University of Bristol physicist, Dr. Peter Barham, explains how to cook the perfect Christmas turkey using scientific principles:
Meat consists of muscle fibres, connective tissues and fats. The muscle fibres largely consist of two proteins, myosin and actin. When muscle fibres are heated above about 40ºC the proteins start to denature, the resulting change of shape involves the proteins coiling up. This coiling process inevitably causes some contraction of the muscle. As meat is cooked, so heat flows in and more proteins are denatured. The denatured proteins shrink making the meat progressively tougher. Thus the longer you cook any meat the 'tougher' the muscle fibres will become. (More)
Update from Cheli - "Remember the meat gets tender by having plenty of time to stew in its juices. Read the whole article for the complete story."