Myth: Acidic Marinades Tenderize Meat.
Fact: In actuality, they can make meat mushy.
To tenderize meat, you have to break down muscle fiber and collagen, the connective tissue that makes meat tough. While acidic ingredients do weaken collagen, their impact is confined to the meat's surface—and if left too long, acids turn the outermost layer of meat mushy, not tender. To minimize mushiness, we use acidic components sparingly and only for short marinating times. Truly tender meat comes down to the cut, cooking time, method, and temperature. Highly salted marinades can also act as brines, helping meat retain moisture and cook up more tender.