Tough ... meat! ?

Andy

Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member
Any way to tenderize meat (thin cuts like steaks)? I buy steaks in the grocery store so I know they're not prime, but choice or less. When I cook them, and I've tried marinating, grilling, grilling and then baking, etc. they seem to come out more chewy than not.

Is my cooking methods?
 

JohnRov

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Well, marinating won't tenderize anything. By the time an acid worked it way through the meat to help tenderize the connecting tissue, the actual flesh would be reduced to a grayish, nasty mess.

Proteins in food toughen in response to increases in temperature, so don't cook tender cuts too long. Most grocery stores these days have some better grades of meats than in years past, try looking for those to start.
 

memphislawyer

Super Member
If I want to obliterate that problem, I have to go to our local meat market and spend a bit more for a fresher cut. I also get the vacuum packed tenderloins and cut them myself.
 

Miket61

Elite Member
Below "choice" is "select." Below "select" is "fit for human consumption."

There are grocery stores near me that carry prime meats, and of course they're $20 a pound for filets and NY strips. I use Omaha Steaks, which always seem to be running a special.
 

Gunboat

Starting Member
These guys are correct, you want to start with the right ingredients. Also, keep in mind that different cuts have different characteristics. For instance, some are very tender but not as tasy, others have a lot of collagen and are inherently tough, others are fatty, etc. Personally, I go for the NY or the round.

Try talking to one of the guys who work in the meat section. I've found that they tend to be friendly and glad to offer suggestions to help you out.

In the South Bay, I like to buy meat at Whole Foods and Costco.
 

Eljo'sTrent

New Member
Buy your meat from an Organic Butcher or just a regular butcher

Don't buy that crap at the grocery store. Put kosher salt and pepper (NOTHING ELSE) on a steak, cook it on a medium hot grill 4-6 minutes side and after it is done let it rest for five minutes on a plate covered by aluminum foil. Do not cut the steak while cooking and use tongs and not a piercing fork. I buy Filet Mignons at a place here in Charlottesville called "The Organic Butcher"... Perfect for my once a month steak addiction. Steak in my house is a very special perfection. A hugely thick steak is not appetizing to my colon, so I buy smaller Filets and fill up on the collard greens and potato that I cook with it. I also sometimes buy awesome quality organic apple pepper bacon and place some of that cut up with some really nice quality stinky as hell blue cheese on top. Not too much, just a bit...

Andy, After you bought Lasagna from Pizza Hut you lost all credibility regarding commenting on food! :) Hope your summer is going well.
 
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Andy

Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member
Don't buy that crap at the grocery store. Put kosher salt and pepper (NOTHING ELSE) on a steak, cook it on a medium hot grill 4-6 minutes side and after it is done let it rest for five minutes on a plate covered by aluminum foil. Do not cut the steak while cooking and use tongs and not a piercing fork. I buy Filet Mignons at a place here in Charlottesville called "The Organic Butcher"... Perfect for my once a month steak addiction. Steak in my house is a very special perfection. A hugely thick steak is not appetizing to my colon, so I buy smaller Filets and fill up on the collard greens and potato that I cook with it. I also sometimes buy awesome quality organic apple pepper bacon and place some of that cut up with some really nice quality stinky as hell blue cheese on top. Not too much, just a bit...

Andy, After you bought Lasagna from Pizza Hut you lost all credibility regarding commenting on food! :) Hope your summer is going well.

Eljo'sTrent:

But think of all the weight I'm losing!!! :icon_smile_big:

Your buying and cooking methods sound perfect. What's the date next month and I'll drop in, and of course bring some California Cab!
 

Eljo'sTrent

New Member
Hey!

Andy, We have plenty of room at The Thurston residence and welcome a visit to Central Virginia. Michelle Obama was here yesterday. Bring me a big old cab from California. We can handle that. Recently I have been on a Pinot kick from Oregon. And we got a case of Italian Prosecco that we have been finishing off.
 

Andy

Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member
Eljo'sTrent:

My wife and I went to a wine tasting event in Santa Barbra area a few years ago and they were handing out Pinot Noir plants. I panted them in a planter (we have a small lot) and they are growing over the fence this year with lots of grapes.

Maybe I'll do a little harvest and see how they go with that Pizza Hut Lasagna again.
 

Nerev

Senior Member
My wife and I had this problem too, and it all came down to how well marbleized the meat is. We current buy rib steak without the bone from CostCo, and you can clearly see lots of white flecks in the meat; don't confuse this with a line of fat which isn't good. The fat makes the meat very tender and literally melts in your mouth.

We do a seer on each side than throw it into the oven at 450 degrees until we get the wellness we want. Take it out, put foil over it, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Carmalize some onions with this and enjoy.
 

