How To Make Meat Tender The Easy Way

You can get a little help from this item in the grocery!

Photo by Lazada, McCormick, Badia

Meat is naturally not tender. It's not meant to be, but that doesn't mean it can't become tender. That's why cooking it until it's tender is a task that many cooks want to achieve as easily as possible.   


There are actually a few ways to tenderize meat. Here are at least three ways to do it: 

  • 1 Use an acidic ingredient such as citrus juices like calamansi or lemon juice, fruits that contain enzymes that break down meat, or even soda which contains citrus acid.¬†
  • 2¬† Use a meat mallet to create dock the surface and pound the meat thinly.¬†¬†
  • 3 Use meat tenderizer powder.¬†

You may not have noticed this in supermarkets but there are such things as meat tenderizer powders. You might be wary about adding chemicals to your food that you will eat but if you actually take a look at the ingredients, you may find the words "papain" and "bromelain". Despite these terms sounding like chemicals, these are naturally occurring enzymes derived from fruits. These fruits are papaya and pineapples. Papain is derived from papaya and bromelain is from pineapples.

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Not only are these enzymes are naturally occurring but these are effective in breaking down, or denaturing, the fibers of meat, and make it tender to the bite.

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

How do you use meat tenderizer powder? It's just like sprinkling on a powdered spice or seasoning the meat with salt and pepper: sprinkle it on, toss to coat evenly, and then prepare as usual. You can also prick or pound the meat to help the powder penetrate further than just the surface of the meat. 


It's important to note that this tenderizing powder is best used on cubed meat, not whole cuts such as roasts and a whole cut of pigue or kasim. 

You can find these meat tenderizing powders in major supermarkets and online, in both unseasoned and seasoned varieties, but you can also just use the fruits, too, the next time you are cooking with a tough cut of meat.  

Knorr Meat Marinates Seasoning (454 grams) starting at P200, Lazada and Shopee, McCormick Meat Tenderizer (60 grams), starting at P47, SM Hypermarket, Badia Meat Tenderizer (127 grams), starting P120, Lazada    



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating. 


Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!

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