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How to 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.


  • Step 1: 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: 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: Pour red or white wine over roasts and let them sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before cooking.
  • TIP: Steep a frozen roast in a wine bath as it defrosts in the refrigerator; as it thaws, it will absorb some of the wine. Turn the meat every half hour or so.
  • Step 4: 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: Use a meat mallet to pound less tender cuts of meat, like bottom round, cube, and flank steaks.
  • Step 6: 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: Include a tablespoon of vinegar in any stew recipe that uses inexpensive cuts of meat.
  • Step 8: Cook meat on a low heat over a long period of time in a Crock-Pot or Dutch oven. A slow braise can turn the toughest piece of meat into butter.
  • FACT: Pork is the most produced meat on the planet.

You Will Need

  • An unripe papaya
  • An acidic marinade
  • A resealable plastic bag or shallow dish
  • Red or white wine
  • Milk or tomato juice
  • A meat mallet
  • Cola or ginger ale
  • Vinegar
  • A Crock-Pot or Dutch oven

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