World'S Best Steak Marinade

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Not every cut is melt-in-your mouth tender. We have the scoop on how to lớn make tough meat tender with just a few simple steps.

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I think we’ve all been there: a new recipe or an unfamiliar cut of meat leaves us with a tough, chewy meal. It feels wasteful & it can be pretty embarrassing if it happens during a dinner party. So what’s the cause, and how do you make tough meat tender?

Well, tenderizing meat isn’t as difficult as you might think! With a few tricks, like the ones we’ve got below, you can have even budget-friendly and unfamiliar cuts super tender with just a little extra effort. Find out how below, & don’t forget lớn ask your butcher about these cuts.

1. Physically tenderize the meat

For tough cuts lượt thích chuck steak, a meat mallet can be a surprisingly effective way to break down those tough muscle fibers. You don’t want to lớn pound it into oblivion and turn the meat into mush, but a light pounding with the rough edge of a meat mallet will vì chưng the trick. If you don’t have one, you can lightly score the surface in a crosshatch pattern with a knife or use a fork khổng lồ poke tiny holes into the meat.

2. Use a marinade

Cuts lượt thích flank or skirt steak make excellent grilling steaks, but they’re so tough you won’t want to lớn eat them without a little marinade action. Using acidic ingredients lượt thích lemon juice, vinegar or buttermilk not only địa chỉ cửa hàng flavor but also break down tough proteins, giving the meat a “pre-cook” before it hits the grill. Just make sure you don’t let it sit on the marinade for too long (30 minutes khổng lồ two hours should be sufficient), or it’ll become soft và mushy.


Get started with our best marinade recipes.

3. Don’t forget the salt

Whether you’re marinating or not, at least make sure khổng lồ salt the meat before cooking. Salt draws out moisture from inside the meat, concentrating the flavors & creating a natural brine. You know it’s working because the meat will take on a deeper, red color. Unlike marinades, you can salt your meat for up to lớn 24 hours in advance.

4. Let it come up to lớn room temperature

This is especially important with grass-fed beef and other lean cuts of meat. Since there’s not a lot of fat on these cuts, they’re less forgiving if slightly overcooked. Letting the meat sit on a room temperature counter for 30 minutes before cooking will help it cook more evenly.

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5. Cook it low-and-slow

More expensive cuts of meat can be flash seared over high temperatures, but many budget cuts, lượt thích pork shoulder or chuck roast, require low-and-slow cooking techniques (like these slow cooker sandwiches). When braising tough cuts of meat, the collagen breaks down in the cooking liquid and really lets those tough muscle fibers separate. Make sure you give yourself enough time to lớn let those cuts break down, which could take four or more hours in a Dutch oven or slow cooker.


6. Hit the right internal temperature

Overcooking can make your meat dry but undercooked meat can be quite chewy. Don’t be afraid of an instant-read meat thermometer and pull your meat when it’s ready. For naturally tender cuts lượt thích beef tenderloin, that can be as rare as 125ºF, whereas tougher cuts lượt thích brisket should be cooked khổng lồ 195ºF.

7. Rest your meat

No matter how well you prepare & cook your meat, it will turn out dry and tough if you don’t let it rest. A general rule of thumb is five minutes per inch of thickness for steaks, or ten minutes per pound for roasts. This allows the juices lớn redistribute within the meat instead of spilling out onto the cutting board—that means your meat will be dry & tough.

8. Slice against the grain

All cuts of meat have long muscle fibers that run throughout them. If you make cuts parallel to lớn the muscle fibers, you’ll over up using your teeth lớn break through them as you chew. That sounds like a workout! Instead, cut crosswise against the muscle fibers so they come apart easily & effortlessly.


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Originally Published: January 26, 2018
Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.