How to tenderize beef

How to tenderize beef

Certain cuts of beef are tougher than others because of the muscle and connective tissue. High temperature and overcooking can cause any cut of beef to become tough because heat can cause the muscle fibers to contract. When the meat becomes too tough, you need to know how to tenderize cooked meat.

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Tenderize a tough roast that's already cooked by pounding it, cutting it against the grain, adding some marinade or commercial tenderizing agents or braising the meat. Reheat cooked beef to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce risk of harmful bacterial growth, as advised by the USDA.

Pound or Cut It Up

The basic methods for tenderizing beef make meat more tender — even cooked beef. Pounding the beef with a meat mallet can tenderize steak as it helps to break down the muscle fibers to make them softer.

Cutting against the grain — a common practice for flank steak and skirt steak — results in meat that's easier to chew, and it reduces the meat's toughness. Cutting the meat into small cubes or thin slices helps moisture and tenderizing products to work more effectively.

Add Marinade or Tenderizer

Marinating a tough steak or other piece of beef can make it more tender, according to Michigan State University. Choose marinades that are acidic, such as a marinade containing vinegar or citrus.

According to the USDA, beef can be marinated in the refrigerator for up to five days. Cut the cooked beef into thin strips to help the marinade penetrate the meat fibers to soften them.

Although commercial tenderizing products might help, they're less effective on cooked beef than raw meat. Their tenderizing improves exposed surfaces of the meat, so the middle will remain tough. Using an injector designed for marinades or tenderizer can help these solutions penetrate the meat.

Try Braising to Tenderize Steak

Braising breaks down the collagen, the tissue that connects to meat fiber. This results in softer meat. Braising requires adding moisture, such as broth, wine or ale, to the beef.

Adding vinegar to the liquid in a braising pot or other shallow cooking pot with a tightly fitting lid increases the tenderizing effect. It's important to simmer the meat slowly in the oven at lower temperatures because high heat can make the meat tougher, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Tips to Tenderize Cooked Meat

A braising pan or a shallow pot with a lid that fits tightly give the best results for braising. Deep pans allow more steam to form and dilute the meat stock. Using a slow-cooker appliance or simmering the beef in a skillet with a lid that fits also works for tenderizing cooked beef.

Thinly slicing or shredding the beef helps the meat break down faster. Braise or simmer it for at least two hours. Avoid dry cooking methods, such as frying or broiling, or using high-temperature cooking, as these methods can make the muscle fibers contract even more.

There’s not much that can compare to a bite of flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth filet or brisket. You can splurge on high quality beef and get that texture easily, but what about the day-to-day beef dinners that don’t entail a $20 steak? Here are 5 simple tricks to making tougher, more budget-friendly cuts delightfully tender.

There are several factors that contribute to the natural tenderness of a cut of beef, like the animal’s age, breed, diet, marbling, and the section from which the cut was taken. And, of course, whether or not you chose the right cut for the recipe you’re following.

If you're looking to make dinner with a cut that's not inherently tender, rest assured, you're in the right place. There are a handful of techniques for tenderization that can give your chewy hunk of meat the succulent texture of a high-quality cut. Here’s what you need to know to make an cut of beef the best you’ve ever had.

5 Techniques for Tenderizing Beef:

1. Physically break tough muscle fibers.

This is called mechanical tenderizing and there are a few ways to do it. Use a meat tenderizer or small mallet to break tough muscle fibers, by literally pounding the beef (you can wrap the cut in pieces of plastic wrap to keep this from getting messy). If you don’t own a mallet or tenderizer, use a fork to pierce holes into the surface of the beef to help a marinade absorb more quickly. You can also score the surface of the meat with a sharp knife. Simply make shallow slices across the surface of the steak in a crosshatch pattern on both sides. Your cuts will cut tough fibers and also aid in marinade absorption.

2. Marinate the meat.

A marinade is the best way to utilize acids and enzymes for your benefit in tenderizing. Acids assist in breaking down proteins, while enzymes relax and break down proteins. Acidic ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, and even yogurt have a low pH that can assist in tenderizing your beef. And naturally-occuring enzymes like papain in papayas and bromelain in pineapples can likewise help soften your steak. In fact, the powdered form of these enzymes are commonly used in commercial meat tenderizers. Salt is also frequently used in marinades to aid in moisture retention and help break down muscle components (and for flavor, of course). Get your marinade game on with this Do-It-All Marinade or a bright Citrus Marinade.

3. Let meat rest and account for carryover cooking.

Always let your beef rest after cooking and before slicing. We’ve all noticed that when we cook a piece of meat, it shrinks in size. That’s because the muscle fibers have tightened and water has moved within the meat. If you cut into the meat too soon, you will lose juicy goodness. Resting time allows the fibers to relax and allows the water to be reabsorbed back into the meat fibers, therefore retaining moisture and tenderness. Meat cooked at higher temps needs a longer resting period.

When you remove the meat from hight heat, it will continue to cook as it rests and cools down. This final stage in the cooking process is known as carryover cooking. Generally speaking, if you’re preparing a large roast or using high heat, you should remove the meat from the heat source 10 degrees before the goal temperature. For thinner cuts or moderate heat, remove the meat 5 degrees ahead of time. Just make sure you check the temperature before slicing and eating in order to make sure your in the safe zone.

4. Cut against the grain.

This is the simplest, smartest trick. Always make sure you cut against the grain (grain meaning the direction of the muscle fibers). This causes muscle and tissue fibers to be shortened and makes the meat easier more tender to chew.

