After a prolonged hectic day, nothing feels like taking a hunk of steak as your first bite of dinner. But what if the first bite turns out to be chewy? Now, that feels like a sucker. Nothing is worse than your first bite being hard meat.
We all have gone through this shitty situation but there are ways to avoid these easily. You do not have to wait for an overnight marinade process anymore. Scroll through the post for seven amazing tricks to tenderize your meat. Most of these tricks can be used upon on any sort of meat such as: beef, pork, lamb, goat, buffalo, venison, etc.
7 Ways to Tenderize Any Cut or Kind of Meat:
1. Beat It:
A meat mallet is an effective way to physically tenderize meat. Breaking down tough muscle fibers become very easy with a meat mallet. But do not pound it too much and make it into a meat mush. Specialized tenderizing tools do less damage to meat fibers and particles. With dozens of pointy tools and sharp knives it is very easy to pound meat with tenderizing tools as well.
If you do not have a meat mallet, then you can use a kitchen knives or forks to make tiny holes into the meat. Smaller, boneless pieces are better for the pounding process. Cutlet and steak meat can be easily tenderized by pounding, for obvious reasons. Pummeling a roast with a heavy skillet would be dangerous, not just for the roast but for you as well! Another exciting tool you will get in the market is Meat Injector! A bbq meat injector can less down your hassle and minimize your time for marinating.
2. Marinade with acid:
Acid is a tough chemical substance that can break down tough meat. Lemon or lime juice, vinegar, buttermilk or even yogurt work pretty well as ingredients in making marinades. Soaking meat in a marinade made with these substances will help to break the strong and tough proteins of the meat.
Although, we know marinades are great for increasing the flavor of the meat it does not work always for tenderizing. But acid based marinades can penetrate the meat easily. Also, if you do not have much time in your hand always ho for a straight acid mix but if there is time then use the oily marinade.
3. Use Fruit Enzymes:
There are some fruits out there which contain protease, a type of enzyme which is very handy in breaking down protein particles of meat. You mainly go with:
- Kiwi: kiwi is a fruit filled with actinidin, which works gently and has a neutral flavor. Some specialists recommend to let the meat soak in a kiwi marinade for almost a week.
- Pineapple: Pineapples contains bromelain. Bromelain is a strong enzyme that can turn the meat into mush if it is not used in the right portion properly.
- Asian pear
Fruit enzymes work best between 50–70°C (120-160°F) and on thinner cuts. Also, if you do not like using fruits manually on your marinade you can always buy the powdered versions which are made of dried fruits.
4. Cook It Long and Low:
The easiest way to tenderize meat is to keep it on the stove for quite a decent period of time with low temperature. With a little heat and a lot of time the collagen eventually breaks keeping the juicy parts of the meat. Meat is filled with of long fibers, which are wrapped up individually in a sheath of collagen, a connective tissue that shrinks and squeezes when it is heated too high. So, be sure to keep the heat from 160° to 205°F when the collagen begins to gelatinize and the meat gets more tender.
5. Salt it:
Some will say that salt will make the meat tougher not tenderer. But If the appropriate amount of time is given, salt can blast the protein threads and melt the muscle fibers of tough meats. Letting the salt sit for an hour or two before you cook. It is an effective where there are no fusses about marinade. Many specialized chefs suggested that salt is the secret formula behind juicy roasts.
Follow these steps to apply salt:
- Take a pan and put the meat on it. You can also use a board or plate. Now sprinkle the entire meat surface with a decent layer of salt. Turn the salty side and salt the other side, as well. You can use your hands to massage the meat if you want to.
- Leave it on the pan or plate at room temperature. The time duration depends on the thickness of the meat is. For each inch of thickness take an hour. So, if your steak is 1 inch or a bit more, let it sit till and an hour and a half.
- After a proper amount of time, brush or rinse off the salt thoroughly from the surface of the meat. This is a very important step as if you do not do this the meat will be too sour to eat.
6. Slice it right:
There are a handful of knife tricks out there which help to make meat tender. You can try out the scoring technique. In this technique you make shallow cuts though the surface of the thick meat piece. This helps to break the protein strands and also help the meat absorb tenderizing marinades more easily. There also a technique called thin slicing. Here, you cut the meat into thin small places. In this way the long tough protein fibers get short and it becomes easy to eat.
7. Always Let the Meat Rest Before Cutting It:
Do not hurry in this final, crucial step! Experts have proved that resting on the carving and chopping board BEFORE CUTTING makes the real juicy difference. If you start to cut the meat right after removing it from the stove, chances are about 40% more of the meat's juice will get spilled out on your cutting board, but if you take time the meat get time to rest, relax, and re-absorb all its own juice and distribute the juice within it. So, to make sure your mouth gets the prime heavenly feeling leave the meat alone for a while.
Watch the following video for more experts tips on tenderize meat:
Final Words: Every chef has their own ways to make tough, cheap meat into tender mouthful and yummy. These are some simple steps to make the meat melt in your mouth tender.