As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. One of the most common misconceptions is that you can tenderize a steak by marinating it. It also works well for thicker steaks like London broil. Thus, after about an hour you have a tender yet flavorful steak that just needs to be grilled to perfection. The longer a steak spends over the heat, the drier it gets. The trick for mastering a meat tenderizing tool is to know when to stop! Salt is usually a component of a marinade as well. That way it won’t dry out before it reaches your ideal level of doneness. The challenge of using papaya or pineapple as a meat tenderizer is two-fold. 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. That’s it! Tenderizing helps break the muscle fibers apart so your steak stays tender and juicy. What does it mean to tenderize a piece of meat? Pounding also has the advantage of flattening the meat, which allows it to cook more quickly and more evenly. If you prep your steak in advance, you can easily make a tender steak at any level of doneness. Some folks also add garlic or other aromatic herbs to their salt mixture, and you can certainly do this if you’d like to. You can mash a ripe papaya and add some straight to your marinade. Cook it, pound it, or slice it—that's it. It all depends on what you add to your marinade. Since most marinades contain salt, there’s no reason to do both. So the more exercise a muscle gets, the tougher the meat. Using these 5 methods, you can tenderize a budget steak into a meal fit for a king. Not only does salt boost the flavor of your meat. This is a moist-heat cooking technique by which meat is immersed at least partially in some sort of liquid that is then maintained at a gentle simmer for a period of time sufficient to break down the collagen. A tender steak doesn’t have to be soft, like cutting through butter. Even the highest quality ribeye steak will be a bit chewy in texture, and this isn’t a bad thing. One of the main techniques for accomplishing this is braising. This way your steaks will cook quickly and evenly, especially steaks that are thicker or have larger muscle fibers. The longer a steak spends over the heat, the drier it gets. Flavor aside, while you can easily grill filet mignon or rib eyes without tenderizing in advance, the same can’t be said for other steaks. These steaks have long fibers of muscles running through the meat. Just take a tablespoon of salt and rub it thoroughly to the meat. Place on a cutting board and make a series of shallow cuts diagonally across the top muscles. Using acidic ingredients like vinegar, or lemon juice breaks down tough proteins and add flavor to your beef cut. Really tough cuts, like skirt and flank steak, often benefit from pounding and scoring. I recommend removing the steaks when their internal temperature is a few degrees under your ideal temp. And it only gets chewier when it's cooked improperly. Usually, they are gadgets that have many small needles that poke deeply into your meat. The one you should use depends on the type of meat and what made it tough in the first place. Cooking tough cuts of meat with low-temperature heat over a long period of time is a great way to tenderize it. Now you’re ready to salt or marinate your meat, or you can put it right on a hot grill. You don’t have to drop all your dough on an expensive steak to get tender results, either. Commercial meat tenderizing powders are an easy and quick way to turn a tough steak into a tender meal. Best Ways, Why, & Tips and Tricks. What you know as meat is mostly muscle tissue. By using The Spruce Eats, you accept our, A Guide to Beef Roasts and the Best Ways to Cook Them, 10 Best Steaks to Grill for Perfectly Juicy Results. Meat tenderizer tools break up the tissue fibers in your steak and create “holes” that allow marinades, salt, and powders deeper into the flesh. The more these are broken down, the more tender your steak will be. Salty liquids like soy sauce make a great marinade base and the salt will help tenderize and flavor your meat. The brine is reabsorbed into your meat where it begins to break down the muscle fibers. That said, the flavor of your steak may well benefit by taking the time to salt or marinate your meat before you grill it. Unfortunately, the best cuts of steak can bust the family grocery budget. Tenderizing a Steak. You could cook a flank steak perfectly medium rare, but if you sliced it along the grain, it would feel like you were chewing a mouthful of rubber bands. Marinating was intentionally left out. But toughness and chewiness are not really synonymous. Medium-Well: 150° to 155°F Some bundles have more fibers in them than others, making the grain of the meat coarser, such as with a brisket. It also acts to break down the proteins in your steak and dry out the surface as it cooks. Either way, melting the collagen in meat tenderizes it and adds to the flavor. This will increase the surface area and create “holes” in the muscle fibers so the marinade penetrates a bit further into your meat. Best Way to Tenderize Steak with Salt . Rare: 120° to 125°F I usually salt my steaks prior to cooking, for instance, even the naturally tender premium cuts. Cube steaks won't be as succulent as braised beef chuck, for example, and you'll certainly never mistake them for beef tenderloin. The fibers are already partially broken, so you can easily make a tender steak from rare to well done. The one problem with marinating steak is that these liquids don’t penetrate very deeply into the meat on their own. When you hit your steak with the hammer the pyramid-shaped dimples break up the cartilage and muscles inside the steak. Collagen turns to gelatin between 160°F and 190°F, while steak is considered well done at 180°F. Luckily, there is one simple ingredient you have in your pantry that will turn even the cheapest cuts into tender, juicy steaks the whole family will love! You can also sprinkle some herbs, garlic, or onion powder on your steaks right before you grill them if you want to boost the flavor too. Best Ways, Why, & Tips and Tricks, Greek Burger Recipe – A Tasty Mediterranean Lamb Hamburger, Falafel burger – Baked Patty and Hummus [Vegan Hamburger]. My go-to method for tenderizing steak is always salt. Your steak will become tender as it cooks, up to a point. Long, thick muscle fibers will be tougher to chew. Budget steaks often have less fat marbled through their meat and may have a lot of chewy connective tissue. Meat with a lot of connective tissue can be tenderized by cooking it until the collagen melts away, which starts to happen between 160 and 200 F. When the connective tissue melts, it turns into gelatin, which is soft and jiggly rather than tough and chewy. Tenderizing these steaks prior to cooking, and slicing the meat against the grain will help yield tender results. Here are the tips and tricks you need to know to get the most tender results every time you grill a steak. Then you can finish the process as you cook your steak on the grill. Tenderizing mallet and steak In addition to all of these methods, you can also use a meat mallet to further tenderize your steak. In fact, when we marinate steak with table salt, the steak absorbs the moderate amount of salt to break down the protein. Don’t cover your meat.