Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baking Soda as a Tenderizer

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Did you know that baking soda can be used as a meat, chicken, pork or shrimp tenderizer? Yes, that's right ... a tenderizer. It's an old trick that is used in many Asian restaurants and was quite popular back in the 50's and 60's of mainstream America.


Ever notice how Chinese restaurants get even the toughest cuts of meat to a level of tenderness no amount of mallet pounding could ever achieve at home? Or how the shrimp has an almost "velvety" texture to it? You can get the same results at home using their secret ... baking soda.

Now, let me make it clear, this works only on small bite size pieces of meats, like for stir-fry, pepper steaks, fajitas, etc.  This is NOT to tenderize a thick steak or a hunk of meat. It just won't work. It will make the surface mushy and that's not a good thing. At least that has been my experience.

After reading this you may ask "so why not just buy a better cut of meat? The honest answer is ... not everyone can afford to buy tenderloin, sirloin, skirt steak or chicken tenderloins, to make a stir fry or in a recipe that uses small strips of meat. I know I can't always spend the extra bucks and quite frankly, I'd rather use those cuts in other recipes.


Here is how to use it effectively:
The ratio is 1 teaspoon for every pound of raw meat.
Sprinkle the baking soda evenly over the top of the meat.  The best way to do this is from way up high, at least 12" above the meat, this seems to coat it more evenly.
After sprinkling, using clean hands, work the baking soda into the meat.
Let it sit to tenderize for 30 minutes. I've found that 30 minutes is the right amount of time. If you go longer the meat will be too soft, almost mushy.
This part is very important, rinse the meat thoroughly and then rinse it again and then one more time. You want to remove ALL the baking soda.
Pat the meat dry and you are ready to follow your recipe, including any marination time.

What you can use it on:
Any bite-size pieces of animal protein; such as red meat, poultry, seafood etc.

Why it works:
Without a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo, simply put, it breaks down the protein as the meat takes it in.


15 comments:

  1. It works really well and I love this pic. Very cool angle!

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  2. Replies
    1. Can the baking soda be mixed in with the marinade

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    2. Hi Julie!
      First thanks for stopping by and commenting. To answer your question, no, do not mix the baking soda with the marinade. The baking soda is to be used first, rinsed thoroughly from the protein and then you can marinade. Hope that answers your question, and let me know if you have a chance to try this method.
      Jackie!

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  3. Hi, have used this for shrimp -- do you think it would work on frogs legs?

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. While I have never personally tried it on frog legs, I can only say the only way to know is it to try. That being said, keep in mind that this method works on small bite sized boneless pieces of protein, so unless you de-bone and cut into small pieces you may have less than palatable results. But if you do try it,I'd love to know to add to the list of cuts you can use this method on.

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    2. Tried it tonight, and find it's an improvement over not tenderizing. Frogs legs can be tough (or a little stringy), and this seemed to improve the texture, even without deboning.

      Thanks!

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    3. Thank you for trying it and letting me know. I will certainly add it to the list and the post itself.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting too :-D

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  4. Hi, I tried this on a "low quality" steak and it had a bitter-baking-soda-ish taste (if that makes sense?) after cooking, so we had no choice but to throw it away. Any advice on how to use this technique on steaks and not get that awful flavor?

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jeighmeeh;

      This method does not work on steak, it works on small bite size pieces of protein (meat, chicken, pork, fish, springs scallops etc). If you scroll up to the third paragraph in my post you'll see I specifically mention it there.

      But if you do decide to use it on small bite size pieces of protein, always be sure to thoroughly rinse the protein a few times. This will ensure that all the baking soda is removed. Also be sure to not leave it on for longer than 30 minutes max.

      Hope that answers your question!

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment.


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  5. Tried today. Even a 15 minute bath with soda made the bland boneless skinless chicken pieces soft and moist. My stir fry has never been so good before.

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    Replies
    1. It's a perfect method for stir-fry. Thank you for commenting and I am so happy your stir-fry was so good :-D

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