How to Tenderizers Work on Meat? A Step by Step Guide for Beginners

Last Updated on December 11, 2022 by Cynthia A. Rose

Meat tenderizers are hand-powered equipment used in tenderizing slabs of meat readiness for cooking. So, it is good to have proper knowledge of how to tenderizers work on the meat. Usually, tenderizers soften the fibers in the beef hence making it easier to digest and chew conveniently.

Additionally, tenderizers are useful in the preparation of tough steak, which works perfectly well when frying or broiling the meat. Therefore, in this article, we are going to discuss how these tenderizers work so that you can enjoy preparing your delicious food. If you don’t know, then have a look at it below.

Steps involved in tenderizing your meat

1. Pound the meat into submission

Pounding the meat into submission is a suitable way to tenderize your meat. You can apply a mallet and immediately thump it using a rolling pin, or you can equally use a heavy skillet. Especially when you intend to fry your meat, then using meat mallet is the best method for use. Pounding, therefore, works well on small, boneless steaks and cutlets.

2. Allow long cooking and low

Take more time with little supply heat so that you can break the most stringent cuts down so that to remain with the juicy meat only. Usually, meat consists of long fibers wrapped in a single sheath of collagen. This collagen is a tissue for connection, which, when heated, it shrinks and squeezes the juices out. Therefore, it is good to maintain heat between 160-2050C so that to tender the meat.

You can cook your meat for around 2.5 hours. For slow or long cooking, you can use the method of either smoking or braising using a Dutch oven or slow-cooker to achieve it. Do not overcook it since overcooking will make your meat more robust. Therefore, it is advisable to use the thermometer.

3. Use fruit enzymes

Some fruits come consists of an enzyme called protease, which plays a vital role in breaking down the proteins of the meat. Some of these fruits include; pineapple, papaya, mango, Asian pear, among many others. Once you have these fruits, you can add about two tablespoons of the nuts into a cup of marinade. However, when adding, you should be keen to avoid marinating it too long since it may turn mush.

Usually, fruit enzymes work well from 500 to 700C. You can use thinner cuts when working on these fruits.

4. Dry-age your meat for tenderness

Dry-aging methods usually make use of the enzymes in the meat in breaking the muscles of fibers down, resulting in a more flavorful and tender cut. For proper dry-aging, you can leave it for about 4-7 days in a non-commercial unit of cooling. If you have a refrigerator, the appropriate humidity ranges from 80-85% and the temperature between 33-40oC.

However, in the absence of the refrigerator, you can wrap your meat into some layers of cheesecloth while putting it into a rack of wires, or you can as well put it near your fan where necessary. For instance, beef or pork is the most appropriate to use for dry-aging.

5. Allow the knife to do some chewing on the meat

In order to make the meat tender, you can use the knife to cut the connective tissue. Besides, on the cooked meat, slice it on the grain thinly, allowing the knife to bisect your muscle fibers of the flesh, especially when you want to obtain skirt steaks and flank. Before marinating your meat, you can as well use the knife to cut the raw meat on the outer surface.

6. Add baking soda

Usually, baking soda has the capability of alkalizing the surface of your meat and hampering on the bonds of its proteins hence making your meat tenderer. This method is suitable for many chefs. The process of adding baking soda is appropriate to any cuts; however, it is good to use only the most robust and cheapest cuts since the method affect both the texture and taste of the meat.

When using this baking soda, you can rub your meat with it and dissolve the baking soda into water and immediately add your meat. Allow it to settle for about 15 to 20 minutes. However, it would be best if you did not leave it for long since it does not make it tender. Since the baking soda harms the taste and texture, ensure to rinse it thoroughly.

7. Use salt

Experts say that salt is capable of making your meat more robust but not tenderer. If you allow it for some time, it blasts the proteins from the meat and, at the same time, dissolve the fiber muscles of the tough meat. You can rub some roasts using salts and refrigerate them immediately for around 24 hours before you resume cooking.

The most recommendable way of adding salts involve first, placing your meat on a pan or board and sprinkle the entire surface of the meat with a layer of spices. Turn the meat over and sprinkle the other side too while massaging it slowly. Allow it untouched for some time at room temperature.

The time taken depends on the thickness of the cut. However, you can allow it for 60 minutes in every cut of an inch thickness. Once the time elapses, grab enough water and wash the surfaces of your meat thoroughly to remove any salt particles from the meat.

8. Allow the meat to rest before you cut it

Allow the meat to settle for sometimes without rushing to cut it. Once cut entirely after removing it correctly from heat, you may end up obtaining about 40% of the meat juice.

9. Use an acidic marinade

Some scientists state that marinades play a huge role in adding flavor to your meat without tenderizing it. Besides, the acids may take quite some time before penetrating the meat. So when you have a thicker cut, you should not waste the time of adding a marinade. The appropriate cuts for the marinade are usually thin pieces. Some acids which work best in meat tenderizer include vinegar, lemon wine bear, among others.


Having gone through our guide, we hope that you have got insightful information on how to tenderizers work on meat. Therefore, follow the steps carefully, and you will obtain the best meal out of it. Besides, remember to use a thermometer whenever recording the desired temperature throughout the process.