How to Tenderize Rib Eye Steak Without a Mallet – 4 Ways

Last Updated on by SteakEat

This article basically explains and suggest a better way of tenderizing rib eye steaks without using a mallet.

Using mallet to flatten your rib eye steaks before grilling or frying is not the best idea and should really be avoided.

How to Make RIb Eye Tender?

Here are some of the reasons of it not being suitable for use:

  1. All the moisture (i.e. tenderness) leaves steak before it’s even seared.
  2. There is a higher chance of bacterial contamination through the use of mallet. You will have to cook the rib eye steak to 62◦C / 144F (and this makes steak even drier)
  3. Rib eye’s texture also suffers – it won’t taste like it’s meant to be.

To me, the above reasons are enough to NOT use the mallet.

Especially when there are other better methods of tenderizing it:

Here they are:

  1. Needle Meat Tenderizer
  2. Acid / Enzyme Marinating
  3. Low Heat Cooking
  4. Medium-rare Doneness

#1 Needle Meat Tenderizer

Steak mallets, no doubt, destroy any steak’s appearance and let out the juices meaning that you won’t have much flavor to enjoy afterwards.

This is when a needle-type meat tenderizer comes in. This type of tenderizers comes equipped with an entire set of ultra-sharp stainless steel blades.

All you need is a few “clicks” and almost any tough cut (e.g. brisket, flank steak, tri-tip etc) will become a lot tender immediately.

When it come to rib eye, it will be as soft as butter!

The holes that are produced as the result of tenderizing help tremendously with soaking in the marinade so if you are looking for extra flavor try it out! (here is a link to the one we got in our store).

#2 Acid / Enzyme Marinating

One of the simplest and most common ways to tenderize any steak, not just rib eye, is by marinating it in either acid- or enzyme-based marinade.

What’s the difference between the two?

Well, acid-based marinades are marinades with mostly citric acids such as lemon, oranges, etc.

The enzyme-based marinade is another option, which involves the use of kiwi, papaya & pineapple to not only tenderize, but also enhance the actual taste of the steak.

I prefer enzyme-based marinades, because they act faster, especially at warmer room temperature.

This is why you need to pay attention and not marinate for too long…

You can check out my marinating guide for more information.

#3 Low Heat Cooking

This is another method of tenderizing rib eye steaks which involves oven cooking at a temperature of 130C / 270F.

That’s what low and slow cooking does – breaks down tougher connective tissues, leaving steak extra tender.

Although this method is quite slow, it’s very efficient at retaining the taste and juiciness of meat and that’s why it’s totally worth the time.

This method is especially great with tougher cuts like round, chuck and flank, but will certainly work with NY strip and sirloin.

You can as well check out the rib eye slow oven cooking guide for detailed guide on how to go about this step by step.

#4 Medium-rare Doneness

Although this is not really a method to tenderize rib eye steak, but medium rare doneness is vital for the end result.

This doneness level guarantees that your steak will be both, tender & juicy, and not overcooked & dry.

Once you see 55C/155F on your meat thermometer, you are good to go – it’s medium-rare.

See how to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature, touch or time guides.


How to tenderize rib eye steak with a mallet?

These are my…3 cents. 😉


Happy Steaks!


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