Pork chops are soaked in milk because milk contains enzymes that are very effective in softening meat than other kinds of marinade. The enzymes in milk react with the protein in meat in other to soften the meat muscle fibers. More so, Milk contains calcium which reacts with enzymes to enable the tenderizing of meat.
More importantly, marinating meat in milk brings out a genuine taste in such meat. Milk is also one of the ideal marinades widely accepted in the world.
Milk Products That Can Be Considered As Marinades Besides Milk
Several milk products can be used as marinades apart from milk. Such product includes:
- Yoghurt: This product of milk can be used to marinate pork chops. Although it is not adopted in cooking pork. It gently softens the pork chops leaving them juicy.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk gives more flavor to the pork chop. While the calcium and acidity of the buttermilk make the pork chop more tender.
Surprisingly, buttermilk has some health benefits to the body.
Health Benefits Of Buttermilk
Buttermilk has a lot of health benefits because it contains fewer calories and fat due to the removal of butter from it. Also, it is a good source of calcium, vitamin, and potassium. Buttermilk’s health benefits include:
- It assists in weight loss
Since buttermilk contains less fat and calories, its intake prevents the accumulation of fat in the body. Also, Buttermilk is a good hydrant that keeps one full throughout the day thereby preventing unnecessary cravings for junk foods.
- It helps our immune system
Buttermilk is loaded with vitamins like vitamin B complex and vitamin D. These vitamins help our immunity to grow. Thereby increasing our resistance to diseases and infections.
- Buttermilk keeps the skin fresh and makes it glow
Buttermilk can be said to be a great blessing to the skin. It contains probiotics that help in the elimination of toxins in the body. Buttermilk also contains lactic acid which is good for the skin. It also helps to get rid of blemishes, acne, and skin tan. More so, it keeps the skin glowing as it is an excellent toner and cleanser. More importantly, it delays aging since it brightens and moisturizes the skin
- Helps in the reduction of blood pressure
The presence of potassium in buttermilk helps to reduce blood pressure. Therefore, the constant consumption of buttermilk helps patients with hypertension and heart disease.
- Buttermilk lowers cholesterol level
It helps in the maintenance of our body’s cardiovascular health by reducing the blood cholesterol level.
- It helps to relieve acidity
The lactic acid content in buttermilk helps to normalize the acidity in the stomach.
- Buttermilk is good for bones and teeth
Buttermilk contains calcium which is very essential for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps to prevent bone diseases.
- It helps our digestive system
The lactic acid in Buttermilk helps to improve our body metabolism. It also aids digestion. In addition, buttermilk helps in the maintenance of regular bowel movements. It also helps to prevent stomach infections and colon cancer.
- Buttermilk prevents hydration
Buttermilk contains about 90% of water because it is made from curd and water. Therefore, it is good for the maintenance of water balance in our body thereby preventing dehydration.
- It refreshes the body
Buttermilk cools down the body and refreshes it after intake.
In addition, buttermilk can easily be prepared in the comfort of our homes.
Methods For Preparing Buttermilk In Your Home
There are numerous methods of preparing buttermilk at home. One of these methods includes the addition of lemon juice or vinegar to milk. This method is widely recognized in the west and is used mostly for baking because it makes baked food lighter and creamy.
The mixture of vinegar/ lemon juice and milk is allowed to settle till it curdles.
Another method that can be used is the Indian traditional recipe for buttermilk preparation. Using this recipe, the curd is churned till the butter and the remaining liquid separates from the fat content in the buttermilk. This type of Buttermilk is popularly known as “Mattha” in India.
The most common method of preparing buttermilk is the addition of water to curd. After which it is blended to form a fantastic homogeneous mixture. After the blending process, the spices are added to form the normal buttermilk everyone consumes.
Ways Of Tenderizing Pork Meat
Pork meat is widely known to be tough meat compared to beef and chicken. Due to its though characteristics, pork meat is expected to be cooked thoroughly under maximum temperature before it becomes tender. However, apart from cooking pork meat under a high temperature, certain methods can be used to tenderize pork meat also. These methods include:
- Make use of a tenderizing marinade to cook
Marinades are awesome when it comes to the addition of flavor to meat and the softening of such meat. However, not all marinades contain the correct proportion of acid and tenderizing enzymes needed to break down the protein in meat.
This minor problem can be solved with the addition of acid-containing substances like vinegar, wine, and citrus juices to the marinade. These substances are very common marinade recipes used for marinating pork meat.
Also, tenderizing enzymes can be found in the juice found in fruits. For instance, pineapple contains the bromelain enzyme.
Although too much acid and tenderizing enzymes in pork marinades can cause the meat to become tough and mushy. To prevent toughening of the meat eventually, an acidic dairy product like yogurt is recommended.
- Try brining the pork meat
Brining is quite similar to marinating. It involves soaking pork meat in salty water to increase the moistness and softness of the final dish. However, brining is suitable for cuts of pork like loin chops.
