How Do You Tenderize Steak?


Quick Answer

Methods for tenderizing steak include using natural acidic liquids such as lemon juice and vinegar, pounding the meat with a mechanical tool, and scoring meat with a sharp knife. Meat can also be tenderized chemically by using marinades containing fruit enzymes.

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How Do You Tenderize Steak?
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Full Answer

Cooks can tenderize steak naturally by marinating the meat in natural acids or enzymes, which softens meat fibers. Yogurt is a dairy-based acidic food that also makes a great alternative meat tenderizer. Bromelain is the active natural enzyme contained in pineapple, and papaya contains an enzyme known as papain.

Alternatively, cooks can manually tenderize steaks by opting for a mechanical tool such as the marinade turbocharger, which pokes holes into meat fibers using numerous sharp needles. Pounding the meat with a kitchen mallet, or heavy skillet pan is another way to mechanically soften steak.

Resting and slicing is a technique that involves letting steaks rest for a couple of minutes on a cutting board, and then making thin cuts across the grain of each steak. To score a steak, take a knife and make several shallow cuts about 1/8-inch deep on the steak's surface, creating a crosshatch pattern. Scoring steaks before placing them into a marinade helps the steak absorb the acidic or enzyme tenderizer faster and loosens tough fibers.

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