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The goal of a meat tenderizer is to make meat softer and easier to chew. Tough meat is difficult to chew and digest—and it’s unappealing as well. Tender meat, on the other hand, is more palatable, tastier, and chef’s kiss.
How do meat tenderizers work, exactly? The tissue in meat is made of collagen, a type of protein. This collagen (and the bonds between them) contributes to the texture of meat. The more collagen there is in a cut of meat, the tougher it generally is. Examples of tough, high-collagen cuts include brisket and chuck steak.
That’s where meat tenderizers come in. A meat tenderizer is designed to break down the bonds between the collagen proteins, which causes the meat to soften.