Here is a good tip to tenderise meat. Soak in vinegar over night.
If you add a small amount of vinegar when cooking older beef or chicken to make the meat tender and give it a delicious flavor. You can buy all sorts of white wine, red wine vinegar that add a wonderful flavor to meat. I always add about an egg cup full to all my meat dishes.
You can also tenderize your meat by bashing it with a meat tenderizer. To save on mess when using a meat tenderizer, wrap it in plastic and then hit your piece of meat with it. This keeps those small piece of meat from getting stuck in your tenderizer.
The following was sent in by Janice
Another natural meat tenderizer is tea. The meat can be soaked in a strong tea solution. The tea does not have to be brewed an instant tea with water can be used.
Chemical details concerning tenderizing meat.
Jim on 2005-03-25
I would like to know the details of chemical actions in tenderizing meat. What happens to the flesh when you hammer it with a wood or metal tenderizer?
What happenss when you use wine vinigar ... does it break down the flesh, flavor it, what does either have on the time to cook? Don't just say do this or that but WHY chemically!
Tipking says: It is not always advisable to look too deeply into everything in life or we may be starting to wonder why eggs are oval or grass is green. There are reasons for both of these but do we need to dwell on it...
Hammering steak breaks down the structure of the meat and starts the mastication process, Vinegar breaks down fatty part of the meat (I think).
Sometimes we do things because they work and that makes me think of the statement 'If it isn't broke don't fix it!
debbie on 2005-11-28
I soaked my pot roast in vinegar for about half a day, then cooked it in my crock pot. It was unbelievable how well it worked. A+ to you thanks.
Hellstromm on 2008-10-17
>> Tipking says: It is not always advisable to look too deeply into everything in life or we may be starting to wonder why eggs are oval or grass is green. There are reasons for both of these bud do we need to dwell on it...
I have to disagree here Tipking. Had we not looked into why grass is green, we would never have discovered chlorophyl, a pigment vital to photosynthesis, which allows plants to obtain energy from light and the basis to our creation of solar cells. Had we never questioned why an egg is oval, we may never have learned so much about the structural integrity of curved vs flat, and likely never traveled into space or even beyond rudimentary flight.
Having said that, yes... pounding on meat breaks down the toughness of meat by forcing cells to separate (tearing), which is also what mastication does. This also means the meat will be more prone to browning and freezer burn, so only physically tenderize just prior to cooking the meat (and after marinating). If you wish to marinade prior to physically tenderizing, and yet still want the marinade to seep into the meat, use a fork sparingly instead of a hammer liberally.
Vinegar, being an acid, chemically dissolves the membranes surrounding cells, and if left to soak long enough, given sufficient acid, would dissolve the cells themselves (acid neutralizes at a certain point, so it is best not to put too much vinegar in your marinating, should you forget to remove your meat from the marinade. Also, realize not all vinegars have the same acidity, so when trying to determine just what is "the right amount," stick to the same brand/source.
Personally, when I use vinegar to tenderize, i prefer apple cider vinegar (red wine vinegar flavors the meat, but leaves it bitter, while apple cider vinegar also flavors the meat, but leaves it sweet). I then rinse the meat and leave it to soak in a marinade mix for 1-24 hours (depending upon the degree of flavor override I want).
Cooking with vinegar (again, i prefer apple cider vinegar) also works, and at a faster rate than merely storing it, but it will leave you with a slight aftertaste that I don't much care for. I recommend, if you're going to attempt tenderizing while cooking, use either a sweet red wine or apple cider (both of which are mildly acidic, and would thus only marginally tenderize... but they add a nice flavor).