The Meat Cooking Tip Adam Richman Learned From His Mother​​

From his years battling the country's toughest eating challenges on "Man vs. Food," Adam Richman knows a thing or two about what makes food taste better — but he actually never trained to be in the food world.

An untold truth of Richman's background is that he went to college for international studies before earning a master's degree from the Yale School of Drama. But after scoring the "Man vs. Food" gig and hosting several other shows since then, he could boast that he'd previously worked as a busboy, barback, and even sushi chef (via The Brooks Group). And as of late, he can add historian to that list, as he tells the stories of iconic brands in his show "The Food That Built America" (via TV Insider).

But much of his food knowledge comes from a pretty relatable source. Like many celebrity chefs who credit their mothers with their love of cooking, Adam Richman can thank his mom for an important cooking tip that's stuck with him all these years.

If you want tender meat: Hop on some pop!

In an interview with TODAY, Adam Richman shared one of the most important cooking tips he learned from his mother and generations of cooks in his family: If you're looking for another trick to make tenderizing meat easy, just pop open a can of soda. "My mom would rest a brisket on sliced white onion, and use [ginger ale or Coca-Cola] as both marinade and basting liquid," Richman said. "When I make recipes like short ribs, I very often will use things like root beer, oyster sauce, and Guinness in addition to salt pepper and garlic when I slow cook my meat."

Why does this work? Most sodas are particularly acidic — in the case of Coca-Cola, almost akin to lemon juice (via Epicurious). While this can be harmful to your teeth, it also breaks down meat proteins and creates tenderness in the way a good citrus marinade would. Plus, soda helps to not only caramelize the meat, via Livestrong, but can also imbue flavors of cherry, ginger, sassafras, and more if you get creative in following Adam Richman's mom's advice.