Quay

Super Member
Uncooked meat is "tough" because parts of the meat are holding it together with not a little force. Old French method, which works well, is to beat the daylights out of it with a meat tenderizer. Some of those gadgets from Amazon.com might work well, too, but a good pounding will break down just about any connective tissues or anything holding on in beef flesh. Any of Julia Child's or Jacques Pepin's books will give you a lot of advice (and fun reading) about this sort of thing.

So it's not so much your cooking methods as what you're not doing prior to cooking. :icon_smile:
 

smujd

Super Member
First, buy better meat. Costco is now carrying "prime." Even if you can't find prime, Costco's "choice" is pretty good stuf.

A true butcher will also tend to have better quality.

If you're stuck with touch meat, this gizmo is great:


Use that on both sides (it will tend to flatten the meat, but you can reshape it). Next, you will need to marinate it over-night in an acidic marinade. There are a couple of decent commercial ones. Coca-Cola works surprisingly well, as do lemon and lime juice (if you don't mind the "southwestern" flavor they impart).
 

JohnRov

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Seriously, using an acidic marinade with not tenderize meat without reducing the actual muscle tissue to a gray, nasty texture. I've read no credible source advocating marinades as a method of tenderizing meat. (I've read sources, just not credible :) )
 

jbmcb

Senior Member
Prime is starting to show up at better grocery stores, as production of beef ramped up last year after the mad cow business died down, coinciding with the precipitous drop in demand from steak houses. Not too many $500 expense account lunches these days, I suppose.

My favorite steak techniques come from Alton Brown, who has this stuff down to a science, literally. For regular steaks, I like his iron skillet in the oven method. You heat a skillet in the over at 500-600 degrees, put it on a burner on high, coat your steak with oil, salt and pepper, sear it on the range for a minute a side, then finish it off in the broiler for a few minutes per side. This is pretty close to how Ruth's Cris does it, except I think they coat their steaks in butter.

My favorite method of all is for skirt steak, but can be used with very thin flank steaks. You get a charcoal grill going as hot as you can. I use lump coal which gets unbearably hot. Blow off the ashes a bit, and after marinating the steak for a few hours, place it directly on the coals, a minute a side. Immediately wrap in foil and let rest for several minutes. It comes out *perfect*, practically melts in your mouth.

On a related note, I accidentally developed an incredibly unhealthy and delicious method of cooking hamburgers:

1. Fry some bacon in a skillet. Pull out when crispy, drain most of the grease
2. Saute onions in the leftover grease, set aside
3. Fry the burgers in the grease left over from the onions and bacon
4. Put the bacon and onions on the burger and enjoy

It's similar to a slider, only much better. I'm limiting myself to one every couple of months, followed the day after by a vegetarian diet and running :)
 

Andy

Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member
jbmcb:

Great tips. Now I'm getting hungry again, and may gain back the weight I lost not eating all that Pizza Hut Lasagna I ordered! :icon_smile:

We do buy meat at CostCo but hadn't seen the Prime selections yet!! I don't like their hamburger however, it's too lean, but maybe using jbmcb's method above would help.
 

Portuguese-Connection

Starting Member
Don't buy that crap at the grocery store. Put kosher salt and pepper (NOTHING ELSE) on a steak, cook it on a medium hot grill 4-6 minutes side and after it is done let it rest for five minutes on a plate covered by aluminum foil. Do not cut the steak while cooking and use tongs and not a piercing fork. I buy Filet Mignons at a place here in Charlottesville called "The Organic Butcher"... Perfect for my once a month steak addiction. Steak in my house is a very special perfection. A hugely thick steak is not appetizing to my colon, so I buy smaller Filets and fill up on the collard greens and potato that I cook with it. I also sometimes buy awesome quality organic apple pepper bacon and place some of that cut up with some really nice quality stinky as hell blue cheese on top. Not too much, just a bit...

Andy, After you bought Lasagna from Pizza Hut you lost all credibility regarding commenting on food! :) Hope your summer is going well.
Perfect point made here.....turn it once and do not poke the steak. Too often people use a knife or fork on the meat and turn the steak 3 - 4 times while cooking. This causes the meat to lose it juices and to become very tough to eat and without flavor. The salt and pepper comment is also spot on! About the only thing I will do that is different is to add a bit of rosemary to it....I find that with a good wine it really pairs nicely.
 

JohnRov

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I really don't see how the small tines of a fork inserted the 1/4" or so on the edge it takes to turn a steak is going to cause a loss of any more moisture than the heat of cooking is going to force out.
 

turban1

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
old afghan trick

Any way to tenderize meat (thin cuts like steaks)? I buy steaks in the grocery store so I know they're not prime, but choice or less. When I cook them, and I've tried marinating, grilling, grilling and then baking, etc. they seem to come out more chewy than not.

Is my cooking methods?

marinade meat in yoghurt. kebabs or even a tough leg of lamb that walked to Kabul over the Hindu Kush mountains practically dances off the bone and pleads to be eaten. i never tried it with steak, but the yoghurt enzymes should still do the trick. if you try it, kindly let me know how it works.
 
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