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Home Cooking

Baking soda as meat tenderizer?

Professor Salt | Dec 9, 200501:27 AM     25

I'd like to know more specifics of the Chinese technique of using baking soda as a meat tenderizer. It's commonly used on thinly sliced pieces of tough beef and renders them "gummably" tender.

I was eating Korean BBQ the other day, gnawing on some tough, sinewy kalbi. It occured to me that the Chinese method can be applied to thinly cross cut slices of short rib if I try making this at home.

From what I've read, there's two variations of this technique. Method #1 uses a tiny amount of baking soda in a marinade that won't leave an bitter/ salty aftertaste, and the marinade is not rinsed off prior to cooking.

Method #2 treats the meat with a coating of baking soda for a few hours, which is then rinsed off completely, followed by a marination to add flavor. If using this method, how much baking soda is appropriate?

Which method have you used? Will this treatment work on large pieces of meat (whole racks of spare ribs or a 7 bone pot roast, for example), or just thin slices?

A couple of my reference books (The Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin Fei Long, and On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee) didn't mention this at all. Can any of our Chinese cooks (Yimster? Gary?) help?

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