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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

How do you cook steak that is so tender you can cut it with a fork?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) August 21st, 2010

In the past I have had steak so tender and juicy you could cut it with a fork and it practically melted into your tongue. When asked how it was done none of these “home chefs” were giving up the secret. Do you know a way to cook a steak like that? If you were to cooking what prep would you do?

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26 Answers

gypsywench's avatar

It also depends on the cut of beef. Top round tends to be tougher. I like to use sirloin or my favorite filet mignon. With the sirloin I like a thicker cut. I season with olive oil and garlic salt, crushed pepper. I use a grill pan with a little bit of olive oil in it. The pan super hot, I grill each side for about 3 minutes, after turning the steak I put a little bit of butter on top of it while the other side is cooking. Personally I enjoy my steak medium rare. You can also use a steak mallet. I almost forgot. It’s good to dry the steak prehand with a paper towel. This helps it brown nicely. If you like it well done, don’t over cook the steak. It will only dry out.

Nullo's avatar

I’ve found, during my stint as a flesh carbonizer, that there’s a point past “well done” but before “burnt” when the meat is tender enough that its own weight is enough to cause it to separate.
I’ve never tried it with steak, just chicken and ribs. It probably would work differently in a home kitchen: all of my ovens have about two or three gallons of water at the bottom.

You might try using a slow cooker and lots of sauce.

ipso's avatar

1 – Get a great quality cut of beef; fresh
2 – Don’t overcook it
3 – Let the meat rest for 4–5min covered after you’ve cooked it to “juice up”.

With a roast, just cover it and let it sit in a Dutch Oven with 3” of coke/beer/soy/etc. marinade until it falls off the bone.

rooeytoo's avatar

Of course the cut is important also what the beef was fed, how it was slaughtered, how long was it aged, all contribute. I think too often the meat you get in restaurants has a ton of tenderizer on it, this breaks down the fiber in the meat and makes it less chewy. Last but not least is how it is cooked, for steak medium rare is usually the optimum for tenderness.

When’s dinner???

ragingloli's avatar

You give it a good hard hammering before you cook it.
This will destroy the fibres of the meat and make it softer.
Put some foil over it, take a pan, and hit it hard, hit it often.

zophu's avatar

hammer + moisture + heat, I think. There’s also enzymes that break down meat that’s put into tenderizing products, I think.

BarnacleBill's avatar

The cut of meat and cooking time are key.

MissAusten's avatar

It depends on the cut of meat. A good filet mignon can just be grilled to medium, seasoned however you like, and be very tender all on its own.

Other cuts of steak, I marinate for a couple of days in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and chopped fresh garlic. The acidity in the marinate also helps to tenderize the meat. Then I’m just careful not to overcook it.

Cheaper (ie tougher) cuts of meat have to be cooked slowly at a low temp or braised. At our grocery story, there’s a label on the package of meat that says how best to cook it: grilling, roasting, stewing, braising. I only tried my hand at braising for the first time last week when I bought some very inexpensive blade steaks. This is the recipe I used, with some small changes. I added mushrooms to the pan about half an hour before the steaks would be done. After cooking, I removed the steaks, covered them with foil, and thickened the liquid in the pan with cornstarch. Removed that from the heat, and stirred in about ⅓ cup sour cream. I served the steak and sauce over egg noodles, and everyone loved it. The steaks were falling apart, no knives needed.

sccrowell's avatar

I bar-b-que at least 4 nights a week and use a gas grill and have been doing this for about 7 years.
whatthefluther and I prefer Ribeyes bone in or out and anything less than an 1.25” (inch an a quarter) I can’t cook correctly and often ruin and 1.5” <—-my favorite! I find that most people don’t use or put enough salt on the meat (I too, was that way) until I tried this. I have NEVER had tough steak since ( well, so long that it’s 1.25” – 1.5” inches) New Yorks are awesome this way. I begin by taking my steak out of frig 30 minutes before BBQ.(not quit room temp) then using kosher (flake) salt I use about ¾ of a teaspoon and fresh cracked pepper (both sides) turn you grill on high for 15 minutes top closed. Put your steak on the hot grates like this \ for 1minute 30 seconds w\ close lid alternating postition at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. We like our steaks cooked a tad bit more that med rare. Just try it!!! Extremely tender… Oh yes!! Don’t forget to let you steak rest for about 5 to 7 minutes with a piece of foil lightly covering it. before cutting!! Enjoy…

Cruiser's avatar

You have to slap it first….;)

Austinlad's avatar

I don’t even try anymore—just can’t find decent cuts of meat at the market. I go to an expensive restaurant.