5. Invest in high-quality steak knives.

Do yourself, and your company, a favor and purchase sharp, serrated knives. This makes beef easier to slice, which makes it seem more tender, if nothing else. Steak that cannot be cut into reasonable-sized bites is going to be more difficult to chew no matter how tender it is. And hey, you’ve made it to the table with your tenderized steak—don’t sell yourself short on the cutlery.

Use one or a combination of three preparation techniques

How to tenderize beef

You can buy tender cuts of meat and prepare them properly so they stay tender. But how do you take a tough (i.e. less expensive) cut of meat and make it tender?

There are three ways to do this. The one you should use depends on the type of meat and what made it tough in the first place.

Consider the Source

In general, exercise toughens muscles. What you know as meat is mostly muscle tissue. So the more exercise a muscle gets, the tougher the meat. That means that in the case of a steer, the big muscles around the legs and shoulders, which are used for locomotion and supporting the animal's weight, yield tougher cuts such as the chuck, the flank, and the round.

Muscles high up along the back and ribs get less exercise, so they produce the more tenderloin cuts. This is where the expression "high on the hog" comes from, but it applies equally to beef. Muscles also toughen with age, so a younger animal yields more tender meat.

Additionally, overcooking meat, even meat that comes from the more tender muscles, can make it tough. That’s because heat causes the proteins in the meat to firm up. Overcooking also basically squeezes the moisture out of the meat, making it dry as well as tough.

Distinguish Tough From Chewy

Tough meat can certainly be chewy. But toughness and chewiness are not really synonymous. Chewiness is related to connective tissue and the length of the muscle fibers.

Connective tissue can mean thick pieces of gristle in between muscles, or it can mean the sheets of fibrous collagen that surround muscle fibers. Either way, connective tissue is chewy. And it only gets chewier when it's cooked improperly.

Finally, not all muscles have the same structure. Muscles are composed of fibers, basically long strands of protein grouped together in bundles, that are in turn wrapped in sheaths of collagen. Some bundles have more fibers in them than others, making the grain of the meat coarser, such as with a brisket. Long, thick muscle fibers will be tougher to chew.

Tenderize Meat With Heat

Meat with a lot of connective tissue can be tenderized by cooking it until the collagen melts away, which starts to happen between 160 and 200 F. When the connective tissue melts, it turns into gelatin, which is soft and jiggly rather than tough and chewy.

This doesn't happen right away; it can take hours. Tenderizing in this manner requires patience, but your patience will be rewarded. Liquefied gelatin coats and surrounds the muscle fibers, giving the meat a moist, succulent texture—even though it's been cooked to well-done.

One of the main techniques for accomplishing this is braising. This is a moist-heat cooking technique by which meat is immersed at least partially in some sort of liquid that is then maintained at a gentle simmer for a period of time sufficient to break down the collagen.

Another method is a traditional barbecue: Air around the meat is heated to about 225 F it’s cooked for a long time, sometimes eight hours or more.

Either way, melting the collagen in meat tenderizes it and adds to the flavor.

Tenderize Meat With Brawn

You can also break down the collagen in meat with a mallet. This is a useful technique for tenderizing a steak. There are a number of fancy machines and tools to do this, but the most basic way is with a wooden or metal meat mallet.

Meat mallets usually have two surfaces—a flat side and a side with a lot of little points on it.

Pounding a steak with the pointy side of the mallet will cut up the connective tissues as well as the muscle fibers themselves. This allows a steak with a lot of connective tissue to be cooked over high heat without being too tough to eat.

Steaks tenderized like this are sometimes called cube steaks, because the indentations created by the mallet are shaped like cubes.

Cube steaks won’t be as succulent as braised beef chuck, for example, and you’ll certainly never mistake them for beef tenderloin. But pounding is a quick and easy way to tenderize a steak.

Pounding also has the advantage of flattening the meat, which allows it to cook more quickly and more evenly. The longer a steak spends over the heat, the drier it gets. And since dry meat is tougher, preserving the juices will produce a more tender steak.

Tenderize Meat With Finesse

Flank steak happens to have very long muscle fibers, and they run the length of the steak.

You could cook a flank steak perfectly medium rare, but if you sliced it along the grain, it would feel like you were chewing a mouthful of rubber bands.

Slicing against the grain shortens those fibers, which means much less work for your jaws and teeth. Fortunately, steaks that most need to be sliced against the grain are the ones with the most pronounced, visibly obvious grain, so you can easily tell which direction to slice. Even if it takes a moment to orient yourself, it's a moment well spent.

How to tenderize beef

What About Marinating?

Cook it, pound it, or slice it—that's it. Marinating was intentionally left out. One of the most common misconceptions is that you can tenderize a steak by marinating it. However, this simply isn't so. Although it's a great technique for adding flavor, marinating does not tenderize meat.

How to tenderize beef

If you have never thought of using baking soda to tenderize steak, it is a thing, lol. Many Chinese restaurants use baking soda as a meat tenderizer for sliced beef stir fry recipes. The thing is, there are. When I found this awesome video by Guga Foods, on YouTube, I was so excited because Guga walks you through several different methods of tenderizing steaks, and then he and his friend give you a real-life sampling of each one and a very informative critique of all at the end. It is very good to know that the best way to enhance the flavor of any cut of meat is to salt it and refrigerate it for 24 hours. The steak will become very red, tender, and full of flavor.

