Meat Tenderisers – Great Kitchen Helper :Turning Tough into Tender !

Meat tenderisers have been used for centuries and play  an invaluable, irreplaceable role in a Cook’s world. From top chefs like  Rachel Ray to down to earth” Mom Cooks ” like me, a real cook cannot do without their own brand of Meat tenderiser.
Why does one use a tenderiser? Apart from the fact that they are generally known to improve texture and taste, they also quicken cook time which I personally  think is one of the most compelling reasons to use them. With all the buzz about how overcooking meats can release carcinogens , it may not be a bad idea to hasten cook time. The science behind overcooking meats and carcinogens is that a chemical compound called PhIp and HCA ‘s ( hetero cyclic amines)are released under increased heat and has been connected to  cancers. I am not trying to dissuade you from eating meat. I am  a meat lover myself , but exercise some caution especially all of you BBQ lovers out there – tenderising meat by physical methods or marinades may be a good solution to ” Eating what you love “while being safe. Marinating meats in vinegar, yogurt, meat tenderisers, papaya or pineapple juice will break down meat fibers , enhance flavor and significantly cut down on cooking time, thus less exposure to carcinogens.

You can go high tech with electric meat tenderisers  or use hand powered manual  machines or just go with the good ” old fashioned  hammer type of Meat mallet. The hammer type of Meat Mallet has spikes on it’s base which helps break down the meat fibers as you pound  the meat. Personally I think it’s an excellent way to get some frustrations out too, pounding away …. can be therapeutic , like a punching bag!

An easy way to tenderise meat is to use ready made meat tenderisers , great option for those of us who like things easy in a box. A store bought Meat tenderiser will typically have either papain ( enzyme from papaya) or Bromelain ( enzyme from pineapple) , salt and a host of other preservatives. I myself use a papaya based tenderiser that I have created myself with all natural ingredients. I cook a lot of venison which is a tough sort of meat and find  it turns out  incredibly tender and flavorful when I use my brand of  meat tenderiser. I discovered this growing up in India at my grandmother’s home surrounded with papaya trees, when an uncle of mine would just pick raw papaya and throw chunks of it into a meat dish which would always be deliciously tender. I then incorporated it into my “Cook Routine” and found it worked great. I have a created a recipe card that you may print or share with others.

My recipe is simply just blending up green papaya with lemon and some added spices if you wish and then using it in recipes. You may freeze the papaya blend into cubes and use a cube or two when you need to.  Remember the greener the papaya , the more papain power … so pick green and use liberally ! Enjoy !

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For more recipes visit me   Will be downloading some new recipe card soon .
About Sunithi Selvaraj, RD

Registered Dietitian with a sweet tooth and a passion for eating healthy ( quite a combo) Nutrition Geek, Healthy Nut.........


  1. Aw, this was a very nice post. In concept I would like to put in writing like this moreover – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and certainly not appear to get something done.

  2. I think you would make a video of your cook, but I can’t find it in the smilebox 🙂
    In my place, the greener of papaya, the bitter of the taste, in other word, it’s raw 🙁

  3. I got this site from my pal who informed me
    on the topic of this site and at the moment this time I am browsing this site and reading very informative content at this time.


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