Not every reduced is melt-in-your mouth tender. We have the scoop on just how to make hard meat soft with simply a couple of simple steps.

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I think we’ve all been there: a new recipe or one unfamiliar cut of meat leaves us v a tough, chewy meal. That feels wasteful and also it can be nice embarrassing if that happens during a dinner party. Therefore what’s the cause, and also how perform you make challenging meat tender?

Well, tenderizing meat isn’t as challenging as you could think! v a few tricks, prefer the people we’ve got below, you deserve to have also budget-friendly and also unfamiliar cuts super tender with just a tiny extra effort. Discover out exactly how below, and also don’t forget to ask her butcher about these cuts.

1. Physically tenderize the meat

For difficult cuts like chuck steak, a meat mallet deserve to be a how amazing effective means to failure those hard muscle fibers. Girlfriend don’t desire to lb it right into oblivion and turn the meat into mush, but a light pounding through the rough edge that a meat mallet will execute the trick. If friend don’t have one, you have the right to lightly score the surface ar in a crosshatch pattern v a knife or usage a fork come poke tiny holes into the meat.

2. Use a marinade

Cuts prefer flank or skirt steak make terrific grilling steaks, but they’re so challenging you won’t desire to eat them there is no a tiny marinade action. Using acidic ingredients prefer lemon juice, vinegar or buttermilk not only include flavor but also malfunction tough proteins, giving the meat a “pre-cook” before it access time the grill. Just make sure you don’t let that sit ~ above the marinade because that too long (30 minute to two hours should be sufficient), or it’ll end up being soft and also mushy.


Get started with our ideal marinade recipes.

3. Don’t forget the salt

Whether you’re marinating or not, at the very least make certain to salt the meat prior to cooking. Salt draws the end moisture from inside the meat, concentrating the flavors and also creating a natural brine. You understand it’s working due to the fact that the meat will certainly take ~ above a deeper, red color. Unequal marinades, you have the right to salt your meat for up to 24 hrs in advance.

4. Let the come as much as room temperature

This is especially important through grass-fed beef and also other lean cut of meat. Because there’s not a most fat on this cuts, they’re less forgiving if contempt overcooked. Letting the meat sit ~ above a room temperature respond to for 30 minutes before cooking will assist it cook much more evenly.

5. Cook it low-and-slow

More expensive cut of meat deserve to be flash seared end high temperatures, yet many budget plan cuts, like pork shoulder or chuck roast, need low-and-slow cooking techniques (like these slow cooker sandwiches). When braising difficult cuts the meat, the collagen breaks down in the cooking liquid and also really allows those challenging muscle fibers separate. Make sure you offer yourself enough time come let those cut break down, which could take 4 or an ext hours in a Dutch range or slow cooker.


6. Fight the right inner temperature

Overcooking have the right to make your meat dry but undercooked meat have the right to be quite chewy. Don’t be afraid of one instant-read meat thermometer and pull her meat as soon as it’s ready. For naturally tender cuts like beef tenderloin, that deserve to be as rare as 125ºF, vice versa, tougher cuts prefer brisket must be cooked come 195ºF.

7. Rest your meat

No matter just how well friend prepare and also cook your meat, that will rotate out dry and also tough if girlfriend don’t let it rest. A general preeminence of ignorance is five minutes per inch of thickness because that steaks, or ten minutes per lb for roasts. This permits the juices to redistribute within the meat rather of spilling out onto the cut board—that means your meat will be dry and tough.

8. Slice against the grain

All cuts of meat have actually long muscle fibers that operation throughout them. If friend make cuts parallel to the muscle fibers, you’ll finish up utilizing your teeth to break through them as you chew. That sounds prefer a workout! Instead, reduced crosswise against the muscle fibers so castle come personally easily and also effortlessly.


Try your hand at these steakhouse copycat recipes.

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originally Published: January 26, 2018
Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in skilled kitchens, Lindsay traded she knives in because that the pen. When she spends most of she time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to rotate local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for she family.

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