Mephistopheles's avatar

Perhaps a bit of a sneaky answer, but any good braised steak should be to your specifications: juicy, tender and fork-compliant.

gottatrythis1942's avatar

The better quality of the steak, the more tender, in my experience. Hello everyone, I am new her.

perspicacious's avatar

Put the chemical tenderizer on it—YUK. I think the cut is the most important thing.

Aster's avatar

In 1965 or so my ex and I ate one in Colorado and I could Not believe we did not use a knife. Fork tender , thick steak.
It never happened since. And it wasn’t a fancy place at all.

Frenchfry's avatar

I find make a marinade it helps. I also cook it more rare.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ve had only a few steaks that come close to being fork seperable. I eat mine rare/med. rare and usually a baseball cut filet. The steaks were eaten in a Cattleman’s brand restaurant and I’m assuming the beef was well aged in order to be so tender yet lightly cooked. The more aged the meat, the more connective tissue breakdown has happened. I’m not really a fan of the taste of aged meat but I do like the texture.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Here’s what you do. I learned this in Home Ec. in 8th grade:

Get some sea/kosher salt. Coat a layer of it on both sides of your steak and let sit for 15 minutes to an hour depending on the thickness and cut of your steak. Then rinse it off and broil as desired.

Sodium breaks down the muscle fibres, rendering the meat very tender. I do this all the time if I have a cheap steak.

Here’s more about the method.

Austinlad's avatar

I love beef, but I’m not eating it right now, so this thread is making me CRAAAAAAAAAAAZY. Really wished I hadn’t clicked on the link @aprilsimnel shared.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I mostly use filet mignon, which doesn’t need a marinade. For the tougher cuts, I pound it and use a marinade. Here’s one using orange and onion that works well for me. The acid from the citrus breaks down meat fibers:

⅓ cup orange marmalade
3 green onions, fine chopped
¼ cup white wine
1 TBS olive oil
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
½ tsp dark soy sauce

Combine all in saucepan and simmer while stirring on low heat until the marmalade thins. Cool to room temperature before using. Works well on pork and chicken also.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land: Yum, that’ll be what I serve for our next day off!

keobooks's avatar

My grandmother can make an old boot melt like butter with hammer and tenderizer. It’s amazing.

doublebogie's avatar

As a chef I can only guess you are talking about a good steak such as New York, Rib Eye, Filet Mignon or Top Sirloin that you would find in a restaurant. As of late Restaurateurs have also discovered the Flat Iron that is located in the Chuck or Shoulder section which is surprizingly tender considering where it comes from. Without a marinade that breaks down the connective tissue there are three things that affect tenderness the most. The Age of the animal at slaughter, young (30 months of age) is better than old (90 months of age). Aging of the meat after slaughter before cutting into steaks (20 to 30 days) and the Marbling of Fat through the cut of meat. Aged beef is a tough thing to find in regular grocery stores but is available in finer food markets and butcher shops. Lean steaks, graded USDA Select, which are of course better for us will not be as tender as a well marbled steak such as USDA Choice or Prime. Now back to tenderizing processes. Citrus acids are natural way to tenderize as is vinegars if you’re looking for those flavors. Salt is a tenderizer and also a preserver when applied long enough by sucking the life and moisture out of it. I am aware of and have used the method that @aprilsimnel recommends. With no offense to @aprilsimnel, I have just found that I had less than dramatic results that is touted in the article It may trap the fat juciness but the meat water juices are gone leaving an intense fat texture and flavor that I don’t care for, but that may be just me and it might be exactly what you are looking for. I believe the avenue to a great steak is buying Choice to Prime graded beef from a high quality meat shop who ages their beef. Remember you are cooking for yourself and what you like in a steak, we are all different.

Good Night and Good Luck!!

rooeytoo's avatar

We just had Tasmanian grain fed rib eye steaks and they were wonderful! Very well marbled and so juicy and tender, not to mention pretty damned expensive. But for reasons relating to my wallet and my health we will only have it occasionally, so it is worth it!

Aster's avatar

^^^^^^^ where on earth can you find “Tasmanian” grain fed anything except in Tasmania?

rooeytoo's avatar

@Aster – well I am on the mainland and it made it over here! If it isn’t exported anywhere else in the world I would be amazed. A huge part of the mainland Australian beef export goes to Asia, so I assume Tasmanian beef would go there as well.

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