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A few ways to help tenderize a steak that I can think of:

Salt. Use a liberal amount and let the steak sit in the fridge for several hours. Excepting the papain enzyme written about above which I have no knowledge of, salt is one of the few things that can penetrate meat (fish, chicken (not through the skin), and others). Salting makes minor changes in the protein structure which has the effect of tenderizing.

Acid - I've always found my marinated flanks are more tender than without the marinade, but that could also be the salt. I suspect acid does have some involvement though have not confirmed scientifically.

The Cut - Take flank steak for example. Making sure to cut it against the grain in small strips will produce a far, far more tender cut than cutting with the grain. When using flank steak in a stir fry, I'll cut with the grain to get it into 2 inch strips and then cut against the grain into 1/4" thick strips x 2" long. This helps tremendously. Freezing the meat for about 30 minutes before you cut it makes the knife work a lot easier.

In short, use a lot of salt and acid and cut the steak correctly!

A.J.
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I've never used meat tenderizer or a needle thing, but I sometimes marinate beef, especially chuck, flank, and skirt steak. For French style, tend to marinate in wine. East Asian style, usually soy sauce or fish sauce
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Traditionally the meat tenderizers have contained MSG. It does add sodium. And is reported to cause "Chinese restaurant syndrome" in some individuals. But is probably ok.

Many people pound steak to tenderize it. Especially round steak. They make hammers for that purpose. But some merely hit is with blade of a knife. Home made cube steak is the net result.

Needles have been used to inject solutions into cuts of meat for quite a while. Its a way of selling water at steak prices. But of course you can add flavors and moisture. Hams are often treated this way. And you might suspect processed meats in commercial packages.

Tough cuts cooked slowly with lots of moisture can work very well. Boil in water until it almost falls apart. There are techniques like add a can of mushroom soup and seal in aluminum foil while you bake or roast it. Same principle.

They say restaurants have ovens equipped to inject steam into the oven. Adding water to the roasting pan can also help.
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In this case it's sirloins.

Small and neatly trimmed.

nag
who loves tenderloin...but not the price
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On Amazon I see there's a mechanical tenderizer - a push down contraption with lots of little sharp blades.
Has anyone used them?

Have a friend that was in the restaurant industry and mentioned 'needled' steaks used in restaurants.

Just wondering if that's the way to go instead of sprinkle on meat tenderizer?


There are a number of ways to tenderize meat prior to cooking it. One is to use that sprinkle on “meat tenderizer”, which is a mixture of salt, dextrose (a sugar) and papain, the enzyme from papaya which axe-u-lee does the tenderizing. One could marinate the meat in fresh pineapple juice, which also contains an enzyme that breaks down meat fibers and is acid which also helps. One can also beat it with a meat hammer, use one of them needle gismos or sous vide (https://theinspiredhome.com/articles/sous-vide-recipes-for-e... ) the meat prior to cookin it.

I suspect that the restaurant steaks were sprinkled with some meat tenderizer and then “needled” to get the tenderizer deep into the meat prior to sous vide-ing it at about 120 degrees F. Walmart had a “precision cooker” something like https://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-SSV800-Accu-Circulator/dp... that I bought 3 or 2 years ago but, so far, I only used to make flan and not steak.
;-)

C.J.V. - usually marinates my flank steak in a acid mixture after beating the he!! out of it with my meat hammer prior to grilling it, me
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A few ways to help tenderize a steak that I can think of:

Salt. Use a liberal amount and let the steak sit in the fridge for several hours. Excepting the papain enzyme written about above which I have no knowledge of, salt is one of the few things that can penetrate meat (fish, chicken (not through the skin), and others). Salting makes minor changes in the protein structure which has the effect of tenderizing.

Acid - I've always found my marinated flanks are more tender than without the marinade, but that could also be the salt. I suspect acid does have some involvement though have not confirmed scientifically.

The Cut - Take flank steak for example. Making sure to cut it against the grain in small strips will produce a far, far more tender cut than cutting with the grain. When using flank steak in a stir fry, I'll cut with the grain to get it into 2 inch strips and then cut against the grain into 1/4" thick strips x 2" long. This helps tremendously. Freezing the meat for about 30 minutes before you cut it makes the knife work a lot easier.

In short, use a lot of salt and acid and cut the steak correctly!

A.J.
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