The Secret to Tender Meat (It's Not Salt)
Updated: Mar 22
Hey y'all...so today I am going to share with you my favourite food secret of all time. Everyone that eats over always comments on how tender and juicy my pork loin roasts are. Sure starting with high welfare pork is ideal, and slow roasting helps, but my real secret was never revealed...until now!
So, Gina...this post is for you!
Drum roll please...my secret is baking soda! Good 'ol bicarbonate of soda.
Cooking is chemistry after all. It is all about making the protein ph elevated and neutralising the acid. Who cares about the how, it just works!
Water and salt brines work too, but take way too long.
This method works in only 15 minutes. The effects do not affect the meat anymore, so if you let it sit in the brine longer, the outcome won't be mushy, waterlogged meat, which can happen with leaving meat in a water and salt brine for a few hours.
This glorious secret is the reason your Chinese takeaway beef is so tender and your Turkish restaurants squid is never rubbery.
This secret is miraculous. I only wouldn't recommend using it on already naturally tender beef, like ribeye or sirloin. It kind of takes on a too soft, strange mouth feel texture. Other than that...the sky's the limit.
The recipe below isn't so much a recipe as a guide. If you add more than I suggest, the results will still be the same.
My method is always a 15 minute baking soda and water brine, followed by a cold water rinse. I then treat the meat as normal. For a pork loin, I start the day before as my marinade (recipe follows in separate blog post) requires a minimum of 6 hours and up to overnight to get the full flavour.
You can of course cook the protein of choice, be it pork, beef, chicken or squid immediately following the 15 minute baking soda brine.
Baking soda tenderizing method/guide per weight
Make sure you cover meat completely with fresh cold water and stir, cover and refrigerate for 15 mins. minimum or until ready to use, but not more than 24 hours.
Lift meat from brine and rinse under cold water.
Prepare as usual.
1 tbsp. (3 tsps.) per kilo (35oz.)
1 1/2 tsps. per pound (16oz.)
Again this is roughly...I honestly just usually eyeball it.