Does cornstarch tenderize meat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does cornstarch tenderize meat” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not cornstarch tenderizes the meat. Moreover, we are going to discuss different types of tenderizers and the different methods that you can use to tenderize your meat.

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

Does cornstarch tenderize meat?

So when it comes to cornstarch, it does not tenderize the meat. To tenderize meat you have to denature proteins present in the meat and for this purpose, you require an acidic pH while the pH of cornstarch is 7 when it is mixed with water. Thus cornstarch is neutral and does not tenderize the meat.

All that cornstarch does if that it creates a covering all over the meat which prevents the meat from overcooking and drying out. 

What are the different types of tenderizers?

So there are two types of meat tenderizers.

Enzymatic tenderizers

The enzymatic tenderizers are the ones that contain some special enzymes which help in the denaturation of the proteins present in the meat. Most of the fruits like kiwi, papaya, pineapple, and raw ginger are enzymatic tenderizers.

Acidic tenderizers

So the acidic tenderizers are the ones that owing to their acidic content, denatures the protein of the meat. Lactic acid present in buttermilk and citric acid present in lemon juice helps to tenderize the meat owing to their acidic pH. Thus both buttermilk and lemon juice are acidic tenderizers. 

What are the different methods to tenderize meat?

Using tenderizing tools

So if you are not afraid to do some mechanical work then you can surely opt for tenderizing tools having a big bumpy head. They are usually made up of wood or steel and can be used readily in boneless meat. 

So if you have bones present in your meat we recommend you not to tenderize it with the tenderizing tool or else the bones will crush. What you can do instead is to separate the bones from the meat and afterward tenderize it using the tenderizing tool.

So what you gotta do is to lay a plastic wrap on the counter. Place your boneless meat on it and pound the meat with the help of the tenderizing tool till you achieve your ideal meat thickness. Now grill it or fry it and enjoy your tender and juicy 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.

Using dairy-based products

So you can use milk, buttermilk, or yogurt as a marinade to tenderize your meat. While talking about buttermilk, it has lactic acid present in it that denatures the proteins present in the meat because of its acidic pH. So all you gotta do is to make a marinade using buttermilk, salt, and some herbs like cumin, thyme, etc., and keep it refrigerated for a couple of hours or overnight. Afterward, take the meat out of the mixture, cook it, and enjoy your tender and juicy meat. 

Using baking soda

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. All you gotta do is to make a baking soda and water mixture and soak your meat pieces in it for at least 15 minutes. Afterward, rinse, and cook. In the case of the larger meat pieces, you can rub the baking soda all over the meat and let it stay in the fridge for a couple of hours. Afterward, rinse it and cook as desired.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “does cornstarch tenderize meat” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not cornstarch tenderizes the meat. Moreover, we discussed different types of tenderizers and the different methods that you can use to tenderize your meat. 

Citations

https://oureverydaylife.com/can-tenderize-steak-milk-42846.html

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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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