Ingredients For The Baking Soda Tenderized Steak:

  • Steak
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • A bowl of water


In this awesome video by Guga Foods, on YouTube, you will learn these wonderful things you can do to enhance the texture and flavor of cheap meat. You will begin by adding the baking soda, and or salt to your steak, then chill for 4 to 24 hours. Then, you will wash the substance off before cooking.

How to tenderize beef

Image By: Guga Foods Via YouTube

Then you will cook the meat, as you normally would.

How to tenderize beef

Image By: Guga Foods Via YouTube

This method of tenderizing works extremely well, I highly recommend it. All three combinations work extremely well, but I think I will only use the baking soda technique for tough beef that would go into a str fry type of dish.

Direct grilling or broiling London broil reduces the flavor and makes it dry. Know basic tips to tenderize London broil, and you can surely grill juicy and flavorful flank steak to complement your dinner menu.

Direct grilling or broiling London broil reduces the flavor and makes it dry. Know basic tips to tenderize London broil, and you can surely grill juicy and flavorful flank steak to complement your dinner menu.

How to tenderize beef

How to tenderize beef

London broil is actually a way of cooking beef, in which flank steak is marinated before broiling or grilling, and cut it into thin slices. However, it is colloquially used to refer to a cut portion of meat derived from the flank of a cow. Since cutting is made along the grain, and the muscle fibers are long, this flank steak is a tough, yet flavorful meat. Hence, the raw meat cut is first prepared to get tender and juicy dish, even after cooking in high heat.

Tips on Tenderizing a London Broil

In order to broil or grill a tasty London broil, you should select only fresh cuts having some amount of fats. These fats impart flavor to the meat, which otherwise becomes very dry after grilling or cooking in high temperatures. However, too much of fats is not good for health, and see to it that the meat cut you have purchased doesn’t contain excess fats. Tenderizing a London broil is done by beating with a meat tenderizer.

The basic method for meat tenderizing involves pounding it several times to soften the tough muscle fibers. Over here, what you need to do is lightly wrap the meat cut with two waxed papers and place over a cutting broad. Or, you can simply lay one paper at the bottom of the meat and another paper on top of it. Using a wooden meat mallet, beat the London broil evenly on both sides. Remove meat from the wax papers, and work on the next step for cooking. This method is all on how to quickly tenderize a London broil.

Tenderizing a London broil is incomplete, unless you marinate it overnight in the refrigerator with flavorful ingredients. Hence, the best way to make a London broil tender is by softening it with a meat mallet and then marinating it. The choice of marinade depends on your personal preference. You can try flavorful lemon basil mixture, spicy sauce or even a simple wine vinegar concoction for the purpose. But, what actually matters is the marinating time. Here’s how to tenderize a London broil for grilling.

Tip #1: Marinade Preparation

The basic ingredients for marinade are oil, an acidic solution and culinary herbs. For the oil, you can add olive oil or other regular vegetable oil, whereas lemon juice, wine and vinegar serve as excellent acidic ingredients. Options for culinary herbs include rosemary, garlic, onion and parsley. Also, add seasonings like dry mustard, ground pepper and ground chili to improve taste.

Tip #2: Meat Preparation

While working on the meat, unwrap a London broil and rinse it thoroughly under running tap water. Allow excess water to drain off from the cleaned steak. In the meantime, be ready with the marinade. Following this, sprinkle salt and ground pepper sparingly over the meat, and rub the seasoning with your fingers. With this, you are ready to marinade a London broil.

Tip #3: Marinade the London Broil

Indeed, you can make a lot of alterations in the flank steak marinade recipe to suit your taste buds. Many people prefer adding soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and Worcestershire sauce to the recipe ingredients. For marinating a London broil, add the salted meat in a resealable bag and pour marinade over it. Place this bag over a shallow pan and keep in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Remember to turn over the meat after some time.

Tip #4: Marinating Time

For many, ‘how long to marinate a London broil for tenderizing it’ is a common concern. Well, the ideal time is 8 hours or more in the fridge, while turning it over frequently after every few hours. But, if you have limited time, marinating meat for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator is sufficient to tenderize this flank streak. After the stipulated time, remove meat from the resealable bag and broil it. Read more on how to broil a London broil.

Whichever method you choose for cooking it, tenderizing a London broil is a preparatory step that you should proceed with, before actually cooking this meat cut for lunch or dinner. Following this, you can cook a London broil, either by grilling or broiling. The trick to prepare the best tasting London broil after tenderizing is to cook it till medium rare and not overcook it. While serving, cut meat across the grains to make thin slices and serve with a savory sauce and baked potatoes on the side.

We have discovered a new job for this multi-tasking kitchen staple.

If you have ever volunteered to cook the Thanksgiving turkey, you are probably familiar with the concept of brining; soaking the bird in a mixture of salt water and spices to impart tenderness and flavor. Using a dry brine, or rubbing the meat down with salt and dry spices and letting it air dry in the refrigerator, is also a popular method to gain the same results. Along with salt, however, there is another kitchen staple that you can use if you want to tenderize meats. Adding a solution of baking soda and water to meat creates a chemical reaction that guarantees a juicy burger and succulent chicken. Before you fire up the grill this weekend or brown your ground beef for a pot of chili, read on for a quick science lesson on how to tenderize any cut of meat you may cook.

Salt Encourages Water Retention

Soaking meat in a salty brine helps the meat muscles absorb more water, thus retaining moisture. Through a process called "denaturing," salt causes protein in the meat to uncoil and form strings, which link to water. Brining with a salt solution helps safeguard the meat from drying out when it's cooked.

