May 9, 2017


Against the Grain

Here’s a simple tip to make your meat more tender. When it’s ready to slice, make sure to cut it against the grain (look for slight lines on the surface).

Baking Soda

To tenderize tough meat without store-bought tenderizer, use baking soda. Just rub baking soda all over the meat, refrigerate for a few hours, and rinse well before cooking.

Simple Steak Tenderizer

To tenderize a tough steak, salt it generously for an hour before cooking, which will break up tough proteins. Then just wipe off the salt before cooking.

Wine Corks

Wine corks (the natural kind, not plastic) contain a chemical that, when heated, will help tenderize beef stew. Just throw in three or four corks while cooking your stew, and don’t tell anyone your secret!

You Can’t Spell “Tender” without “T”

The tannic acid in strong black tea can tenderize meat in a stew, as well as reduce the cooking time. Just add a half cup of strong tea to the stew when you add the other liquid. It will also give your stew a great brown color.

Intoxicating Tenderizer

Do you tend to buy those tougher, bargain-priced meats at your local supermarket? If so, you can tenderize them without spending extra money on powdered tenderizer. Just let your meat soak in a can’s worth of beer for at least an hour, and that should do the job.

For Super-Tender Pork

When roasting a pork loin, cook it with the fat-side down for the first 20 minutes, which will cause the fat to begin to liquefy. Then turn the roast over for the balance of the cooking time, and the fat will baste the meat.

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