Most people love steak but not everybody knows how to tenderize it properly, for the best results. Tenderizing a steak is very easy and it is worth doing, in order to ensure your steak is juicy, tender, and delicious.
If you are using a good cut like Filet Mignon, the steak will not need tenderizing. If you are using a cheaper cut like New York strip or sirloin steak, it probably will.
A meat mallet has a spiked side and a flat side. With steak, you should first use the spiked side. This breaks down the tough fibers. The flat side gives the meat a good texture. If you do not have a meat mallet, you can use a fork and make tiny holes all over the steak. This obviously entails more work than using the mallet.
With some meats, you should never use the spiked side. If you are flattening a chicken breast, for example, you should only use the flat side because the spiked side will rip it apart.
Another way of tenderizing a steak is to score it. This means you should make crisscross diamond patterns, one inch apart, on both sides of the steak. Do not forget the sides, else the steak will curl up. Each of these methods is good but it depends on what type of steak you are using, how thick it is and how you are going to cook it.
The best way to know how to tenderize a steak to perfection if you are new to cooking steak is to find a good steak recipe and follow the instructions in it.
Using Easy Steak Marinades
Another way to tenderize steak is to use a steak marinade recipe. Combine your chosen steak marinade ingredients with the meat and leave it for a couple of hours. You can do this in addition to using the meat mallet or instead of it.
The acidic ingredients in the steak marinade help to break down the fibers in the meat, which is what makes it tender and succulent. Wine, pineapple, lime, lemon or papaya juice or any kind of vinegar will all have this effect on the steak.
You can get salt-based tenderizers from the grocery store, which works in a similar way, but homemade steak marinade recipes give the steak a great flavor so it is nice to make your own.
Careful with the Cooking Time
Remember that overcooked steak is dry and tough. No matter how much you used the meat mallet or whether you used the best steak marinade recipe in the world, overcooked steak is not something that you can rescue, so watch it carefully and do not overcook it!
It is easier to give an undercooked steak another few minutes in the pan or on the grill than do anything about overcooked meat. Always let your steak rest for five or ten minutes after cooking it. The juices will redistribute themselves and the steak will be extra juicy and tender.