Definition: Collagen is the protein that makes up connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments. It is an incredibly tough stuff and if meat has too much collagen it will be tough and hard to eat. However, if collagen is heated for a long period of time at relatively low temperatures (say around 225 degrees F.) it will breakdown into soft gelatin. It is this that is the secret of great barbecue. Depending on the amount of collagen in a cut of meat the time required to make this conversion can be as much as 15 hours. However most collagen will breakdown if held at the proper temperature in as little as five hours.
Also Known As: connective tissue,