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When To Use Meat Tenderizer Hammer?

hands holding black meat tenderizer hammer right above a beef steak lying on a cutting board

hands holding black meat tenderizer hammer right above a beef steak lying on a cutting board

Everyone loves a tender juicy steak that’s full of flavor and…easy to chew!

In this article I speak about when to use a meat tenderizing hammer, when NOT to use is and some of the alternatives you should consider.

Let’s get started.

Tenderizing Meat With a Mallet

The process of tenderizing meat is a simple reaction that breaks down protein molecules. Once these molecules are broken into smaller particles, your steak becomes far easier to chew.

Using a mallet is one of the several ways you can break down those molecules.

When To Use Meat Tenderizer Hammer?

Every time you are cooking a tougher steak! These steaks are cheaper cuts like – flat iron, tri tip, brisket, round and so on.

The Pros of Using Meat Tenderizer Hammer

There are not many but here are the main points:

  • Meat becomes softer, thinner and easier to chew
  • The cooking time is also diminished
  • You can save money by buying cheaper steaks

The Cons of Using Meat Mallet

They are quite significant:

  • Meat mallet is a hardcore way of tenderizing meat which breaks down its structure and affects flavor
  • A lot of juices and moisture leaves meat during the process so the steak can end up dry and have less flavor

How to Use Meat Tenderizer Hammer?

Spread your steak evenly on a cutting board. Make sure it’s stable and doesn’t move around easily so you a less of a chance of hitting yourself with the meat tenderizer hammer!
Apply a few gentle blows over the entire steak. Then flip it around and repeat the process.

Meat Tenderizer Hammer Alternatives

There are two main alternatives to using a meat mallet.

First, you can use a stainless steel blade meat tenderizer. Using this kind of meat tenderizer is the best way of tenderizing cheaper and tougher meat. Here is the review of those best ones you should consider getting.

Second, you can use a marinade to tenderize your steak without using a hammer. Marinades help to add additional flavor and soften the surface of a steak. For best results, first tenderize your steak with the stainless steel blade meat tenderizer and then apply marinade. That way it would sink far deeper enhancing the flavor as much as possible.

 

See also:

How to Tenderize Rib Eye Steak Without a Mallet

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6 Useful Tips on How to Buy Steak in Supermarkets?

how-to-buy-steak-in-supermarketsWhat is it about steaks that many people just can’t get enough of them?

Some are advised not to eat them but just can’t resist the temptation.

There are varying opinions on why steaks are irresistible and why cooking them is fun to do.

Whatever the reasons are, it can’t be denied that it is a great idea to serve steaks at home.

It can be super easy to cook steaks, but there are steps to follow to make sure you are doing it right.

The first step is meat selection.

Easy, right? Well, not so much when you find yourself choosing from the different cuts of steak at a supermarket.

But don’t worry because there are ways to find the cut of steak that suits your intended purpose.

 

Tip #1: Ask yourself first how you are going to cook the steak

The question will lead you to discovering the different parts of the cow and how each part is ideal for certain methods of cooking.

The shoulder area at the front of the cow is called the chuck, and the part is a tougher cut of meat which is best used for stewing and braising.

Rib-eyes steaks and short ribs come from the rib section of the cow.

Rib-eyes steaks are great for grilling and short ribs are great for slow cooking.

A tenderloin cut comes from muscles that do not usually exert too much effort, so it is tenderer and great for grilling and broiling.

 

Tip#2: Stay Within Your Budget

The cheaper cuts of steak are still delicious, especially if you marinate and cook them properly.

However if you have money to splurge and the occasion calls for it, then you can buy Prime cuts.

Prime is a United States Department of Agriculture classification for superior beef.

A Prime cut has excellent marbling that makes it tender, juicy, and flavorful.

Even when a Prime cut has lines of fat running through it, it is still a better option than a lean piece of meat.

 

Tip#3: Get Steaks from the butcher’s or meat counter

To determine if a piece of meat is fresh, you need to check for moisture, smell, and color.

When you buy a pre-packaged steak, you can only check the steak’s moisture, smell, and the color of its other side when you get home, and by then it might be too late.

So, it is better to get steaks from the butcher’s counter.

Also, premium-grade steaks and private labels are usually displayed on a butcher’s counter. You may even ask a butcher or salesperson behind the counter for advice.

 

Tip#4: Inspect the meat thoroughly

As mentioned, the meat’s color gives you an indication of its freshness.

A cut of steak that has a bright red color is fresh, unless it has artificial coloring.

However, unwrapped beef turns brown as the day goes on because of oxidation.

While it’s all right to buy steak that is already showing a brown color, it is still preferable to choose the freshest cuts available at the supermarket.

You can also know if the cut comes from grass-fed cow or from grain- and corn-finished fed cow by checking the color of the beef.

Grass-fed beef has a deeper red color.

When it comes to smell, don’t buy a steak that has an ammonia odor or that smell sour.

While you can tell if the meat is fresh or not by touching it (steaks that are sticky to touch could mean they are no longer fresh), you can’t just go to a supermarket and start poking and pinching meats, as you can damage the meats.

And, you will get angry looks from butchers and salespeople.

 

Tip#5: If you are buying pre-packaged steaks, there are ways to check the meat’s quality.

The excess liquid in the tray could come from the frozen steak that has been thawed, or it can be an indication that the meat has been in the refrigerator for days.

You should also inspect the packaging itself.

Don’t buy the steak if there is a damage to either its Styrofoam tray or plastic wrap.

Also, check the label for the steak.

The description ‘sell-by date’ is synonymous to ‘pack date’, ‘freeze-by date’, or ‘suggested use,’ and it basically tells you of the last day the steak is still considered fresh.