Baking Soda Changes Chemistry

Using a solution of baking soda and water to tenderize meat works differently than using a brine. Baking soda neutralizes acid and raises the pH level on the surface of the meat, causing the outside of the meat to become more alkaline. This chemical reaction makes it more difficult for the proteins inside the meat to tighten up, and when proteins can't bond together, the meat stays tender when cooked instead of constricting and toughening up.

Baking Soda Solution Works Faster

Tenderizing with a baking soda solution is faster than using a saltwater brine. Meat only has to sit in a baking soda solution for 15 to 20 minutes, but a brine solution can take at least 30 minutes to start working. Plus, letting the meat sit longer in baking soda will not do any harm, whereas over-brining meat can make it stringy and mushy

WATCH: Honey Bourbon Glazed Ham

Use Less Baking Soda Than Salt

A standard brine for 1.5 lbs of meat calls for ¼ cup of salt dissolved in 1 quart of water. If using baking soda, make a solution of ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and a pint of water for 12 ounces of ground beef. 12 ounces of sliced meat, such as chicken and pork, take a teaspoon of baking soda in their solution.

Marinating meat in yogurt will change your life. Well, maybe not change your life but. at least how you think about marinating. Don’t believe me? Read on, dear reader.

Yogurt tenderizes meat much more gently and effectively than regular marinades. While acidic vinegar- or citrus-based marinades can toughen proteins like chicken breast to a rubbery consistency, yogurt slowly tenderizes them, resulting in meat that can practically be pulled apart by hand. Yogurt marinades are highly effective when left on proteins for an elongated period of time (in the 12 hour ball park), but they work well in short-term scenarios too.

That’s because yogurt marinades also create a uniquely-textured and flavorful crust around proteins, regardless of marinating time. Like all marinades, yogurt will be the first thing to cook when your meat is exposed to heat. The sugar in traditional marinades is the first thing to caramelize, but in yogurt, it’s dairy that caramelizes initially. Instead of a crispy, golden brown texture, you’ll get something else entirely. Sure, you’ll still have crispiness, but there will be an underlying softness (almost like a layer of insulation) from the caramelized dairy proteins and sugars. It makes a piece of tender, juicy meat that much more special.

Our favorite cooking method for yogurt-marinated proteins is grilling—there's something incredibly alluring about the combo of caramelized yogurt and smoke—but a high-heat oven roast or pan sear will also get the job done. It’s really up to you (and, you know, the weather).

And if you’re wondering what yogurt to use, we can help. Plain, unstrained yogurt is best (You definitely do not want any vanilla in there.). You can use Greek yogurt, but since it contains less moisture, you’ll need to loosen it with a little lemon juice or vinegar to properly coat your protein.

You can marinate a whole chicken in yogurt.

Now, you just need to decide what flavor profile you’re going for. Mixing in some ginger and lemongrass works beautifully. Taking a more Middle Eastern route, with cumin, ground chiles, garlic, and fresh herbs, is always a solid move. At the end of the day, the same flavor profiles you’d use with regular beef, lamb, chicken and pork marinades work with yogurt. And if your friends need convincing, don’t bother trying to use words. Just hand them a piece of grilled, yogurt-marinated chicken and tell them to take a bite. Trust.

How to tenderize beef

This Takeout Style Chinese Beef and Mushroom Stir Fry is so quick and easy to make at home and tastes better than takeout.

Tender flank steak is cooked with sliced mushrooms in a rich and delicious savory Chinese brown sauce. All made in well under 30 minutes. This is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy homemade takeout. Plus, I share my secret to getting the best and most tender beef at home.

If Chinese Beef and Mushroom is your favorite PF Changs or Panda express order, then this stir fry is going to be your new favorite simple dinner.

How to tenderize beef

Takeout Style Chinese Beef and Mushrooms at home

Making takeout style dishes at home is far simpler than many people think. I have quite a few on my site, and they all follow the same process.

  • Tenderize the meat and cut correctly.
  • Use authentic but easy to find ingredients.
  • Cook quickly in a suitable pan.

We’ll go over all of these points below, but if you are already a fan of a Sprinkles and Sprout takeout style dish, then you may have read it all before. So feel free to use the jump menu above or the jump to recipe button over to the left (it’s the purple circle with the pot on it).

Do you need a wok for Beef and Mushroom Stir Fry?

No. If you don’t have a wok, then you can still enjoy this dish!

Most household cooktops don’t have low sunk wok burners. You find these in commercial kitchens, so the chefs can get the wok really hot. But our standard household cooktops have flat burners; this means that at home, the flat base of a frying pan is better suited for high heat cooking than the round bottom of a wok.

We want to do everything we can to get as much heat into our stir fry as possible. So a flat bottomed frying pan/skillet will have the maximum amount of pan touching the burner and give you the best chance of high heat.

You can read more about this in my Takeout Style Beef and Broccoli post.

How to tenderize beef

How to make your beef tender like takeout beef?

I’m betting that when you order takeout, the beef (or chicken) is the most tender and softest meat you have ever eaten? They are not using the best and most expensive beef to get this super tender meat. They are using a cheaper cut and making it tender themselves! And it is a trick you can use at home!

The process is called velveting, and it makes the meat very soft and tender, almost like velvet.

There are a couple of ways to do this, but the easiest, and my favorite way, is to use baking soda.

