Cooktop Cove: Always get meat as tender as filet mignon with these smart methods
Every once in a while you probably feel like a delicious, juicy steak. The problem is, your wallet doesn't always agree with crazy, and sometimes expensive, cravings.
Luckily, there's a way around this. You can easily transform an inexpensive, tough piece of meat into a restaurant-worthy cut with a few simple tricks. Say goodbye to chewy, tough and tasteless meat and hello to a filet mignon rival. Your family will be amazed and your guests won't know the difference – but your wallet sure will.
1. An acidic marinade
No, we're not talking about any harsh chemicals. Simple acids such as lemon or lime juice, vinegar, yogurt or buttermilk can be used to tenderize tough cuts.
Choose an acidic base:
- lime juice
- lemon juice (we chose this and around 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Adjustments can be made based on your desired tastes.
1. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade.
2. Soak meat in marinade. The key is to not leave the meat in the marinade for too long, as acids can weaken the protein structure of the meat too much, making it too soft and mushy.
Aim for 30 minutes to two hours, but check periodically to see if the meat is starting to look cooked around the edges. That's how you'll know it's been marinating too long.
3. Enjoy the final result:
2. A salt rub
Go to the store and buy the lowest-priced cut of meat. This salt rub can tenderize cheap cuts of meat: It is the poor man's version of filet mignon.
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon pepper
salt (as desired)
your cheap beef cut
1. Lay out cheap beef cut on cutting board.
2. Mix together all the ingredients in the rub and coat beef as desired. The amount of salt you want to use depends on your taste. Let the beef sit on the counter for one hour per inch the meat is thick.
3. Then, wash the salt off, and pat it dry. On the right is tenderized beef and on the left is regular, untenderized beef. Look at the difference:
4. Throw on any seasonings as desired (no more salt). Cook it like you normally would, and enjoy the final result!
3. Cook it low and slow
Sometimes, to fight the toughness of the meat, you have to show it some love. Toss a tough piece of meat in a slow cooker to break down all those chewy fibers into a piece of steak so delicate it will melt in your mouth.
Cooking the beef in a slow cooker traps all the moisture of the meat and other ingredients inside, leaving you with a cut of steak that tastes like it's out of your price range.
Lots of other recipes are out there too that can help transform a tough piece meat into a mouth-watering creation. Some of our favorites are as follows:
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