Dry rub meat tenderizer is an appetizing way to alter the taste of meat. Tenderizer helps cheaper or tough cuts of meat slice easily and have serving textures that mimic higher-quality cuts. If you’re new to using dry rubs or tenderizer, you may not know exactly how to finish treating the rubbed meat prior to cooking. Whether or not a rub needs to be rinsed off before cooking depends heavily on the ingredients in the tenderizer blend. These can run the gamut from garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt and cumin to exotic additives like dehydrated mango.
Some tenderizer rubs, particularly those used for curing or making corned meat have high salt content. Salt pulls water from the meat while inhibiting microbial growth. It’s recommended that you rinse cured or corned meat because otherwise the only thing you’ll taste in your meal is salt. Where salt is simply an addition to a dry rub meat tenderizer, you need not rinse the meat unless you have health reasons for eliminating sodium.
Sugar appears in dry rub meat tenderizers where you want caramelization. It also balances out any acids in a rub such as vinegar powder, pepper or mustard powder. Unless you do not like a little sweetness in your meat, there is no need to rinse off sugar-based rubs before cooking.
Dehydrated fruit products may also be added to commercial or homemade dry rubs. The dehydrated fruit essences allow for whole new, global flavor profiles in your meal. Additionally, some fruits have a natural tenderizing capacity including pineapple, kiwi and mango. Rub them into the meat as you would any other dry rub. As with sugar-based rubs there is no need to rinse off this mixture before cooking
Commercial tenderizer products appear in most supermarkets. The main problem with these products is that they’re full of chemicals. Some blends leave the exterior of your meat mushy without ever tenderizing the center. As a result, some culinary traditions like those in China use papaya powder and baking soda for tenderizer instead, rinsing this off with cool water prior to cooking. Whether or not you rinse off commercial tenderizer is a matter of personal choice. It does not change the flavor of food.
References and ResourcesTexas A&M University: Texas Barbecue Flavors and Seasonings
University of California: Davis - Application of Meat Tenderizer
Oregon State University: Food Production Enzymes
National Center for Home Preservation – Smoking and Curing
ResourcesGreatest Barbecue Recipes: The Secrets to Great Dry Rub
Recipe Tips: Tenderizing Meat