Steaks taste wonderful when they are cooked properly. The taste also depends on the cut; it determines how tender, juicy, and flavorful the steak will taste. Chewy steaks will make it hard to chew, which might eventually cause dental issues. Anyone who has a tough steak might end up throwing it away. So, if you are wondering what is the least chewy steak, dive right into the article below!
The least chewy steak is the tenderloin steak. As its name suggests, it is tender, lean, and delicate. Its butter-like texture almost lets the steak melt in the mouth. It has less fiber and muscle tissues, which makes it less tough and firm than other cuts. This cut is located beneath the ribs and next to the backbone.
Cooking requires a lot of knowledge. It is necessary to know all about steaks to improve their tenderness and texture. A quick read may be enough to guide you.
Are All Steaks Chewy?
All steaks do not all have a chewy texture. The level of chewiness mainly depends on the cut; cuts containing many connective tissues will be chewier than other cuts. On the other hand, there are tender cuts, which include tenderloin.
The connective tissues are ligaments in beef that contain muscle fibers. These tissues firmly hold the meat together, which makes the steak chewy. Connective tissues are prominent in mature animals that exercise, implying that they have chewy meat.
There are only some cuts of beef that make steak chewy. The chewy steaks include flank steak; it is cut from the abdominal muscles, the lower chest region. Sirloin and round cuts, which are found on the back and rear legs of cows, are also chewy.
Since not all the steaks are chewy, there are some tender steaks. These are made from cuts that are nowhere near the muscles of the cows; hence, they contain fewer or no connective tissues. They are usually more expensive than chewy steaks as they are small in amount.
Cooking these tender steaks will make it easier to chew the food properly. It also elevates the taste of the steak.
Are Leaner Steaks Tougher Than Fatty Steaks?
Leaner steaks are chewier compared to fatty steaks as they contain less fat than fatty steaks. The fat present in fatty steaks contributes to a juicy and tender texture.
As the fat in steak makes it more tender, juicy, and flavorful, it is a better option to go for. As leaner steaks have less saturated fat, they tend to be less tasty and tough to chew. The cuts taken from the most active parts of the cow are usually tough and chewy.
Fatty steaks are more tender than lean steak. Some fatty steaks include rib eye, prime rib, short rib, T-bone, and New York strip. These steaks contain 19 to 33.7 grams of fat, which contributes to marbling. The fat stored in these steaks will eventually melt to create a butter-like texture. If you have tasted juicy steaks earlier, you already know how tender they taste.
Nevertheless, lean steaks are always healthier than fatty steaks. Thus, it is better to look for a tender, lean steak cut that contains less fat, more protein and is less chewy. A good example is the filet mignon. This cut is from the center of the tenderloin, which is just below the sirloin. It will melt in your mouth to deliver a healthy steak.
Can You Make A Chewy Steak Tender?
It is possible to turn a chewy steak into a tender one by using some methods. Even the leanest meat can melt in the mouth, but that is only when using the correct steps.
Not all the cuts are tender, but it does not mean that they cannot be made tender. To make a chewy steak tender, you need to cook it perfectly. It will depend on the grilling duration, seasoning, and the whole process.
However, it is also important to note how well the steak needs to be cooked. It is because you do not want it to be overdone while making it tender.
To make a chewy steak tender, you need to physically tenderize the meat. A meat mallet is an appropriate tool for this case. Using it, you will break the muscle fibers in the connective tissues that make it chewy.
Lightly pounding it with the rough edge of the meat mallet will be enough to tenderize it. The alternatives to a meat mallet are knives and forks, with which you can create holes in the meat. Making a crosshatch pattern with these tools on the surface of the meat will also do the trick.
Marinating the steak with the right acidic ingredients will also make it tender. Tough cuts like flank and sirloin get tender when soaked in an acidic mixture of lemon juice or vinegar. The citric acid in lemon juice and acetic acid in the vinegar helps dissolve or break down the muscle fibers.
You may also simmer it for 10 minutes in ale, or wine to break down its molecules. The process is known as braising. Grilling or cooking the tough cuts of steak at low temperatures will trigger the muscle fibers less. It is also necessary to let it break the fibers slowly in the pan. However, make sure not to overcook the grill; it will only make the steak chewier.
Seasoning also plays a significant role in making the steak tender. Applying salt before grilling the steak is a must if you want to tenderize the cut. But, if you have enough time left, go for brining. It involves soaking the steak in salty water for up to 24 hours. The color of the steak will turn darker as soon as it starts to get tender.
Reasons Why Steak Becomes Tough
Using the wrong cooking method, tough cuts, and cooking temperature can often result in the steak becoming tough and chewy. It is mainly due to the cuts that are rich in collagen.
When it comes to steaks becoming tough and chewy, it is necessary to review in detail the reasons why it happens. The reasons include:
The Cut Of The Meat
It is an important factor as the texture of each cut is unique. The cuts taken from the exercising parts of an animal are usually tough and chewy. Cooking those cuts will not necessarily make them tender. The cuts are usually sold separately. Therefore, avoid the sirloin, flank, and round cuts.
As mentioned earlier, fatty cuts are much juicier than leaner cuts. Low levels of fat in cuts will have less marbling. There will be no fat to heat up and melt to create a juicy flavor. Since the juices that make steaks tender are not present, the steak will be dry with no moisture. As a result, it will be chewy and tough.
Improper Cooking And Preparation Of The Steak
The methods of cooking indicate whether the steak will be chewy or tender. It is necessary to balance the temperature of the pan and the cooking duration. Undercooking can result in chewy steaks. In contrast, overcooked steak burns all the fat to become dry and tough. It is especially true when making a well-cooked sirloin steak.
Sometimes, the steak is not prepared properly. For instance, sprinkling the seasonings while cooking makes the salt unable to dissolve the muscle fibers. The ingredients get less time to tenderize the steak when they are added while cooking.
Cooking a frozen piece of meat will also lead to a chewy steak. Even if a tender steak is put in the pan directly from the fridge, it will become chewy. Additionally, defrosting a cut improperly will also make it tough and firm.
The Best Cuts For Making Tender Steak
Many options are available when purchasing cuts in the stores. Each cut comes with unique textures and flavors. Choosing the best cuts will contribute to a tender steak. Although tender cuts might require a splurge, they will be worth it.
Here is a list of the best cuts for making tender steak:
It is the most tender cut of a cow. Filet Mignon is from the part of the tenderloin that is close to the ribs. It covers a small section of the tenderloin. The tenderloin starts from the rib and ends at the back of the cow.
Since it is far away from the exercising muscles of the cow, it contains fewer muscle fibers. Additionally, it has the perfect thickness for tender steaks; it is about two to three inches thick.
It is one of the most popular steaks as it contains two tender cuts. It has a New York strip on one side and a tenderloin on the other. The combination of the two marbled cuts provides a juicy and tender steak.
It is cut from the lower portion of the short loin. It is closer to the stomach, which makes it even tender than porterhouse steaks.
As the name suggests, ribeyes stay in the prime rib section of a cow. This cut has a lot of fat content, which eventually makes the steak juicy and tender.
Typically, the cuts are around ¾ to 1 ½ inches thick. The 1 1/2 inch thick rib-eye cuts deliver tender steaks with perfect grill marks.
When it comes to steaks, texture is key. I hope thisarticle on what is the least chewy steak was able to provide you with all the information you needed to know.
Now that you know which steak is less chewy, cooking the perfect steak will become a breeze! Thank you for reading all the way through!