How To Fix Dry And Overcooked Meat

Make meat edible again with these fixes.

IMAGE Shutterstock

Have you ever had a meal with nilaga or bulalo and discovered that despite cooking the meat until it's tender that it's actually not as flavorful as you thought it would be on its own? Without the sabaw, the meat is not tasty at all.

It can happen to the most experienced cooks. You take a bite of meat and realize it's dry. Dry meat is an indication that the meat has been overcooked. 

If you end up with a dish that has resulted in dry meat, don't worry. There are a few quick fixes to transforming dry meat back to the meat that's moist and tender again. The simple fix is to use water.

Here's what you can do: 

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1 Add a flavorful liquid. 

The quickest way to reintroduce moisture back into your meat is to add a liquid. You can easily do this with water but it's best if you use a liquid that's flavorful. This is because with the evaporation of the moisture that originally was in the meat went some of the flavors, too.

You can get it back by deglazing the pan you originally used to cook the meat, so you can reconstitute those browned bits to return some of that lost flavor back into the meat or you can add a broth. Give it a quick simmer to introduce the liquid back into the meat and help it absorb some of it. Better yet, give it a quick simmer then cover and store it in the refrigerator overnight so it can more naturally absorb the liquid it has lost. 

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2 Thin down the sauce or add a sauce. 

Not all meat that is in a sauce ends up being moist. This is because meat needs time to absorb the sauce you're cooking it in. If it's still moist and tender, the sauce is a delicious pairing to the meat juices. If it's dry, most of the meat juices have oozed out and are now in the sauce it's stewing in. You need to return all that flavor back into the meat, too. 

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This is why stews such as adobo, kaldereta, and even menudo can have meat that should be tender. This might be because you either didn't cook it enough in the sauce or the sauce has reduced too much and much of the moisture has evaporated from both the sauce and the meat. 

Dry meat is commonly less flavorful, too, so if your dish already has a sauce, consider thinning down the sauce. Use water or broth if the sauce is lacking in flavor. Either liquid will help the meat absorb the sauce's moisture and become tender and flavorful again. 

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