Pounding Leads To Tenderness
Here is one of the few times when damaged and broken is a good thing! Take a meat mallet, yup, the scary-looking tool that looks like something the Vikings may have wielded in battle, and literally hammer the meat.
What happens here is that you are breaking down and tearing apart those tough muscle fibers which will make the cooked meat more tender.
Choose a good dish-washer-safe cutting board that can be well-sanitized. Or use wax paper or plastic wrap around the meat to avoid contamination of surfaces.
Seize your weapon and use the spiky side. The flat side is for pounding fillets of chicken or veal thin for escalopes etc. If you dont have a mallet, the bottom of a glass or a rolling pin will work. Just go easy!
Now its important to get the right pressure as you pound. Dont get carried away there, its already dead, no need to kill it again. If you hammer too hard, you will crush not just the connective fibers, but also the softer meat tissue and end up with mush.
You want to pound it firmly so that you get the print of the spikes on the surface of the meat indicating you have penetrated and broken down those tough fibers. Turn it over, do the same on the other side.
Physically Break Tough Muscle Fibers
This is called mechanical tenderizing and there are a few ways to do it. Use a meat tenderizer or small mallet to break tough muscle fibers, by literally pounding the beef . If you dont own a mallet or tenderizer, use a fork to pierce holes into the surface of the beef to help a marinade absorb more quickly. You can also score the surface of the meat with a sharp knife. Simply make shallow slices across the surface of the steak in a crosshatch pattern on both sides. Your cuts will cut tough fibers and also aid in marinade absorption.
How To Tenderize Steak Turn Cheap Cuts Into Prime Equivalents
Here are six popular ways to tenderize steak, to take even the cheapest of available steak cuts and make them feel like more expensive, higher-quality prime steaks than they are. You will be able to find at least one method using things you already have in your kitchen!
In this article, well explain how to tenderize steak, what tenderizing actually is, what it means, and walk you through a handful of different processes.
You want to save money, right?
At some point in each of our lives, weve all tried to make more out of something than perhaps it had a right to be to save some cash. Making a silk purse out of the sows ear, as it were.
Its no different with meat. You might have your heart set on a perfectly marbled Top Sirloin, or a Porterhouse the size of your face. So what can you do if your wallet has something more modest in mind?
With just a little effort, you can get a great meal out of a budget-friendly steak.
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Best Meat Tenderizers You May Check
|Farberware 5211475 Professional Dual-Sided Stainless Steel Meat Tenderizer with Comfort Grip Handle, Standard|
|K BASIX Meat Tenderizer Hammer Tool, Rust Proof Meat Hammer, Heavy Duty Meat Pounder, Comfort Grip Handle, Dual Sided Meat Mallet for Flatten & Pound Beef Veal Lamb Chicken Steak, Dishwasher Safe|
|Checkered Chef Meat Tenderizer Hammer – Dishwasher Safe Metal Kitchen Mallet for Tenderizing Chicken, Beef, Pork & Nuts with Non-Slip Grip|
|Meat Tenderizer, 48 Stainless Steel Ultra Sharp Needle Blade Tenderizer for Tenderizing Steak, Beef with Cleaning Brush,Durable Baking Kitchen Accessories by Ccfoud|
|Spring Chef – Meat Tenderizer, Heavy Duty Hammer Mallet Tool and Chicken Pounder, Solid Aluminum Construction with Chrome Plating, Soft Grip Handle, Black|
|Jaccard 48-Blade Meat Tenderizer, Original Super 3 Meat Tenderizer, 1.50 x 4.00 x 5.75 Inches, White|
|Norpro Grip-EZ Stainless Steel Meat Pounder|
Every chef is accustomed to their methods of tenderizing beef stew, though I will share those that Ive tried and borne results. These methods are not restricted to beef you can apply them to goat, pork, lamb, buffalo, etc.
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How To Tenderize Any Steak Even Cheap Steak Using Kosher Salt
To properly tenderize a steak, lay the steak out on a plate and cover each side with approximately 1 teaspoon of coarse kosher salt or sea salt before cooking. Use your fingers to gently work the salt granules into the surface, breaking down the fibers of the meat.
Let the steak sit with this covering of salt for 45 minutes to an hour. Longer for thicker cuts.
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After the waiting period, use some paper towels to wipe away most of the salt. Then pat your steaks until they are good and dry, so you can get the delicious, crispy sear you want. If you dont pat them dry, youre basically steaming the meat, and steamed meat is bland and less flavorful.
Season as desired, then grill to desired doneness.
Serve and sit back and enjoy the happy faces around the dinner table. 🙂
Do you have a favorite tip or trick for making delicious steak at home?
