Does baking soda tenderize meat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does baking soda tenderize meat” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not baking soda tenderizes the meat. Moreover, we are going to discuss the different ways that you can use to tenderize your meat and the tips to store meat properly.

So if you have eaten a meat dish in your favorite restaurant and are now wondering what makes their chicken or beef so tender and juicy, what is the secret formula by using which they make their meat taste finger-licking good with a great mouthfeel and a juicy texture, then you need not worry as we are going to tell you that exactly how can you achieve that same tenderness even in your homemade meat dish. 

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Does baking soda tenderize meat?

Yes, baking soda does tenderize the meat. Baking soda is the bicarbonate salt so what it does is to alkalize the meat, raise its pH, and make it difficult for the protein molecules to tightly bind together. Baking soda denatures the proteins present in the meat, thus, it makes the meat juicer and tender. 

So if you want your beef steaks or chicken wings to be tender and juicier, we recommend you to use baking soda for it.

Last but not least you should not mistake the baking soda for baking powder (the one that has additional starch and cream of tartar in it and is used for baking purposes). You can read more about the difference between baking soda and baking powder here.

How to make meat tender by using baking soda?

So firstly wash the larger meat pieces (chicken, beef, turkey, etc.) thoroughly. Now take some baking soda and rub it on the meat. Now once you have properly applied the baking soda over the whole meat, put the meat in the refrigerator and let it stay there for 3-5 hours. Afterward, rinse the meat thoroughly.  Now it’s up to you whether you want to grill the meat or wanna roast it. Whatever your cooking method is at the end you will get meat that is quite tender and juicy.

On the other hand, if you have smaller meat pieces then what you can do is to make a baking soda paste with water. The ratio of all the ingredients should be that for every 12 ounces of chicken you should use ½ cup of water and 1 tsp of baking soda. Now once you have made the baking soda and water paste, add meat in it and let it sit there for at least 15 minutes. Afterward, remove the meat pieces from the mixture and rinse them thoroughly. Now cook it according to your desired method and you will get tender and juicy meat in the end.

What are different ways to tenderize meat?

Brining

Brining is the process that is used to make the meat juicier and to add some extra flavor to it. In brining, we immerse the meat in the water with a little salt, and some herbs added to it.

In the case of brining, the process of osmosis sets in, but as the outer environment is hypotonic in this case (salt is added in a lot of water) so the water moves into the cells of meat and therefore the meat becomes juicier and tender after brining.

It is worth mentioning here that osmosis is the process in which the solvent moves from a point of lower solute concentration to a point of higher solute concentration. The process of osmosis maintains the solute-solvent balance throughout the semi-permeable membranes and this process also plays an important role in the body of living organisms.

Marination

Marination is the process that is done to impart different flavors in the meat. Marination is done by using some acids (lemon), salt, and different spices. The acid degrades the structure of the protein and imparts the flavor of different herbs and condiments that are added to the marination mixture. Moreover, as the acid denatures the protein it also makes the meat tender and juicier.

How to store meat properly?

  1. The meat should be washed thoroughly before storing it in an air-tight container or bag in the fridge.
  2. It is a good practice to store the meat on the shelf of the fridge rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge.
  3. It is best practice to store the meat on the lowest shelf of the fridge to eliminate any chances of its dripping on any other food item.
  4. Refrigerate the meat promptly at or below  40°F. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store your meat at a lower temperature.
  5. If you want to freeze the meat it is better to wrap it in the aluminum foil or freezer bag before putting it in air-tight heavy-duty freezer containers.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “does baking soda tenderize meat” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not baking soda tenderizes the meat. Moreover, we discussed the different ways that you can use to tenderize your meat and the tips to store meat properly. 

Citations

https://www.tastingtable.com/cook/national/baking-soda-meat-tenderizer-cooks-illustrated

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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