Baking Soda is also called Bicarb, Bicarbonate of Soda, or Sodium Bicarbonate.

It is the white powder that you often use in baking. BUT don’t get it muddled with baking powder, that won’t tenderize your meat and will make everything slimy.

To tenderize your beef, you sprinkle it with baking soda, stir to coat and then let it sit for 15 minutes. Then really rinse the beef well under cold running water. You want to remove every trace of baking soda.

After that, pat the beef dry, and you are ready to start stir-frying. You can read more about the science of tenderizing meat with baking soda in my post for Takeout Style Chicken and Snow Pea.

How to tenderize beef

What cut of beef is best for Chinese beef and mushrooms?

I love to use flank steak or skirt steak in stir-frys. Flank steak and skirt steak represent excellent value for money and can be so delicious, and if prepared correctly, the meat is so tender and just melts in your mouth.

We talked above about velveting the beef for super tender meat, but how you cut the beef can also change the texture.

The trick to cutting flank steak/skirt steak (in fact, ANY steak) is to find the way the grain of the meat runs and then cut across the grain. This smart cutting technique allows the meat to just fall apart in your mouth.

Check out the picture below for an easy visual, see how in the first picture you can see the lines in the meat – this is the grain. We want to cut across that, as shown in the second photo.

How to tenderize beef

How to get the authentic takeout taste

If you have ever made a stir fry at home and been disappointed with the flavor, the chances are that the recipe you followed was missing a couple of authentic ingredients that can change your stir fry from meh to marvelous.

For this Beef and Mushroom dish, you will need two important authentic ingredients. These will add something special to the sauce and make you want to lick the bowl!

But don’t worry, these ingredients are easy to find in the Asian section of your grocery stores, plus they are readily available online.

Oyster sauce – a thick, rich brown sauce that adds so much depth and a good hit of Chinese saltiness. You can buy it in grocery stores across the world now. (Lee Kum Kee Panda brand is my favorite)

Chinese Cooking Wine – also known as Chinese Rice Wine, Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine, Shaoxing wine or Shaoxing Cooking Wine. You can find this in most grocery stores in the Asian section. Just don’t get it confused with rice wine vinegar. If you can’t find Chinese Cooking Wine, just use dry sherry or sake if you have it.

How to tenderize beef

Top tips for making Chinese Beef and Mushroom

  • Tenderize the beef in baking soda (see above for detailed pictures)
  • Prepare your vegetables before you start cooking. Chinese stir-frying is fast cooking, so you need everything prepped before you start.
  • For an authentic takeout flavor, buy two great Chinese ingredients (you can find them in the grocery store or online). They will make ALL the difference to the taste of the finished dish.
  • Use cold stock in your sauce to ensure you don’t get lumps when mixing in the cornstarch/cornflour.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together in a measuring cup before you start cooking. But remember to whisk it well before you add it to the pan.
  • For the best heat use a flat bottom frying pan/skillet (see above for why a wok isn’t always the best option)

For other takeout style recipes:

Pin this recipe for Takeout Style Chinese Beef and Mushroom. Pin it here.

Smoked beef recipes are numerous, as are the cuts of meat available. You can smoke a large roast, individual steaks, ribs, burgers, and meatloaf. Smoking in a Masterbuilt Smoker is a perfect cooking method for those tougher or chewier cuts of beef, including brisket and chuck roast. Cooking low and slow softens the muscle fibers and helps the meat to remain moist. Our dry rubbed tri-tip recipe is a good starting point to test out your beef smoking skills.

Impart Flavor

There is no rule for flavors when it comes to beef. Ribeye or filet mignon steaks don’t require much more than extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Yet, both can benefit from an herb pesto or a cheese sauce when serving. Try our easy ribeye steak recipe with 2 sauces.

When it comes to tougher cuts of beef that require longer cooking times I recommend seasoning the meat generously with a dry rub of herbs, spices, and a bit of sugar. Allow the meat to sit after seasoning for 30 to 60 minutes. Or, you could brine certain cuts of beef to tenderize and flavor them. An example of brined beef would be corned beef. This is a brisket that has been soaked in a salt water solution for a week or more.

Pay Attention to Timing and Temperature

There are different rules of thumb for cook times and temperatures of the various cuts of beef. For the pricier cuts and for hamburgers you will want to smoke at approximately 225°F for 45 to 90 minutes until the internal temperature reaches between 125°F for medium rare and 150°F for medium well.

Less expensive roasts can be smoked between 225°F and 250°F for 6 hours or longer. The internal temperature should be a minimum of 160°F and as high as 190°F. The longer smoke time and higher internal temperature will help to break down the tissue and will result in a less chewy sliced or shredded roast. This is great for sandwiches. Try the smoked, seasoned chuck roast recipe.

Always Rest the Smoked Beef

After the smoking is finished, remove the steaks or roast to a clean cutting board and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving or serving. Don’t skip this step as it allows for the juices to be reabsorbed and the meat will not dry out.

How to tenderize beef

Boiled meat can make a tender and juicy stew or pot roast. Tough cuts of beef are tenderized through a slow cooking process using a small amount of liquid in a covered pot. Cooking with moist heat will not only make meat tender but also increase the digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients.

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When boiling beef, simmer the liquid rather than cooking at a full boil. Your meat will cook more slowly and may take longer, but will be tender, tastier and retain more nutrients.