 

Tip#6 Marbling is Where the Steak Flavor Comes From

Marbling is how fat is spread within the lean.

So, it’s important to check the marbling of steaks because it is an indication of the steak’s flavor and tenderness. Marbling makes steaks tender and flavorful.

You can determine if a cut of steak has the best marbling if small flecks of fat are spread evenly across very fine textured lean.

How marbling develops is also important when inspecting the quality of meat.

If possible, you should ask the butcher or salesperson where the beef comes from, the food it was fed, the number of enhancers and treatments it was given, and the age it was slaughtered.

 

See more about how to start cooking steak now!

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Best Steak to Buy Is the One That Fits Your Cooking Method

This time I explain exactly how I choose the best steak to buy, as well as unveil a stupid mistake EVERYONE (but not you) makes when buying one.

Let’s SteakEat!

 

best-steak-to-buy-is-the-one-that-fits-your-cooking-method
What’s the best steak to buy…if you are in Ireland?? Well, pick any – they are all great!

 

A month ago I was flying back home and my dear parents decided to make me super happy and bought like 10kg (22lbs) of beef roast, which I would then cut into steaks and cook it all for the entire them (yeah, this makes me super happy…noooot 🙂 )

Long story short, they bought it from our family butcher (the guy personally knows me) and asked specifically for steaks that can be cooked using dry hot heat (e.g. pan-searing, oven broiling, grilling etc).

This brings me to…

 

Rule #1 – Know What the Steak is For

So, if you are planning to pan-sear or broil in oven (i.e. use a dry high-heat cooking method), then you need a higher, more expensive type of steak like rib eye, tenderloin, NY strip loin etc.

rib-eye-steak-is-ideal-for-broiling
Rib Eye (can you see the i’i’? 🙂 ) is a very tender, fatty steak that can be cooked using any of the dry cooking methods.

 

Rule #2 – Know the Types of Steaks (there are just 2(!!!))

First – cuts that are great for the already mentioned dry-heat high-temperature cooking methods include all the expensive well-known steaks (e.g. rib eye, filet mignon (aka tenderloin), NY strip, T-bone (it consists of filet mignon + NY strip with the T-shaped bone between them))

Second – lower-end cuts like round steak, flat iron, chuck, brisket…all these steaks are less expensive, but they will not taste great when cooked at high heat. Instead they become very tough and hard to chew.

 

When I got home and saw that massive piece of cow (it was huge) which looked like round roast (a very lean, tough to chew part), I knew that it just won’t work as a steak…

My parents weren’t so sure (they thought I’m trying to escape from the processing of that chunk of red meat), so they got what they asked for – the unchewable jaw-breaking rubber-like accident…even though I tried my best (i.e. followed every rule of perfect pan-searing process).

So…

 

Rule #3 – Don’t Trust the Butcher!

As much as I love butchers in Ireland, Spain, Germany and Russia (all the places I lived in), you just can’t trust these guys when it comes to COOKING the thing, that’s why you need to know what’s the best steak to buy yourself.

P.S. To all the butchers out there…you know it’s a sweeping statement and you are all awesome! 🙂

 

So, how did it all end up?

Without thinking further I passed on the chef crown to my mom, who actually happens to be amazing when it comes to slow, moist-heat cooking with lower temperature.

To keep it simple, she stewed it all in batches and guess what..? It was amazing!

 

Rule #4 – It All Boils Down to Pairing the Cooking Method & the Type of Steak

If you take away one point from me today, this is the one above!

The rule of thumb is – if the cut is expensive, then it’s for all the dry-heat cooking methods (e.g. pan-searing, oven broiling, grilling etc)

If it’s cheap, then it’s for slow moist heat (e.g. slow cooking, stewing, sous vide etc)

 

The Stupid Mistake EVERYONE Does (but not you)

People are not willing to pay money for quality beef.

That is it.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for and no amount of proper cooking technique will substitute the actual quality, taste and flavor of an organic grass-fed rib eye (just an example…I’m hungry 🙂 )

 

To sum up – the best steak to buy is the one that fits your cooking plans.

And of course, when it comes to the quality, I’m always up for organic grass-fed for these reasons.

 

What’s YOUR FAVORITE cut to buy?

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Cooking Time For Rib Eye Steak

image via Flickr: numb3r
image via Flickr: numb3r

How long does it take to prepare a ribeye steak?

Of course it all depends on things like thickness, temperature used, cooking method and level of doneness you are aiming for… That’s why it is SO tricky to actually give a valid prediction that works.

Having that in mind, I came up with 4 tables that will help you get started and make necessary changes as you become more experienced!

All of them take 2 things into account: thickness (in inches) and level of doneness. So they are really easy to use, once you know how thick the cut is and what doneness level you are looking for.

The numbers in the boxes are “minutes per side“. So, for example, if it says “5.5″, it means “5 and a half minutes per side” and then, after you flip, it’s another 5 minutes 30 seconds.

This is applies to every cooking method except for oven-roasting at 400F, where you won’t need to flip or turn the steak, so the numbers in the boxes are the total times.

Please also note that these cooking times are still estimates and you should probably consider them as reference points. But they are really good to start with!

To your steak success! 🙂

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How Long To Grill A Rib Eye For

how-long-does-it-take-to-grill-steak

* So, if you are wondering, how long to grill a 1/2 inch ribeye, the answer is in your first column, depending on the level of doneness you are looking for.

 

How Long To Broil A Ribeye For

how-long-does-it-take-to-broil-steak-oven

 

How Long To Pan-Fry Ribeyehow-long-does-it-take-to-pan-fry-steak-on-stove-top-in-skillet

 

How Long To Bake Ribeye At 400F

how-long-does-it-take-to-cook-steak-in-oven-at-400

Please see the original steak cooking times article for more details.