You can increase the tenderness and juiciness of your steak or other meat by marinating it. Place the steak in a ziplock bag, pour in enough marinade to just cover it, and refrigerate overnight. Marinating a steak like this will add flavor and tenderness.
If you store steak or other meats in the freezer before cooking, try pouring the marinade over the steak before freezing. The steak will marinate when thawing and be tender and ready to cook.
Try a marinade made of ½ cup each good wine and olive oil mixed with 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice or a herb vinegar. Add any aromatic seasonings that you like such as garlic, freshly ground pepper, onion, or herbs. The acid from the juice or vinegar will tenderize the meat. The oil and wine add flavor and preserve juiciness.
Here is an example to get you started.
Red Wine and Tarragon Vinegar Marinade
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 onion, minced
1 carrot, sliced fine
1 whole clove
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
20 peppercorns, crushed
4 sprigs parsley
Mix all together and pour over meat. Marinate for up to 24 hours.
There are meat tenderizers available to sprinkle onto your steak, and they certainly do tenderize the meat; however, meat tenderizers can sometimes over tenderize the meat, changing the texture of the meat into mush. If you should choose to go this route, do it carefully.
Cooking Your Steak
When ready to cook, slash through the outside fat layer on the steak in a few places to prevent curling, but do not cut into the meat. The more tender steak cuts can be broiled, grilled, or pan fried. Less tender cuts should be pan fried or slow braised. Steak should never be cooked in liquid. When pan broiling, use a very heavy skillet such as an iron skillet or griddle and heat the pan before adding the meat. The heavy metal will hold the heat for proper heat distribution and not cool down when the steak is added. A hot pan will quickly sear the outside, trapping the moisture inside.
When cooking, try to turn the steak only once. Cook the meat until browned on one side and half done, then turn and finish the other side. Turning too often will stew the meat rather than searing it and produce a less juicy steak. When the steak is done, remove from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.
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Diane Watkins is a traditional southern style cook. She enjoys cooking, teaching, and writing about good food and family. For more information on southern cooking and recipes visit her website at Easy Southern Cooking