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My butcher gave me this warning:

Make sure you don't soak your beef in a pineapple marinade, stick to brine. I tried it with pineapple once and I ended up with a paste.

Now seems too incredible (because a beef roast is quite tough), but potentially plausible.

My question is: Will a pineapple marinade reduce a beef roast to paste?

  • You might be able to do it if it's canned pineapple. (as the heat from canning denatures many enzymes, such as the ones that mess up gelatin setting) – Joe Jun 8 '15 at 4:13
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    @Joe But exactly these enzymes are the tenderizing stuff, so using canned (= destroyed enzymes) influences only taste, not texture. Perhaps your comment needs clarifying? – Stephie Jun 8 '15 at 4:20
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Pineapple contains Bromelain, which is "one of the most popular proteases to use for meat tenderizing." Since it's sold as a meat tenderizer, I'd say it really just depends on how long you marinate with it -- it's possible to over-tenderize something.

This warns about over marinating, and mentions recommended times:

The same process that tenderizes steak can also break it down into mush if you marinate it too long in the pineapple, and it'll start distorting the meat's color and taste. For cuts thinner than 1 inch, stick to about 10 to 15 minutes of soak time; for moderately thick steaks of 1 to 1 1/2 inches, marinate for roughly 15 to 20 minutes; and for thicker steaks, marinate for about 30 minutes.

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A roast is too large for a marinade to penetrate to reduce it to a paste. That being said, the outside would be definitely very soft if you leave it in long enough. A thin slice of beef will illustrate this effect better, as it would break down to very small chunks.

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