With a range of tenderizers and flavors available in the market for food smoking, barbeque connoisseurs still have a soft spot for natural marinades. The reason is simple. These are nutritious, naturally flavored, and promote good health. Besides, they are also easily available in the local market. People don’t have to go grocery shopping with a long list of marinades and tenderizers to make their own tenderizers.
Fruit juice has long been known to tenderize meat due to the presence of acidic enzymes. Pineapple among them is the most commonly used tenderizer that imparts a sweet and tangy tropical flavor to the steak.
Now the obvious questions that arise here are how pineapple acts as a tenderizer and what is the process to use it for tenderizing steaks. To find the answers, read on.
Pineapple as a tenderizer for steaks
Being a fruit, pineapple contains a natural fruity flavor that adds flavor to the food when it is marinated in pineapple juice. However, what many people do not know is pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain that softens muscle fiber. This enzyme reacts with the protein in the meat to break it down and increases the meat’s potential to absorb more moisture. This is the reason why pineapple is one of the most preferred tenderizers.
Using pineapple as a meat tenderizer
Pineapple is mainly used in the form of juice to the marinade to tenderize the meat and add flavor. However, pineapple pulp in minced form can also be used for the same purpose. Here are a few points that should be considered while using pineapple to marinate meat.
Determine the quantity: To marinate a piece of meat in pineapple juice or pulp, take a shallow container and place the meat in it. Now pour the juice or minced pulp on top to cover the meat evenly from all sides. The quantity of the marinade should be just enough to coat the meat from all sides for uniform flavor and tenderness.
Know the soaking time: As pineapple is acidic in nature, the resting time for the marinade should not be more than 12 hours. Soaking the meat in pineapple juice for longer may result in the cooking of the meat in the marinade.
Use the right containers: Due to the acidic properties of the pineapple, the juice may react with different substances like metal containers. It is better to use glass bowls, plastic containers, or Ziploc bags for this purpose.
Leftovers: Sometimes people may be tempted to use leftover pineapple juice or pulp for further marination but that can be harmful. The leftover pineapple from the marinade contains bacteria that are transferred from the meat which can cause food-borne illnesses. However, leftover pineapple juice can only be used after boiling it thoroughly. This boiled juice can be used for spraying or brushing the surface of the meat during smoking.
Hacks for tender succulent smoked steak
Just marination is not enough to get that perfectly juicy steak. It is a part of an entire process that pitmasters follow. We cannot beat the skills and experience of pitmasters here but these simple hacks can help you understand the basics of smoking juicy steaks to perfection.
Use fresh raw meat: Good quality meat has more potential to absorb moisture from the marinade and retain it during smoking. Larger cuts of meat can preserve the tenderness even after smoking.
Temperature matters: Smoking at a consistent temperature helps to prevent the meat from drying out. Also, fluctuation in cooking temperature can result in overcooked or undercooked food.
Use a thermometer: A thermometer can help you know the doneness of the meat accurately. Always remove the meat from the smoker once the core temperature reaches 5 degrees below the desired temperature. This is because the meat will continue to cook in the residual heat to the desired doneness.
Go for a pro smoker: A professional smoker is a pitmaster secret to perfect smoking. For instance, the Bradley Smoker has all the advanced features that can perform most of the tasks associated with smoking automatically. This reduces time and labor so more focus can be on the cooking. The Bradley Smoker has an auto fuel feeder, digital timer, and heat control and provision for hot and cold smoking. The food smoker can work for up to 10 hours with periodic supervision, so no hassle!
Flavor it up with the right wood: Using flavored smoke is an expert trick to further flavor the food. This is why fruity wood like cherry wood, applewood, oak, etc. are preferred for food smoking. Bradley Bisquettes are available in 17 flavors, such as maple, hickory, oak, alder, cheery, whiskey, apple, etc. Bisquettes are used for uniform heat throughout the smoking process.
Don’t serve immediately: Smoking melts the connective tissues in muscle fiber that produces juice. Let the steak rest for a while before serving to reabsorb all the juice to make the meat more tender and succulent.
We have shared some fail-safe Bradley tips & tricks of smoking tender succulent meat here that compliments the information on pineapple tenderizing. We hope these tricks have been useful for beginners to try preparing smoked food at home. For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.