As you all know, naturally tender cuts of meat tend to be more expensive, and serving meat on a budget can be a challenge. Today, I am going to talk about how to tenderize meat before cooking, which includes cutting, pounding, and marinading. After watching this video, I am sure you will cook perfectly tender meat every time.

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Tip NO.1: Slice the meat against the grain

You’ve probably read in recipes and heard again and again that meat should always be sliced against the grain. What Exactly Is grain? It refers to the direction that the muscle fibers are aligned. Slicing the meat against the grain can shorten the fiber, which makes it easier to chew. In the opposite side, if you cut it with the grain, the fiber is very long and it is quite tough.

Recipe Ex:
Toothpick Beef:
Crispy Sweet And Sour Pork Northern Chinese Style:
Pork Stir Fry with Celery:

Tip NO.2: Use a meat tenderizer

A meat tenderizer helps to break down the dense, tough muscle fibers and the protein that binds them. You just use it to pound the meat until the meat gets a little fluffy. This technique will be good for cooking steak, pork chop, and breaded chicken.

Recipe Ex:
Easy Breaded Chicken Breast Recipe:

TIP NO.3: Marinate the meat correctly

1. Baking soda does an amazing job at tenderizing meat

Baking soda breaks down the meat fiber in a chemical way. I have been using baking soda in many of my videos and it does an amazing job. It alkalizes the meat proteins and makes them hard to bond together which keeps the meat tender when cooking.

How to use baking soda?

If it is a large piece of meat that you tend to grill or pan-sear: Sprinkle baking soda on the surface. Rub it on both sides. Rest it in the fridge for 3 to 5 hours. Rinse the meat several times to remove all the baking soda. Wipe the water with a paper towel. Then you can cook the meat however you want.
If you want to marinate smaller meat pieces: Just add some baking soda directly into the meat with other seasonings. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes before cooking. One important note is that over adding baking soda bring a weird bitter taste. I will suggest no more than 1/2 tsp/ pound of meat.
If you use baking soda in the marinade, it is better not to use anything sour like vinegar, lime juice at the same time. Because baking soda will react with the acid and lose the effect.

Recipe Ex:
Chicken Chow Mein (Stir Fry Noodles):
Sweet and Sour Pork:
Pepper steak:

2. Velveting helps you to create a juicy, tender texture of meat

Velveting is a technique in Chinese cuisine for preserving the moisture of meat while cooking. It is Chinese restaurants’ secret. They use it to create that juicy, velvety texture of meat.
Pre-coat the meat with a mixture of egg white, corn starch, some Chinese cooking wine, and other seasonings for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Then the meat can be stir-fried, which I have done it in my chicken and broccoli recipe; You can deep-fry it which I showed in my Mongolian beef recipe, or you can boil the meat, my spicy pouched beef recipe is a perfect example.
What the velveting mixture does is that it protects the meat fibers, preventing them from seizing up, which leads to the juicy tender meat. This technique gives the meat a starchy layer, which is perfect for recipes that have lots of sauce because then the meat can catch a lot of flavors.

Recipe Ex:
Chicken and Broccoil:
Sichuan Spicy Poached Beef Recipe:
Easy Mongolian Beef Recipe:

3. Some fruits also have the ability to tenderize the meat, such as orange, Pineapple, green papaya.

It needs to freshly grind puree or juice. Long-life commercial fruit product does not work. Using fruit puree or juice as a meat tenderizer adds some freshness and fruity taste to the dish, which is what a lot of people love about.
Here is how I do it: Marinade the meat with whatever seasoning and spices you like. Then add in some freshly squeezed orange juice. Mix it for 5-8 minutes. Refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
If you use papaya or pineapple puree, just rub it on both sides of the meat. Leave it at room temperature. Unlike the acid in the orange juice, papaya uses an enzyme called papain to tenderize the meat which works better at room temperature.

Recipe Ex:
Orange Chicken:

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