How To: Make less expensive cuts of meat tender

Make less expensive cuts of meat tender

You don't need to pay filet mignon prices to get melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. You just need to know a few tricks. Learn how to make less expensive cuts of meat tender. No need to spend the big bucks on fancy steak.

Step 1: Rub with papaya
Briskly rub the inside skin of a fresh papaya on both sides of steaks and chops, then cover the meat with the papaya skins and refrigerate for two hours. Papain, an enzyme in unripe papaya, is the main ingredient in many commercial meat tenderizers.

Step 2: Marinate meats before grilling
Before grilling meat, use an acidic marinade to break down the meat's tough fibers. Vinegar, wine, salad dressing, and citrus juice all qualify. Pour the marinade in a plastic bag or shallow dish – never aluminum, which can affect taste. Add the meat, and let sit in the fridge for an hour. Use enough marinade to cover the meat.

Step 3: Soak roasts in wine
Pour red or white wine over roasts and let them sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before cooking.

Step 4: Soften liver
Soften liver by soaking it in milk for two hours, or in tomato juice for three hours, in the fridge. Pat it dry before cooking.

Step 5: Pound it into submission
Use a meat mallet to pound less tender cuts of meat, like bottom round, cube, and flank steaks.

Step 6: Soak in cola
After roasting it for about 30 minutes, take a ham out of the oven and pour a can of regular cola, not diet, over it. Return it to the oven and finish cooking. Along with tenderizing it, it caramelizes the crust and neutralizes saltiness. You can also use cola to tenderize brisket, skirt steaks, pot roast, and short ribs.
*Tip: Try ginger ale on tough cuts; fresh ginger contains an enzyme that tenderizes meat.

Step 7: Add vinegar to stews
Include a tablespoon of vinegar in any stew recipe that uses inexpensive cuts of meat.

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