How to tenderise meat with mouth-watering marinades

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Tasty and tender meat takes a good marinade. Testing theories behind them in the kitchen shows that it’s a trickier than it seems – but there is a clear winner, says Sam Wong

Humans 7 April 2021

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AS WELL as adding flavour, marinades are supposed to tenderise meat before it is cooked and make it more juicy. There is plausible scientific theory and evidence to back up these claims, but when I tested some marinades, they weren’t all successful.

Salt is common to most marinades, in the main to improve flavour. But it affects texture too, dissolving some muscle proteins. Once salt has diffused into the meat, it draws moisture in from the marinade and ensures less moisture is lost during cooking.

Some marinades include acids such as citrus juice. Acids cause muscle proteins to …

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