Pork... and cola?

What exactly does the cola do? I've seen several similar recipes, but I can't figure out what the cola does to the pork. Is it just for flavoring? Does the acidity have some beneficial effect on the meat? (Sorry if the question is silly, but I'm just starting out as a home cook)

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Recipe question for: Pulled Pork Sandwiches


ChefOno April 27, 2012

The cola is just a flavor component, no tenderization function contrary to popular belief.

Braising -- cooking meat low and slow in a moist environment -- works by converting collagen from connective tissue into gelatin and, to a lesser extent, the melting of fat and enzymatic action. As the meat heats up, it toughens and loses all its moisture into the braising liquid. After a time, it will relax, reabsorbing a small amount of what was lost (which by now will be highly flavored by whatever liquid we started with). By any other measure what we end up with is overcooked and dried out but we perceive properly braised meat to be juicy because of the sauce -- dissolved gelatin and melted fat. Yum!


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aargersi April 27, 2012
It's not silly! But you are right on - the cola adds flavor and the acids in it help with tenderizing. It's a great addition so slow cooked, tougher cuts of meat for both of those reasons.
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