Boiling a Roast to Tenderize

If you're using a budget-friendly cut of beef to prepare a roast, cooking with moist heat is an effective way to tenderize the meat. Connective tissue proteins, such as collagen and elastin, control the toughness of muscle tissue. They are broken down and shrink from exposure to heat, according to an article published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety in January 2018. This makes the meat easier to chew and digest.

Some cuts of beef that are appropriate for boiling and braising include the chuck, flank, shank, brisket, rump and round, according to Certified Angus Beef. One of the most popular uses for boiled meat is for beef pot roast, which is usually made with added vegetables and cooked in a liquid containing spices, herbs, soy sauce or other flavorings.

Boiling as a method of cooking may not be suitable for ground meats because the fibers have already been broken down. Making a boiled meatloaf or boiled meatballs using this technique would likely produce less than desirable results.

A study published in the Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences in February 2018 has found that boiling meat reduced the fat content but retained more moisture than roasting meat. However, as the temperature increased, boiled meat lost more weight and had an increase in saturated fats, while the total monounsaturated fatty acid content decreased.

Cooking It Right

The time required to tenderize beef by boiling depends on the size and weight of the piece of meat, in addition to the cooking temperature. A roast, such as a brisket or a shoulder, will take longer than cut-up pieces of stewing meat.

To boil a roast, cooking it slowly is the key to a fork-tender result. A medium-sized 6-pound roast will take about four hours. Here are some suggestions for your next Sunday pot roast:

  • Put a small amount of water in the bottom of a large pot. To tender the meat, add an acid to the cooking water, such as a splash of lemon juice, some chopped tomatoes or Worcheshire sauce.

Does Boiled Meat Lose Nutrients?

All cuts of beef contain similar amounts of macronutrients. According to the USDA, a beef pot roast provides almost 98 calories per slice (63 grams). Rich in protein, beef offers 18.3 grams per slice without any carbs, fiber or sugar. The total fat content is 2.7 grams, including 1 gram of saturated fatty acids.

Meat contains all the essential amino acids that your body needs for energy. Amino acids make up the protein needed to build, maintain and repair your tissues. Each serving of beef provides numerous minerals and vitamins. As per the USDA, some of the most important nutrients include:

Iron – 1.8 milligrams

Phosphorus – 112 milligrams

Zinc – 2.8 milligrams

Selenium – 17 milligrams

Vitamin B12 – 0.77 micrograms

Thiamin – 0.02 milligrams

Riboflavin – 0.2 milligrams

Niacin – 2.6 milligrams

Vitamin B6 – 0.2 milligrams

Cooking time and temperature play an important role in the final characteristics of meat. Cooking doesn't significantly alter the protein value of meat unless you use a high temperature for a long period of time. Doing so can slightly decrease the protein's biological value, according to the American Meat Science Association (AMSA).

By boiling beef in liquid, some nutrients may be reduced. According to the Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety report, 100 percent of thiamin is lost in beef brisket boiled at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. AMSA says that meat cooked at lower internal temperatures usually retains more thiamin than meat cooked at higher temperatures.

Additionally, 84 percent of the B-vitamins riboflavin and niacin are lost by boiling meat, reports _Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safet_y. Boiling beef affects the mineral content by decreasing sodium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium while increasing the levels of iron and zinc.

Learn how to make Chinese restaurant quality Beef & Broccoli at home!

How to tenderize beef

How to tenderize beef

How to tenderize beef

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years – as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

Broccoli & Beef is believed to originate from a Chinese dish called "Gai Lan Chao Niu Rou" (芥兰炒牛肉)- also known as Chinese Broccoli Fried Beef. Early Chinese immigrants could not find Gai Lan (Chinese variant of broccoli) in the US and so the broccoli that we know today became an easy substitute.

It is believed that the first versions of the dish were prepared by Chinese immigrants who had settled in San Francisco sometime after the 1920's when broccoli was introduced by immigrants from Messina.

Fun fact: Broccoli became popular in the US around that time as well! Over time, this recipe became popular all around the world for its nutrition and tender beef texture.

Here's my dad's recipe where you can make Chinese restaurant-level Broccoli & Beef in your own kitchen!

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Everyone gravitates to the Tenderloin when thinking of tender beef. Smart Chefs can save money and create tender tasty meals with some less well known and less sought after cuts. The following 7 muscles are some of the most tender in the steer.

How to tenderize beef

The 7 most tender muscles are not all merchandised separately and can often be bought at a discount as part of a larger Sub-Primal Cut and then butchered or trimmed to make a portion.

Smart Kitchen's Lesson 7: Beginning Proteins, Topic 3: Beef does a good job of skimming through the basics and then using resource pages to delve into the specifics of different tender and tough beef cuts.

Fifteen of the 22 most tender beef muscles are ranked as being of "intermediate tenderness. As with the 7 most tender, you can find these intermediately tender beef muscles in various Sub-Primal or portion cuts, sometimes selling at a discount because the rest of the shopping public has not "boned-up" on their beef cuts.

How to tenderize beef

Because the beef steer is a heavy ambulatory animal, certain muscles do a lot of work moving the bovine body from place to place, which means that a good portion of the beef steer is comprised of tough muscles. The next 18 beef muscles were rated as tough by both scientific measures and in blind taste tests by consumer panels.

How to tenderize beef

Being tough does not mean that the resulting meat is un-useable just that the meat needs special care to be as palatable as possible. Tenderizing Meat as well as selecting the proper Cooking Techniques to tenderize tougher cuts are ways that chefs reduce waste and make the most of the product at hand. Join Smart Kitchen, "The Smartest Way to Learn to Cook™" and learn them all.

