Shopping for steak whilst on a budget can be tricky, after all this meat is typically quite expensive.
This is why many take to shopping for cheaper cuts of steak such as rib-eye, rump, and chuck.
These are the cheaper options as they’re often less tender than say filet or sirloin. Tender cuts of steak are the most expensive, they melt in your mouth and taste amazing when cooked properly.
Thankfully there is something you can do if you still want to eat tender steak but don’t want to buy the expensive Wagyu or Filet steaks.
If you’re wondering, what can i use to tenderize steak? You’re in the right place.
In this post we look at what you can use to tenderize your steak, helping you get the most out of your meat and ensure that your meal is just as tasty as it should be.
Let’s take a look…
What Does Tenderizing Steak Mean?
First, we need to know what tenderizing steak actually means. Tenderizing your meat is the process of making it, well…more tender.
This can be done in many ways, with the most common being pounding, scoring and rubbed with a meat tenderizing powder.
They all have the same goal in mind, to break down the tough muscle fibers and make them more tender and juicy. A meat tenderizer will break down the fibers and proteins in the meat, it’s kind of like when you work out in the gym.
When you train your stretching and tearing the muscle fibers in order to make them stronger, but with a meat tenderizer, you’re doing the same thing only with an object or powder. And with the goal to weaken and break down the muscle fibers ready for consumption.
Tenderizing steak is something that many of us do as it’s a great way to get more value for money from your beef. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of tenderizing your steak.
The Benefits Of Tenderizing Steak
You don’t have to tenderize your steak, in fact, many people don’t. But there are some benefits of tenderizing steak that you should know about if you want to get the best out of your steak.
The first being that tenderizing steak allows you to get more tender cuts from budget meat. Tenderizing your steak allows you to eat protein-rich meals without spending the big bucks.
This means you can choose steaks such as rump, rib-eye, and chuck whilst still making them nice and tender by using a meat tenderizer.
Another benefit of tenderizing steak is that it makes the steak easier to digest, this ensures that you’re not going to bunged up after eating your meal and you’ll keep nature flowing smoothly.
Downsides Of Tenderizing Steak
One of the biggest downsides of tenderizing steak is that it can be quite time-consuming, if you’re tenderizing large cuts with a mallet this can take you well over an hour.
Not only that but purchasing the tools to tenderize your steak properly is an added expense that some people could do without.
It’s also worth noting that you do need to be very careful when tenderizing steak as if you over tenderize, your steak will become mushy as you’ll break down to enzymes too much.
There is a fine line that with experience you’ll learn when it comes to tenderizing a steak, so take your time and ensure you only tenderize for roughly 5 minutes per half-inch.
It’s better to under tenderize then over tenderize as you’ll essentially waste your steak if you do it too much.
For me, I personally like to keep my steaks as natural as possible, so adding meat tenderizing powder isn’t really an option.
I know that these powders can be effective, but the thought of sprinkling powder on my steak which can have some side effects such as throat irritation, stomach irritation, allergic reaction, and more isn’t worth it in my eyes.
This is all down to personal preference and some people will be more than happy to add this to their steaks, but for me, it’s a downside that is worth mentioning in this article.
What To Use To Tenderize Steak
When it comes to actually tenderizing your steak, you have a couple of different options. Technically anything can be used to pound the meat, but there are three main ways in which chefs do this:
1. Meat Tenderizer Mallet
The first way to tenderize your steak is to use a mallet. This is the most traditional and most common way to tenderize steak. The main downside to using a mallet is that it is rather time-consuming.
The general rule of thumb for using a meat tenderizing mallet is five minutes per inch of meat. This means that if you’ve got a large t-bone steak you’re going to be doing this for some time.
2. Natural Marinade
Another good way to make your steak more tender is to use a marinade, I personally like to use lemon juice, buttermilk, vinegar, or soy sauce to help break down the proteins and make my steaks more tender.
This is also less time consuming that using a mallet and takes around 1-hour for maximum effect.
3. Meat Tenderizer Powder
The next way you can make your steak more tender before cooking is to use a meat tenderizing powder. The dry tenderizing powder is usually added to the steak just before cooking, and the rule of thumb here is to use roughly one teaspoon per pound of meat.
It’s then best to pierce the steak with a fork or sharp object every half inch or so to ensure that the powder penetrates the meat.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of these meat tenderizing powders contain salt, so it’s not wise to season with salt if using this method.
It’s worth taking into account that many people don’t believe in meat tenderizers because they often overcook their steak. No matter how much you tenderize your steak, if you’re overcooking then the meat will not be tender.
It’s important to cook your steak properly with the correct preparation and seasoning and for the right amount of time depending on how you like your steak cooked.
Is it worth tenderizing your steak?
In my experience yes, I do this religiously now almost every time I cook a steak. That being said I don’t like to spend a lot of time using a mallet so my personal preference is to use a natural marinade to break down the enzymes and proteins.
This way I can leave my steak in the marinade and come back around 1-hour later and my steak is good to go. This is really down to personal preference and largely depends on the type of marinade you use, although all of the above methods are effective in tenderizing steak.
There are lots of different tools and methods you can use to tenderize your steak. If you’re opting for cheap steaks then I would highly recommend tenderizing your steak before consumption.
Not only is it healthier and easier to digest, but it also tastes much better and is a simple step in the preparation which makes your meal so much better.
Investing in the necessary tools to tenderize steak is often very cheap, a mallet can cost as little as a few dollars and will get you well on your way to a juicy, more tender steak without breaking the bank.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a thing or two in this post and you now know what you can use to tenderize your steaks correctly, safely, and effectively.