Here's the Best Way to Tenderize Your Smoked Steaks

Here's the Best Way to Tenderize Your Smoked Steaks

Posted on: January 18, 2023

There are only a few other pleasures in life that can top the goodness of a juicy, tender steak. Whether enjoying by yourself or having your friends and family over for some tasty steak, you want to make sure that they are the most tender steaks anyone’s ever had. On top of everything else, having your very own smoker in your backyard just makes things so much better, making it a fun experience overall.

However, before you dive into your kitchen and grab a steak to toss in the smoker, there are a few things you should know to help you prepare the most tender steaks ever.

Choose the right cut

Things aren’t simple when it comes to choosing the right cut. There are a variety of different cuts, ranging from skirt steak, strip steak, tenderloin, porterhouse, flap steak, and others. If available, the filet mignon is among the most tender cuts you can find, but there are others, so it comes down to your preference.

Marbling is the second factor you should consider when buying the most tender steaks. Marbling is the fat content present in a cut of steak that melts when you cook it. It prevents the steak from drying out while adding an incredible, juicy flavor.

Marinade beforehand

While many believe that marinades help add flavor (which they do without a doubt), they also help tenderize your steak. All you have to do is mix your marinade ingredients in a bowl and then submerge the meat in the solution.

Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. This will give the marinade ample time to make the steak all juicy and tender.

The marinade also helps to add incredible flavor to the meat, alongside making it tender. If you’re unsure, there are thousands of different marinade recipes, ranging from sweet to spicy, so pick whatever works best for you!

Keep the temperature low

Temperature is another crucial factor that affects the tenderness of your steak. Too hot, and the meat can dry out. Essentially, the heat forces the moisture inside the meat to evaporate, leaving it dry.

To get the most tender results for your steak, you need to maintain a low and constant temperature in your smoker. Usually, for most meats, this can be anywhere from 220 °F (104 °C) to 250 °F (121 °C). Wait for your smoker to hit these temperatures before adding your meat.

While cooking, keep an eye and make sure that the temperatures stay within the recommended threshold.

Wait before cutting it

It can be pretty tempting to cut the steak immediately as it comes out of the smoker. The juices and the aroma make it incredibly difficult to wait, but it’s best to wait at least 5 minutes before cutting it.

This is because the juices in the meat need to settle and be reabsorbed. If you cut into the meat immediately, it will cause those juices to flow out, leaving your steak dry. So, for maximum tenderization, let the meat sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it. It’s worth the wait, and you’ll get a juicy and tender steak.

Other ways of tenderizing

Apart from these tips and tricks, you can use other methods to tenderize your meat further. Here’s how:

Chemical tenderizers: chemical tenderizers include salt, pepper, papaya, and pineapple. Our preference is salt because it helps break down the proteins and improves texture. Here’s how you can chemically tenderize meat:

  • Start by pouring 1/8 cup of kosher salt on a plate and spread it out.
  • Next up, pour 1/8 cup of kosher salt on top of the steak.
  • Now, carefully rub the salt into the steak.
  • Once done, place the steak in the fridge. The rule is 1 inch of thickness needs an hour in the fridge. So, depending on how thick your cut of steak is, that’s how long it goes into the fridge.
  • That’s all! Once done, place it into the smoker and cook!

Acidic tenderizers: wine, vinegar, or citrus are all acidic tenderizers. These liquids are high in acid content and soften the meat muscle. They also add great flavor. Here’s how you can tenderize your meat using acidic tenderizers:

  • Start by piercing your meat all over with a fork.
  • Next up, place it in a dish and let it sit in whatever your choice of liquid acidic tenderizer is.
  • You need to let the meat sit in the tenderizer for an hour or two before putting it in the smoker.
  • That’s all! Once complete, it’s ready to be smoked.

Check out a few more steak articles here:
5 Steak Doneness Internal Temperatures & Times
The Way You Should Be Tenderizing Steak
How to Cook the Perfect New York Strip Steak

These were some of the ways you can tenderize your steak and take its tenderness and juicy flavors to the next level. 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.