The source for the results displayed above is the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Study "Ranking of Beef Muscles for Tenderness" by Calkins & Sullivan of the University of Nebraska using Warner-Bratzler Shear Force Test.

Adobo in Spanish word adobar means to marinade, sauce or seasoning before cooking. It is a Filipino national dish of Pork or Chicken and Beef stewed in vinegar. The delicious flavor and preserving qualities of “Adobo” makes the dish more popular not only in the Philippines but also around the world. The word Adobo is also used in Mexican and Caribbean cuisine. The Mexican version uses a thick paste made from dried chilies, herbs and vinegar and added to the meat. While the Caribbean Adobo uses all-purpose adobo blend made with garlic, oregano and other savory spices for marinating chicken, meat, and fish.

How to tenderize beef

Beef Adobo Recipe (Adobong Baka)

How to tenderize beef

5 from 1 reviews

Adobo in Spanish word “adobar” means to marinade, sauce or seasoning before cooking. It is a Filipino national dish of Pork or Chicken and Beef stewed in vinegar. The delicious flavor and preserving qualities of “Adobo” makes the dish more popular not only in the Philippines but also around the world.

  • Author: Pilipinas Recipes
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 1 x
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Filipino


  • 500 grams beef, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3 pieces bay leaves(Laurel)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt to taste


  1. In a pot, combine beef, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns brown sugar, and soy sauce.
  2. Marinate for an hour or overnight in the fridge.
  3. Pour water then simmer on a low heat for 40 minutes or until beef is tender.
  4. Pour vinegar and simmer for another 5 minutes then season with salt and sugar according to taste.
  5. Cook until the sauce is almost absorbed and start to render oil.
  6. Transfer to a serving plate then serves with rice.


This video shows another recipe for beef adobo.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 229
  • Sugar: 6.2 g
  • Sodium: 825 mg
  • Fat: 6.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3.4 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.8 g
  • Fiber: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 32.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 89.5 mg

Keywords: beef stew, marinated beef, traditional

Did you make this recipe?

The most basic ingredient of “Adobo” is vinegar which is usually rice vinegar or coconut vinegar. Adding vinegar tenderizing tough meat and tend to brighten the flavor of an almost dish. The acid content and tangy flavor make excellent ingredients for marinating the meat, fish, poultry and even vegetables. While choosing the meat, the less expensive cuts of the meat are perfect for casserole as the slow-cooking process to tenderize the meat.

Beef Adobo Recipe & Preparation (Summary)

How to tenderize beef

One variety of cooking Adobo is the Adobong Baka also known as Beef Adobo. Our Philippine’s beef is hard to cook, so we tend to boil it much longer than other meat. This is the simple ways of cooking this Beef Adobo Recipe. Slice the beef in cube first then combine all ingredients, such as water, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorn, bay leaves and brown sugar. Marinate the beef for about an hour or overnight inside the fridge to enhance the flavor. Bring to boil and simmer over medium heat for about 30-45 minutes until beef is tender. You can add water if necessary and scoop out the scum that rises. Add in chilies, season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer until the sauce is almost dry and thick.

It is usually over a bowl of white rice to absorb the deliciously tangy sauce.

PS: Ideas and Suggestions to improve this recipe are much appreciated. Just comment below. Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook Page for more Free Filipino Recipes. Search “Pilipinas Recipes” on Facebook or simply click this LINK. Thank You!

St. Patrick’s Day is in a couple of days, so you know what that means. . . Let’s get feastin’!

  • By Jackie Sun
  • March 15, 2015

Admittedly, we don’t deck ourselves out in shamrocks, but we sure do appreciate some good ol’ comforting Irish food. Which is why for St. Paddy’s Day this year, we’re sticking with a classic recipe for Irish Beef Stew.

Last year, we featured a recipe for Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie, which was so popular, it reappeared as a ‘favorite’ in one of our meal plans. We don’t have any doubt that this year, this beef stew will become another winner dinner.

What’s not to like about chunks of tender, slow-cooked beef, carrots, potatoes, and onions infused with not just Guinness, but red wine as well?

How to tenderize beef

There’s a bit of a pro and con to this dish, though. The con is that, since this is a slow cooker recipe, you will have to put your patience to the test as the warm and delicious smells waft around the house. We know, it’s going to be hard, but trust us – it will be so worth it. Beef requires a long time to get super tender, which is why we decided to make this in the slow cooker.

But when you taste the meat in all its fall-apart-tender-and-flavorful glory, you’ll see that slow cooker was definitely the way to go.

The pro to this dish, like with all slow cooker meals, is that you toss all the ingredients in and let the slow cooker do all the work, while you worry about more important things.

Or you can just relax with a glass of Guinness or red wine. Because, you know, the recipe doesn’t call for a full bottle of each!


Here’s a quick way to add some green to this dish: When the stew is done cooking, pop frozen peas into the microwave for one minute, then fold into the stew.

Prepping Smarts

  • Meat should be tenderized to ensure that it is tender and will absorb all the great flavors it is cooked in. Watch our quick tenderizing method in the video below.
  • Practice your knife skills by chopping onions, carrots, and potatoes. If they’re not perfect, it’s okay; they’ll have that tasty, rustic look!

How to Season & Tenderize Proteins with a Fork

Maximize flavor and tenderize proteins with this little trick.

