Why Pineapple Makes A Good Meat Tenderizer

Pineapple can be eaten as it is, or enjoyed as an ingredient in upside-down cakes, jams, pastries, fritters, ice cream, or sorbets. It was a showpiece on the dining tables in the homes of Colonial Virginia's gentry. While it may be divisive when it appears as part of a Hawaiian pizza, fans wax poetically about it when it is turned into Disneyland's signature Dole Whip frozen delight. However, you might be hard-pressed to find someone that might enthuse about pineapple being used for something as banal as a meat tenderizer. 

While you might balk at the thought of using a pineapple in such a way, Bradley Smoker states that barbecue fans don't quite feel the same way. Fruit juice can actually present itself as a very good and natural marinade by giving meats an extra tropical kick in flavor. And for this task, it seems as though cooks have a soft spot for pineapples for a special reason.

Pineapple has an enzyme that works to tenderize meat

As Global Research Online points out, pineapple juice does more than just add flavor, it also carries an enzyme called bromelain. This can help the meat become more tender as it marinades because it dissolves collagen fibers. Dole states that bromelain even affects your tongue through the same chemical process, which is why your tongue may feel a bit funny if you've indulged in too much pineapple. 

The best way to use pineapple as a marinade is to take a fresh pineapple and extract the juice, since the pasteurization process used to make commercial juices can also do away with the enzyme that works with the meat, per Leaf TV. Once you've juiced a fresh pineapple, put the meat in a shallow pan and pour the juice on top of it. If the cut is too thick, turn the meat from time to time to ensure the juice reaches all sides. Because pineapple itself is also acidic, you can't keep the meat in the marinade for longer than 12 hours.

When you're planning your next backyard barbecue, don't forget a pineapple for the tastiest meat on your block.