The Purple Pig Followup
Follow-up questions by rborzenc, regarding post-marination and going calcium gung-ho.
“So hypothetically speaking, marinating cooked meat in milk wouldn’t do much for tenderness on the C1/2 side, since the enzymes would have presumably been denatured by the cooking process?”
“Also, hypothetically speaking, could you get that tenderness by marinating in just a solution of calcium?”
Ideally, it would be correct that marination after cooking would not be effective in terms of C1 and C2, since the activity of these enzymes are dependent on their native tertiary structure, which would presumably be denatured in the marination and heating process. Even if we cook a steak or pork to a rare consistency, and the enzymes are still active in the center of a steak (for example), marination penetration is often times, low.
Would post-marination do anything though? J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats has written a piece about how resting meat works, and I believe we can apply his findings here. If we put a piece of cooked meat into a marinade, it wouldn’t be too far to suggest that relaxation of the muscle fibers as the temperature decreases would not only redistribute the inherent meat juices, but would also absorb some surface moisture (marination). Of course, the marinade should not be too drastic in temperature (not too hot and not too cold), and definitely should not be the pre-cooking marinade. There would be a sanitation issue with such a practice.
To address the question of marination in a calcium bath; doing so would hypothetically oversaturate C1 and C2 with calcium and be able to induce highly tender meat through enzymatic action, but a calcium-only bath would only affect calpains. Calpains are not the only factor in creating tender meat, and tender meat doesn’t necessarily mean flavorful meat. In this study, the use of a calcium chloride solution, in comparison to controls and a marinating solution, was found to not have an effect on tenderness ratings. Surprisingly, the use of calcium increased a peculiar bitter taste. The best ratings were obtained from marination using a seasoning/beef flavoring mix, with or without the additional use of sodium phosphate. Either way, the calcium chloride bath did not shine.
Basically, I don’t recommend you bathe your meat in a calcium bath, and if you want to drizzle a flavorful sauce or vinaigrette on your meat while it rests, go for it.