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  1. #1
    Bishop's Avatar
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    Tough meat, gross meat

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    What is the best way to make meat tender?

    I like steak to be rare, but it seems the beef I buy at traders or WF is tough as heck. I don't know how to prepare it without over cooking. Does marinating and letting it sit a few days in the fridge help?

    I spent all of my 20's as a vegetarian, and now in my 30's I don't know how to cook meat.
    One problem is I don't really know anyone who can cook worth a damn. The only good steak I have had was cooked by a carnivore cousin on a grill. I don't have a grill as I live in an apartment.
    I can literally only manage a turkey or a chicken, since those are pretty straight forward.
    I would live to try pork, but it tastes horrible every time I have it. I think the people who prepare it must be ruining it. It's always dry and tastes like sawdust in my mouth. I tried making a pork roast in my crockpot. It was dry and didn't taste very good.
    I recall liking the fatty chops my grandmother made when I was a kid, but I can't find anything like that around here and have no idea how to cook them. I am so tired of ruining expensive food.
    This is just awful. I am an awesome vegetarian cook.
    But no matter what my meat sucks!

    I am pregnant right now and I am seriously fantasizing about a bloody hunk of beef, but I know if I they to cook the ribeye in my fridge, it is going to be aweful.
    I know how to season everything, it's the texture I can't get.

  2. #2
    gunnk's Avatar
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    Sorry you don't have a grill! That's a big help.

    Even so, look at grilling tips online. Most will tell the same things: let the steak warm a bit on the counter before cooking so you don't overcook the outside while the middle stays cold. Don't overcook it -- it takes less time than you think -- but use lots of heat. You want to sear the exterior a bit to seal in juices. After grilling... er, cooking... let it rest a few minutes.

    Most of that advice should work inside as well. Just make sure you use the vent fan so you don't set off a smoke alarm.
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  3. #3
    Bishop's Avatar
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    I have a cast iron pan with the grill lines In it. It isn't properly seasoned yet though.
    What I also need is a bunch of hungry nonpicky people to eat up all of my experimenting while I cultivate meat cooking skills.

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    Darwin17's Avatar
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    No grill....no problem! If you have an oven you can still make a fantastic steak and it is easy!

    Season the steak how you like it....and let it sit out of the fridge for about 30 min. This is to let the meat come to room temp and this helps because if you start cooking a cold steak you will heat up the outside before the inside even has a chance to cook...not good for a tender steak.

    Now for the fun part and this will create smoke but it will make for a killer steak with no grill.

    Turn on the oven broiler and let it come to temp and put the rack in the oven on the top position.

    Take the steak and put in on your pan or whatever you want to cook it in and pop it in the oven under the broiler.

    I like med. rare so I cook it about 4 min. a side

    Once done cooking put the steak on a plate or something and let it rest 5-10min....what happens is the heat puts pressure on all the water in the steak and it gets pushed away from the heat. If you cut it then the pressure will force the water out of the meat. Letting the steak rest is very important as when the steak cools down a bit the water will redistribute itself through the steak and you get a nice juicy steak for your patience.

  5. #5
    quelsen's Avatar
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    Tender is about the cut.

    Tender: Ribeye. Porterhouse, Strip, Sirloin Tip, Filet
    NOT TENDER: Flank, Round, Flat Iron

    Tender = Fat content

    the not tender cuts require LOW AND SLOW cooking
    the tender cuts do well with SEAR
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  6. #6
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    You can cut down on the smoke if you use the broiler method by putting one of those deep roasting pans filled with salt underneath the steak. The salt will catch the drippings and prevent them from smoking (thanks America's Test Kitchen).

    Make sure you are slicing your meat against the grain. This will make it much more tender. For steaks, cook quickly over high heat. For roasts, cook slowly over low heat (to break down the collagen and make it more tender).

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    Nion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quelsen View Post
    Tender is about the cut.

    Tender: Ribeye. Porterhouse, Strip, Sirloin Tip, Filet
    NOT TENDER: Flank, Round, Flat Iron

    Tender = Fat content

    the not tender cuts require LOW AND SLOW cooking
    the tender cuts do well with SEAR
    This.
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  8. #8
    AndreaReina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quelsen View Post
    Tender is about the cut.

    Tender: Ribeye. Porterhouse, Strip, Sirloin Tip, Filet
    NOT TENDER: Flank, Round, Flat Iron

    Tender = Fat content

    the not tender cuts require LOW AND SLOW cooking
    the tender cuts do well with SEAR
    Fat content is actually a pretty poor indicator of tenderness: chuck, one of the fattier cuts, is quite tough unless cooked low and slow. The real determinant of tenderness is how much work the muscle does; the more work, the more collagen, the tougher it is (collagen is what "glues" the muscle together, more or less). Under the application of heat and time, collagen renders into gelatin making a previously tough and dry cut unctuous and fall-of-the-bone tender. In fact this is mechanism behind the texture of pulled pork, lamb/beef shank, brisket, most stews.... The great thing about these cuts is that they are inexpensive yet are relatively simple to coax big flavor out of.

    Cooking is best learned with someone who knows what they're doing. Do you have a friend/relative who's a good cook, and also has the patience to teach well? If you do I can't recommend enough that you convince them to teach you -- they'll probably accept you buying ingredients for a meal for the two of you. If such a friend is not available, a cooking class/workshop of some sort would be a good second option if you can find one for what you want to cook and the price is reasonable.

  9. #9
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    You should google: Braising Meat. Simple, effective, super tender and nothing fancy involved. What is easier than leaving a 7 bone roast or a slab of chuck roast in the oven with some onions and 2 cups of beef broth for 4 hours? Forget grilling... not that it is not a skill you should eventually learn... but if you are having trouble with tough cuts (which are usually cheaper and full of flavor) i would suggest giving this method a try.

  10. #10
    Bishop's Avatar
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    Ok, so I think I got it right this time!

    I left a ribeye on a plate on the counter for about two hours because it was taking a long time to get to room temp.
    I heated my pan super hot and seared the steak two minutes on each side then plated it and let it sit. It sat too long since we lost power and I went to investigate. But when I dug in, it was delicious! I only used salt and pepper as seasoning before cooking.
    My husband would have been so disgusted. Haha. He hates beef.
    Thanks for all your replies.

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