How to Slice an Onion

Learn the most efficient way to slice, dice, and chop onions so that your prep always goes smoothly.

How to Chop Carrots

Watch this video to learn our tips on how to best peel, chop, and dice carrots easily.

How to Prep Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a delicious nutritional powerhouse – learn how to prep them in this video.

Equipment Smarts

    – gives meat a good sear if you decide to brown the meat first. Browning the meat before adding to the slow cooker enhances the savory and meaty flavor. This step is optional, but if you have the time and don’t mind washing an extra dish, we say go for it! – a great investment and gets a ton of use during the colder seasons. This one allows you to sear meats on the stove top first, so you won’t have to use an extra skillet.

For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools

Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew

In honor of St. Paddy’s Day, we’re bringing you a classic Irish Stew, cooked in your slow cooker. Whether you add the Guinness and / or wine or not, you’ll still be left with a lot of heartiness to warm you on cold nights.

In some of our recipes, meat is treated with baking soda dissolved in water to keep it tender. What happens if you leave the solution on the meat longer than the 15 to 20 minutes we call for?

Briefly soaking meat in a solution of baking soda and water raises the pH on the meat’s surface, making it more difficult for the proteins to bond excessively, which keeps the meat tender and moist when it’s cooked. Our recipes, such as our Vietnamese-Style Caramel Chicken with Broccoli, typically call for a 15- to 20-minute treatment, but what if your dinner prep is interrupted and that time is doubled or even tripled?

To find out if a soak longer than 15 to 20 minutes would do more harm than good, we treated 12 ounces each of ground beef, sliced chicken breast, and sliced pork with baking soda—¼ teaspoon for the beef and 1 teaspoon for the sliced meats—for different lengths of time before cooking them. We were surprised to find that samples that were treated for 45 minutes were identical to those treated for only 15 minutes.

Here’s why: The acid/base reaction happens very quickly and does not build much over time. In fact, when we weighed the samples of treated ground beef before and after cooking, we found that the sample that had been treated for 45 minutes retained a mere 3 percent more moisture when cooked than meat that was treated for only 15 minutes.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Fifteen minutes is long enough to reap the benefits of a baking soda treatment, but don’t worry if your dinner prep gets interrupted and you have to extend that time a bit.

A 15-minute (or slightly longer) stint in a combination of water and baking soda keeps meat tender and moist when it's cooked.

Published: May 10, 2021 · Modified: May 10, 2021 · by Khin · This post may contain affiliate links.

Easy Beijing Beef Recipe – tender beef with crispy coating and tossed in Panda Express style sauce. Spicy, sweet, and savoury at the same time and made with simple cupboard friendly ingredients.

Super budget-friendly and taste way better than regular take out dishes. Learn how to make at home with our easy step by step instructions.

How to tenderize beef

What is Beijing Beef Panda?

Beijing beef is an Americanize Chinese dish, crispy beef slices tossed in bell pepper, onions, and sweet & tangy sauce. One of the most popular beef dish on the menu of Panda Express American-Chinese fast food restaurant. Another name for Beijing beef is Peking beef, as Peking is a former name of Beijing City in China.

What is your favourite Chinese takeaway beef recipe? Here is our website’s most viewed crispy beef recipes you might like to try out:

    ( UK Chinese restaurants and takeaway favourite chilli beef recipe. ) ( Must try shredded beef steak tossed in sweet and savoury sauce. ) ( Crispy fried beef strips tossed with Chinese salt and pepper seasonings. )

How to tenderize beef

Here is the ingredients you will need:

Beef marinade:

How to tenderize beef

Most beef steak cut works well for this recipe, we usually use flank steak, ribeye, rump or sirloin steak. Always cut the beef against the grain to get the tender result and marinate with simple basic ingredients, soy sauce, white pepper powder, sugar, sesame oil, and baking soda.

Baking soda: Adding baking soda in the beef marinade tenderize the meat and you will achieve the melt-in-mouth restaurant quality crispy beef.

Why do you add egg white in the coating? Egg white prevent the beef slices soft and tender, even though the corn starch coating is still crispy outside.

It’s important to marinade the beef slices before deep frying to prevent the beef from getting tough and dry.

You can swap the beef with chicken and make it a crispy Beijing chicken. Or to make it vegetarian, add tofu slices instead of meat and no need to marinade tofu. Simply season it with salt and pepper and coat with corn starch, then deep fry until the coating is crispy.

Sauces, vegetables and ingredients for stir fry:

How to tenderize beef

As this is a very versatile dish, you don’t need to add exactly same vegetables or sauces. Adjust the sauces amount according to your preference and swap or add any of your favourite stir fry vegetables.

To bring a bit of heat to the dish I add fresh red chilli slices. You can also add dried red chilli flakes or you can omit the chilli if you wish to make it less spicy.

Hoisin sauce:
Hoisin sauce is made of fermented bean paste, sugar, sweet potato and Chinese spices. It has a sweet, savoury and salty taste. You don’t need to use much, a tablespoon of sauce can bring the aromatic flavour. If you can’t easily get hoisin sauce, substitute with oyster sauce for this this recipe.

How to tenderize beef

How to serve this dish

You can have on it’s own with your favourite drink or serve it up with steamed rice, egg fried rice or simple stir fry noodles. Pair it with Hot and Sour Soup, Crispy Fried Wonton, or Chicken Fried Rice and make it a wholesome Chinese banquet dinner. Your dinner guests will definitely amazed by your Chinese cooking skills.

How to tenderize beef

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