The brine contains salt and water. Although it can contain ingredients to add flavor to the brine. Ingredients like brown sugar and apple cider.
- Make use of a meat tenderizer
An artificial meat tenderizer is another better way to tenderize your pork meat. Meat tenderizers are usually in powdered form or liquid form.
In addition, papain is the active ingredient found in most meat tenderizers. It is the natural enzyme found in pawpaw. Just as with pawpaw, do not make use of your meat tenderizer excessively as this would leave your pork meat mushy.
How To Make Use Of A Meat Tenderizer To Cook Your Pork
When you make use of a meat tenderizer, always ensure you use little quantities of this substance. Now, a little guide on how to use a meat tenderizer to cook your pork.
- Add water to your pork meat to slightly dampen it before cooking.
- After which you sprinkle at least a teaspoon of meat tenderizer per meat pound.
Also note that if you use a seasoned meat tenderizer, it will surely contain salt. So, you don’t need to add salt before cooking your pork
- Make use of a meat mallet
Pork meat is always tough as long as the muscle fibers in the meat are still intact. To break up these muscle fibers and make the meat tender before cooking, you can make use of a meat mallet.
A meat mallet is sometimes called “a meat tenderizer”. It is usually in form of a heavy hammer or mallet having a thorn-like surface used for bashing the meat in other to break its muscle fiber up. However, if you don’t have a meat mallet, you can as well make use of a fork or your bare hands to get the same result as a meat mallet.
How To Cook Soft Pork Chops
After cooking, most people discover that their pork chops dry out and become very hard and flavorless. This is one of the most rampant outcomes of cooking pork chops. It is always overdone thereby becoming hard.
Below are some useful techniques that could help you solve your problems with this tough meat:
- Purchase pork chops containing bone
To get your pork chops, always make sure you go to a butcher. This step alone will make a huge difference in the texture and taste of the meat.
When you want to order, ask for the pork chops containing pink bones that are about 1½ inches thick with little fat(marbling).
The bone will serve as a heat conductor thereby preventing the meat from overcooking. While fat adds moisture and flavor during cooking.
- Marinate pork chops with a little flavor boost
Most people complain that chops are tasteless. To fix this problem, marinate them (pork chops) in acids such as lemon juice or vinegar and spices.
The acid will tenderize the meat and season it from inside. It’s advisable to marinate pork chops for 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
- Ensure that the pork chop is allowed to come down to room temperature after marinating it in the refrigerator.
Also, ensure that that you dry the chops with a paper towel to ensure the removal of the excess marinade to avoid burning later.
- Sear the chops on the stove then transfer to the oven
To get a juicy chop at the end, sear it quickly on the stove before transferring it to the oven.
Searing it will create a layer that will seal the juices in and keep your chops soft during cooking.
The oven finishing is employed to prevent the risk of overcooking.
- Add a little amount of chicken stock
Add chicken stock to the chops from drying out. Adding butter to the top also helps.
- Make use of a meat thermometer
Using a meat thermometer is very important as it would enable you to know whether your meat is done or not. It is also necessary to use the thermometer when the meat is being cooked.
- Let it cool down
Allow the pork chops to cool down for at least ten minutes, covered, before cutting them up.
Ways Of Cooking Pork Chops In The Oven
- Olive oil
- 4 rosemary springs
- 3 garlic cloves
- 750g fresh potatoes
- 3 pork chops
- 500g ripe tomatoes
- Heat the oven to a temperature of about 200c/180c. Then you wash the potatoes but do not peel them. Instead, cut the potatoes into thick slices. Then you cook them in boiling water for about 8 minutes till it’s tender; then you drain the water. Slice the tomatoes thick also. Slice the garlic then you cut the rosemary from its stalk and chop the leaves.
- Sprinkle a little olive oil in the base of your oven dish wide enough to accommodate the pork chops in a layer. Then you arrange tomatoes and potatoes across the dish. Then you season with pepper and salt as you go. Pouring half of the rosemary in it and all the garlic.
- Sprinkle more olive oil over the vegetables and allow them to bake for about 15 minutes then return it to the oven for about 45 minutes until the dishes are tender.
Health Benefits Of Pork Meat
Pork meat is not accepted universally. However, it has a lot of health benefits. It contains nutrients such as vitamins and phosphorus like thiamine. Pork meat is Rich in vitamin B12 and B6 which are very important for healthy brain function and good cell formation.
It is a good source of protein also. So, it Should be very good for the repairs of worn-out tissues. It contains iron especially the heme-iron found in meat. This iron is readily absorbed by the human digestive system. Lastly, pork meat contains selenium which is very good for a healthy thyroid function.
In conclusion, pork is very tough meat to cook. It requires a lot of effort and skills to prepare. However, every information embedded in this article will enable you to overcome the toughness of your pork meat.