Can Tough Cuts of Meat Be Tenderized by Long Cooking?

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    Method

    • Tough cuts of meat benefit from being cooked for a long time at a low temperature in liquid. This method is called braising.

    Why the Meat is Tough

    • Tough cuts of meat come from the most used muscles of animals, such as shoulders and legs. These parts of the animal contain large amounts of a protein called collagen, which makes the meat tough and chewy unless it is cooked in a way that breaks it down.

    What Braising Does

    • Braising meat breaks down the collagen and fat and commingles it with the cooking liquid. The meat becomes tender, rich, and flavorful, and it comes with a ready-made sauce.

    Sauce

    • As the collagen breaks down, it infuses the cooking liquid and gives it depth, body, and a certain unctuous mouthfeel. It also causes the sauce to thicken as it cools.

    What Meats Benefit from Braising

    • Any meat that features a lot of connective tissue can benefit from braising. This includes pork, beef, mutton, poultry or any other tough meat.

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