A sizzling soft and tender, succulent steak can get any barbeque lover to salivate. It is the juicy, tender, and smoky flavored beef that attracts many people to barbequed food. You’ve probably noticed that not all barbequed meat comes out tender. Cuts of meat often undergo special touches to get them soft, juicier, and tender, just the way you like them.
What Is Meat Tenderization?
Meat tenderization is the process done to lessen the toughness of meat and make it tender, soft, and easy to chew. The process reduces the toughness of the meat by breaking down fibers, making it palatable. Meat tenderization can be done at the packaging firms or at home during cooking prep.
You can use meat tenderizers, marinate the cut in an acidic substance, or cook it low and slow. Among the different methods, low and slow-cooking is the most common and accessible way to tenderize your steak.
How to Tenderize Meat
There is a lot of debate about food smoking and the best and most reliable way to tenderize your steak. You are bound to come across several recipes and methods to tenderize steak, especially for a tough cut. The major concern always is the easiest and quickest way to tenderize your meat without losing the flavor and texture.
We know there are premium cuts that are naturally tender, but that will cost you a fortune. Why should you spend all that money when there are easy and quick do-it-yourself ways to tenderize your meat? Either way, we will provide you with an easy way to tenderize your meat if you choose to go for a leaner organic cut. Our methods are simple and easy, with no need for overnight dressing.
Getting the Best Cut
The initial step to cooking the best steak starts with making the right choice of grade and cut of steak. Steaks are never the same, and you need to get the best. Though there are many factors to consider when getting your steak, fresh meat is always superior to frozen. We also recommend going for cuts with a bright color that are moist and feel firm to the touch. This is one sign of quality meat that will give the most tender and juicy steaks.
1. Cooking Low and Slow
Cooking steak on low heat for a longer duration is the most commonly used method to tenderize it. The process involves heat naturally breaking the meat bonds and making it tender. We’re sure you’ve noticed that many people love to slowly braise or smoke beef steaks for soft, tender, and un-overcooked meat.
Use a pro-food smoker that will give the best results you deserve. You can go for our Bradley Smoker, which has an automated feeder that will give you up to 9 hours of food smoking experience. The digital controls will also make it easier for you to control the temperature.
Cooking for extended hours breaks down the collagen, which is responsible for the toughness of the meat. You will need some sort of liquid to generate steam that will keep the meat juicy throughout the cooking process and also after cooking.
To ensure that your meat is fully tenderized, we recommend you cook it low and slow until the meat thermometer reads 190–205° F (88–96° C).
Remember, cooking low and slow calls for patience, so be ready to spare a few hours of your time.
2. Pounding it Out
Pounding your steak is also another way to tenderize the cut. Meat hammers or meat mallets are tools used to beat raw meat. You use them the way you would a hammer and beat your steak into an even layer by breaking the muscle fibers. A meat mallet has two sides, a flat and a textured side, which you use to texture the steak.
Alternatively, you can go for meat tenderizer machines that break up the meat fibers, creating holes for salt, pepper, and other marinades. These machines are easier to use and less intensive than meat hammers.
3. Marinade the Steak
Marinading meat involves the use of acid, fat, and flavor. The acid is responsible for the meat tenderization, as it gradually breaks down the collagen, giving you a tender piece of meat. Once marinaded, the steak will remain tender even after cooking.
Here are a few quick tips for the best-tenderized steaks
- Go for the right tenderization process.
- Observe the cooking time and temperature.
- It’s always best to allow the steak to rest before serving.
- Some marinating processes may not give you the tenderness you’re looking for if the steak is a bit lean.
For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.