Suppose, your friends are finally coming for a reunion at your home.
It should be as perfect as possible.
You head to the supermarket to grab some pork meat.
When you bring it home, you find that it feels a bit tough or hard rather than soft.
This is the time when vinegar can come in handy and solve your problem in a short amount of time.
If you are asking whether vinegar can tenderize hard pork then my simple answer is “Yes”.
Yes, you can definitely tenderize hard pork to a softer one with the help of vinegar at your home.
Vinegar is a perfect tenderizer for your pork.
A tenderizer can make your pork or any type of meat soft in less amount of time.
The best part is by using meat tenderizers, you not only make the meat softer but also you get more flavorful pork meat after using vinegar.
Now, you might be asking how vinegar tenderizes hard or tough pork meat.
For that to answer, I will provide few scientific facts here.
Vinegar is an acetic acid (5-7%) mixed in water (93-95%).
For any meat to get soft, you have to focus on its protein content.
The mild acid present in the vinegar, reacts with the proteins of the pork meat.
After this chemical reaction, the acid starts breaking down the protein molecules which eventually leads to the pork getting softer after some time.
But remember, the vinegar is tenderizing the pork which means it’s cooking but without heat.
So, you’ll have to stick to the timer, or else, the vinegar will dehydrate the pork; eventually making it even harder than it was earlier.
You should know that apart from vinegar, other household food items like baking soda, brine, yogurt, and even salt can help you tenderize the pork.
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By now you must have understood that vinegar helps you in tenderizing hard pork.
You also need to set a certain timer and not allow this tenderization process to go longer than its stipulated time period.
You can use other alternatives to vinegar as mentioned above if you are not comfortable adding vinegar solution to the meat.
But vinegar is definitely many people’s first choice as it makes the work much easier and more comfortable for us.
I recommend reading this article till the end to understand more details about pork tenderization using vinegar solution.
Table of Contents
- What Exactly Happens When You Put Vinegar on Pork?
- How Long Do You Soak Pork in Vinegar?
- What Does Soaking Meat in Vinegar Do?
- Can You Marinate the Pork in Vinegar Overnight?
- Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Tenderize Pork Meat?
What Exactly Happens When You Put Vinegar on Pork?
Putting vinegar on pork tends to soften the hard meat.
The mild acid present in the vinegar solution is responsible to break the bonds of the proteins of the pork meat.
This eventually makes the pork soft or tender.
But it is suggested that you should add vinegar to the brine.
Before I answer the “why”, you should know what brine is.
It’s nothing but seasoned saltwater.
It adds flavor to the meat and increases its moisture.
Now, the reason why you should add vinegar to brine is related to the dehydration of the tender pork.
Vinegar will break the protein bonds indeed but after a particular time period, it will start dehydrating the pork.
This means the pork meat starts to get tough after some time if you don’t stop this tenderization process.
To prevent this, you should use brine.
You should add 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a cup of water (or brine).
You can make more but I suggest you keep the same ratio whenever you add more brine or water.
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How Long Do You Soak Pork in Vinegar?
Once you’ve made the solution of vinegar and brine in the right composition, it is time to set the clock.
But, for how long?
It all depends on what type of pork meat you are going to consume.
If you’re going to cook pork ribs, it’s better to put it for 20-30 minutes (considering it is only vinegar).
But, you can keep pork soaking in the vinegar solution for a bit longer period if other ingredients are also added to the vinegar solution.
Otherwise, you can keep it in the marinade for 1 hour or 2 hours max.
This will make the pork juicier and tender.
But remember what I told you earlier in this article about not keeping pork in the vinegar solution for longer periods.
If you keep it overnight in the vinegar (or solution) then, by the morning it loses most of its moisture.
After that, it can be turned into a jelly-like texture in grey color.
But, there’s a brighter side to it.
You can still cook it but you may have to be a bit careful this time.
If you jump onto its taste, you may find the taste of vinegar but overall, it’ll be a satisfying one.
What Does Soaking Meat in Vinegar Do?
Vinegar is one of the best options to tender or marinate your meat for sure.
And you might have heard a lot of times that vinegar tends to be as good as other tenderizers such as yogurt and baking soda.
Also, vinegar is good for your meat as it reduces the growth of bacteria by a great margin.
But the question is, what does vinegar do actually do when we marinade the meat in the vinegar solution.
It is quite simple to understand.
Vinegar is a mild acid that gets on the surface of the meat and starts breaking the protein bonds.
In a way, this loosens the meat eventually making the meat softer in the process.
A word of caution, extending the 2-hour limit may make your meat tough again.
The reason is that the vinegar starts taking out the moisture which means it begins the dehydration process of the meat.
Hence, the meat again becomes tough once the 2-hour threshold is crossed.
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Can You Marinate the Pork in Vinegar Overnight?
My answer is “No” if you don’t store your meat properly in the fridge.
Usually, you should not marinate your pork meat in the vinegar solution for a full night time.
You should marinate the pork in vinegar for at max 2 hours or a bit longer.
This is considered the optimum time to marinate the meat in the vinegar solution.
But if you want, you may go ahead and marinate the pork overnight.
You can try this method but it should be kept in a refrigerator with proper airtight bag.
Keep it in a sealed bag, keep the pork and add ingredients like sauce, garlic, apple cider vinegar, salt, etc. to the meat first.
Then, the pork can be marinated for as long as 48 hours.
But try not to extend this period otherwise the meat can get dull.
Also, tight sealing is important or it may ruin the pork quickly.
The reason is bacteria that may be present around it.
That pork could eventually lose the remaining texture and can become mushy if you don’t use air tight bag.
I highly recommend you to use airtight vacuum sealer bags to store your meat in the freezer.
Click Here to Get FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer Bag for Proper Meat Storage.
Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Tenderize Pork Meat?
Yes, you can do that.
Indeed, you can use apple cider vinegar as a pork meat tenderizer.
It is just as good as vinegar but probably a bit better.
Not only apple cider vinegar tenderizes the pork but it also gives it a good taste.
Furthermore, it acts as a great bactericide.
This means that it will reduce further growth of bacteria in the pork meat.
Plus, if you can then, you should always add spices, chopped garlic, rosemary, etc. in this solution.
This will make you a decent marinade which will bring out an amazing flavor from the pork.
But just like vinegar, remember not to exceed the time limit or it won’t taste good and it might also become hard later on.
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