There’s nothing worse than biting into what you think is a piece of juicy steak, only to find it tough and very chewy. There are certain cuts of beef that are usually very tender, but they’re also quite expensive. When you go for less expensive cuts, you’ll find that they’re rather a little tough. However, all hope’s not lost. You can still tenderize your beef in many ways so you can enjoy a very tasty meal.
One way to tenderize beef is by using a marinade, preferably an acidic one. In order for a marinade to truly make the beef softer, it should contain any acidic ingredients such as buttermilk, lemon, vinegar, wine, or yogurt. They break down the protein to make it softer and they also add intense surface flavor as well. However, don’t marinate your beef for more than two hours because it will end up becoming mushy.
Seasoning with salt isn’t only used to bring flavor to your meat but it also helps tenderize your beef as well. You can do this without using any kind of marinade. Using salt before cooking or grilling actually brings out the moisture, helps break down the protein and muscle fiber, and kind of creates a natural brine. Season it generously with salt for about an hour or more, then pat it dry before searing.
Pound or Beat It
For tougher cuts, physically pounding or beating your beef cut surprisingly makes it tender and soft. However, if severely beaten, it can work too well and actually cause your beef cut to become mushy and too tender that you’re unable to cook it. Be sure to use the right mallet that won’t cause any damage to the fibers and lightly pound it.
Cooking and Cutting Methods
One of the biggest mistakes you can do is slice immediately into your cooked steak. Cutting too soon will release all of its juices, thus producing a very dry and chewy piece of beef. You need to let it rest before cutting for at least 10 minutes or more. Make sure to cut against the grain, and not parallel to the muscle fibers. Some beef cuts will require a slow braise as well because they need time to become tender. Also, be sure to use a meat thermometer to make sure it has reached the right temperature. You don’t want it overcooked and dry.
There you have it. One of your worst fears about dealing with beef made easy. Understanding how to cook beef might seem challenging, but once you know how to make it soft, tender, and juicy, your meals will be tastier than ever. With a few tricks, you’ll be having juicer beef each time.