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How To Tenderise Beef Easily
There are a few methods, but this is the easiest way:
Sprinkle 3/4 tsp baking soda on 250g / 8oz sliced economical beef cuts
Toss with fingers, leave for 30 minutes
Rinse, pat off excess water
Proceed with stir fry recipe. It can be marinated with wet or dry seasonings, or cooked plain. The beef will be really tender and soft, velvet like. Just like in stir fries made by your favourite Chinese restaurant!
Other tenderising methods include marinating in a cornflour/cornstarch sludge then frying in oil before using in the stir fry, chemical tenderisers and egg white marinates. The baking soda method is the simplest for every day purposes and just as effective which is why its the method I use.
Find Meat With Marbling
Since fat melts during cooking, its important to find meat with fine marbling between the muscle fibers. This will allow for tenderness throughout the entire steak once cooked.
Finding well-marbled steak can be difficult. In fact, prime steak has prime marbling throughout the interior of the steak. Since we produce prime beef here at Chicago Steak Company, the quality of our prime is dictated by the interior marbling of our steak, which is very fine and prominent. Then, to bring these steaks from tough to tender, we age our steaks to break down the tough muscle fibers. Not only does this help tenderize the steak, but it also boosts the intense flavors that our customers have come to known and love.
Choosing the right steak is crucial in determining whether or not it will be tender. Everything from the cut, brand, and grade can influence both flavor and toughness. If youre looking for a steak that is guaranteed to be bursting with juicy flavor, then look to Chicago Steak Company. Let us take the hassle out of those disappointing barbeque fails and trust that when you order steak from us, youll be left feeling satisfied when you cut into that first tender bite.
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Tenderizing Meat With Heat
Cooking the meat over low heat for longer periods can help break down the tough muscle fibers and connective tissue. Its an alternative method in meat tenderizing, rather than just using a meat mullet. You can braise, grill, smoke or use a slow cooker to tenderize your meat.As you are aware, meat consists of long fibers surrounded by a sheath of collagen. When heated at 160° F, the layers of collagen will become gelatinous, leaving your meat tender and succulent.However, tendering meat with heat is somehow difficult to hack since you have to maintain the temperature between 160° F and 205° F to prevent the meat from drying out.Even though you can safely cook your tough cuts all day long to make them tender, we do not recommend this since your meat will more likely lose essential nutrients.Tendering meat with heat is ideal for tough cuts such as beef chuck, short loin, shoulder, brisket, rib and butt. This method doesnt work well with filet mignon and pork chops.
Ways To Tenderize A Tough Cut Of Meat
Tough cuts of meat, like chuck roast, brisket, hanger steak, and flank steak, arent just cheaper than their leaner counterparts when cooked just right, they deliver even more flavor. But you wont get any of that flavor without adding a few key steps to their preparation. From a long, slow cook to the power of a brine, here are six ways to get the job done.
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Pound Your Favorite Cut
Learning how to tenderize meat often starts as children in the kitchen with parents who cook. The toughest cuts of steak are often so unyielding that they need to be physically tenderized, like round, skirt, flank, bottom sirloin, chuck, and strip.
You may have thought this pounding was nothing more than breaking down the meat for a classic carpaccio, but the process spreads the fibers to make the steak easier to chew.
Dont be afraid to seek out these tough cuts at the butchers counter. You can pound to your hearts delight and create unique, tasty dishes as a reward. All you need to do is purchase a metal tenderizer from your local store.
These meat hammers have a flat side and a studded side. Use the studded side to break down the meat while pounding it flat. The flat side is an excellent tool to spread it out, cut new filets, and cook these quickly over high heat.
The pounding procedure is helpful when making tacos or fajitas. You can also tenderize steaks in this manner if you are making something like a black and blue salad, sliced strips for fondue trays, buffets, or sandwiches.
Even though you are tenderizing the steak, you should cut off excess fat. It is also best to avoid pounding the steak so much that you destroy all the connective tissue.
Does Beef Get More Tender The Longer You Cook It
Beef does not necessarily get more tender the longer its cooked. The best cuts for slow cooking are chuck, shoulder, skirt, brisket, and oxtail. Steaks such as ribeye, New York, or filet mignon will all dry up and become tough if overcooked.
So it is possible to cook beef for a long time, and it would still end up dry and tough, not tender.
Beef, like other meats, is made up of muscles, connective tissues, and fat. What we often see is the muscle. Fat usually serves as a covering over the muscles and as marbling between muscle fibers.
Its the marbled fat that makes the beef succulent and tender. You know that muscles become stronger the more they are exercised. So, the part thats highly exercised is usually tough.
In other words, the part of the steer in question is a factor in whether its tough or tender. Another is the age of the steer the older, the tougher the beef.
But of course, aside from buying meat from reputable places, we have no way of knowing how old the cow was before slaughter. So lets focus on what we can control.
If youre looking to get tender beef, cooking it for a long time is not the answer across the board.
