The most explosive development in meat tenderization is now being tested on pork.

In fact, the Hydrodyne process literally blasts tenderness into a cut. The technique uses a small explosive to generate a shock wave in a large vat of water. Inside the vat is a container of fresh pork. An acoustical “match” between the meat and water causes the shock wave to tenderize the pork.

The University of Nebraska and the USDA’s Meat Science Lab in Beltsville, Md., conducted two tests with Hydrodyne of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Pork treated by the Hydrodyne process turned out more tender and showed less weight loss during cooking than control cuts.

In a second trial, the Hydrodyne-treated pork was significantly more tender on the day of treatment, one day after slaughter, than the control pork. Allowed to age 40 days, the control pork’s tenderness was similar to the Hydrodyne-treated cuts one day after slaughter. However, aging did not improve tenderness in the shock-treated meat.

“It’s important to understand that one day after slaughter, tenderness of the Hydrodyne-treated pork was similar to the control pork aged 40 days,” says Bernadette O’Rourke of the University of Nebraska.

That says Hydrodyne offers an immediate tenderization process equal to controlled aging. There was no difference in cooking loss between the two types of meat.

The process works only on boneless cuts. Bones prevent shock waves from permeating the meat and providing  consistent tenderization throughout.