Tenderize slabs of meat on wooden board
The Unconventional Ingredient Adam Richman Uses For More Tender Meat
By Kalea Martin
Tenderizing meat is no easy task, especially with a tough cut. Some practical methods you can use to tenderize tough cuts of meat are slow-cooking, marinating, or using a meat mallet, and celebrity chef Adam Richman uses one special ingredient in slow-cooking.
The longtime "Man v. Food" host shared with “Today” that he tenderizes his meat by slow-cooking and adding soda, a technique he learned from his mother and grandmother. Not only does this technique work on brisket, but Richman says he does it with short ribs, too, opting for root beer instead of his Coke or ginger ale like his grandmother used.
Soda breaks down the muscle fibers with phosphoric acid and denatures the meat’s protein the same way a marinade does, causing it to become tender. The acidity in soda is comparable to that of lemon juice — 2.7 pH to lemon juice’s 2.
Due to its high acidity, using too much soda in your marinade or letting the meat sit in it for more than eight hours will make it mushy rather than tender. Adam Richman recommends using one can of soda for each pound of meat, which is in line with his grandmother's recipe that calls for four cans of soda — three ginger ale and one Coke — per four pounds of brisket.