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How to Tenderize Steak for Exquisite Meals

Steak can be tenderized through various techniques to ensure a succulent result. Pounding with a meat mallet, applying enzymatic tenderizers, using natural acidic marinades, salting, and slow cooking are all effective methods.

By Cookist
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Tenderizing steak is an essential process that turns tough cuts into succulent masterpieces. It involves breaking down the muscle fibers and connective tissues, which can otherwise make a steak chewy. Here's a guide to the various methods of tenderizing steak.

Mechanical Tenderizing

Firstly, a mechanical method involves using a meat mallet to pound the steak, which helps break down the muscle fibers. Be careful not to overdo it to avoid damaging the meat’s integrity.

Chemical Tenderizers

Chemical tenderizers are seasonings containing enzymes like papain and bromelain, which help break down meat proteins. However, they should be used sparingly to prevent the meat from becoming mushy.

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What is a Natural Steak Tenderizer?

Marinades are a natural and flavorful way to tenderize steak. The acidic components, such as lemon juice, vinegar, or yogurt, help soften the meat while also infusing it with flavors. Marinades should be well-balanced with acid, oil, and seasonings, and the steak shouldn't be left to marinate for too long.

Does Baking Soda Make Meat Tender?

While not mentioned earlier, baking soda is another tenderizing agent. It raises the pH on the meat's surface, making it more difficult for the proteins to bond excessively, which keeps the meat tender and moist. This method involves sprinkling baking soda over the meat and letting it sit for several hours before cooking, followed by a thorough rinse.

Salting is another technique that works well for tougher cuts. The salt draws out moisture and breaks down muscle protein, which makes the meat tenderer. It's best to let the salt sit on the steak for about an hour per inch of thickness, then rinse and dry before cooking.

Slow Cooking for Tenderization

Finally, slow cooking is an effective method to tenderize meat. Cooking a steak at a lower temperature for an extended period allows connective tissues to break down without toughening the muscle, yielding a tender result.

Regardless of the method chosen, proper tenderizing can make even the most challenging cuts of meat succulent and enjoyable.

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