And the most marbled cuts all benefit from cooking for a relatively short period of time at a high temperature. Thats why steakhouses such as Ruths Chris cook their steaks in an 1800-degree broiler and then serve it on a plate heated to 500° F.
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What Meats Can I Tenderize And Which Method Should I Use
You can see there are plenty of great ways to make a tough cut tender. Which one you choose depends on what kind of meat youre preparing and how much time you have.
And of course, youre not going to be using any of these methods with the high-end cuts which are tender and fat-rich to begin with and require a different approach entirely with cooking and grilling.
So when youre feeling fancy , go get your prime rib, tenderloin, or fillet steak and head straight to the grill. Small and delicate fare like chicken breasts and seafood also require no tenderizing.
But if youre looking to save some moolah and serve up a tender, juicy dish fit for a king, check out this chart for quick tips on my recommended tenderizing method and timing:
|Type of Meat|
|Brining||Turkey: 1624 hours chicken: 4 hours||The concentration of your brine will affect brining time. Add a little sugar to the brine to get a great caramelized crispy skin.|
Hit The Right Internal Temperature
Overcooking can make your meat dry but undercooked meat can be quite chewy. Dont be afraid of an instant-read meat thermometer and pull your meat when its ready. For naturally tender cuts like beef tenderloin, that can be as rare as 125ºF, whereas tougher cuts like brisket should be cooked to 195ºF.
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Which Types Of Steaks You Should Tenderize
Consider tenderizing flank steaks, skirt steaks, and tri-tips.
The cuts include massive muscles that are frequently hardened by the grillâs high heat. Pre-tenderizing these steaks and cutting the meat in a straight line may result in tender and juicy meat.
Tenderizing round, chuck, London broil, and top sirloin steaks is also beneficial. Typically, these less costly cuts have a lower fat content than the more expensive cuts. Additionally, tenderizing the steak breaks down the muscle fibers, keeping it juicy and delicious.
Tenderizing is usually beneficial for less costly steaks for identical reasons, regardless of whether they are higher-end cuts. The less expensive steaks often have less fat marbled into the meat and may also contain a significant quantity of chewy connective tissue.
A tenderizing inexpensive Ribeye or New York strip steak, for example, may aid in breaking up this cartilage and allowing it to cook faster. So that it does not dry out before reaching the required degree of doneness.
Allowing Your Meat To Rest
Resting your cooked meat to room temperature before cutting is one of the easiest ways to tenderize your steak. It does not really matter how well youve cooked your meat, but if you cut it immediately, youll lose up to 40 percent of the essential juices that could have made the meat soft and tender.If you give the meat time to rest, the juices will reabsorb and redistribute within the meat, making it soft, tender and easy to chew.
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Tenderize Before You Cook
The solution to grilling a tender steak from a tough cut is to break down the muscles and cartilage a bit before you cook it. If you prep your steak in advance, you can easily make a tender steak at any level of doneness. Ive covered the various methods for doing this below.
All of these techniques have a few things in common, even though they may produce different results. They either rely on using chemistry or direct mechanical action to break down some of the proteins in your steak. Then you can finish the process as you cook your steak on the grill.
When you grill a tenderized steak, you dont have to worry about hitting a certain cooking temperature in order to have tender results. The fibers are already partially broken, so you can easily make a tender steak from rare to well done.
How Long Should You Boil Beef Stew Meat For Tenderness
The above discussion has been biased towards certain cuts- the chucks. For the same reason that these cuts are unsuitable for grilling, they are the ideal choice for stew. This is because they contain lots of collagen fiber which when broken down, give the stew an extra tender flavor. Lets now address the most common method of tenderizing meat from other parts that are good for stews.
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Allow The Steak To Sit Once Cooked For 5 Minutes
Its tempting to want to rush ahead and start cutting the steak after youve cooked it.
I understand. But its better to let it rest for a while. Rest? Yes. Allow the steak to sit at least for 5 minutes. Why would I do that? . Thats what the pros do.
They do it because while it rests, the steak can now redistribute the juice that has been constricted while it was being cooked. If you were to ignore the rest phase, youd notice that the juice slips out, and the final product becomes dry and tough.
The ideal place to let it rest is inside a microwave that isnt running.
This allows it to sit, at room temp, but away from any breezes from nearby ceiling fans, and away from any flies that may be buzzing around your house.
What Is The Best Tenderizer For Meat
- Best Overall: Chef-Master Meat Tenderizer.
- Best Budget: Winco Aluminum 2-Sided Meat Tenderizer.
- Best Roller: Jim Beam JB0150 Rolling Vintage Style Meat Tenderizer.
- Best Mallet: OXO Good Grips Die Cast Meat Tenderizer.
- Best Vertical-Handle Pounder: Norpro Grip-EZ Reversible Tenderizer/Pounder.
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