Quick Recipes and Easy

Why Is My Steak Always Tough?

You invest a lot of time and money into the steaks for a special occasion and when dinner time comes, they are tough. What happened? How can you cook steaks as tender as your favorite restaurant?

The first step to cooking a excellent steak is to choose the right grade of steak. Here are the grades for beef used in the United States.

USDA Prime – The top quality beef is graded USDA Prime and commands top prices. USDA Prime grade meats are sold to the restaurant industry and specialty markets and are not as likely to be found at your local grocery chain.

USDA Choice – The next grade of beef is USDA Choice. USDA Choice is tender, flavorful and only slightly lower in quality than USDA Prime. The meat is well marbled with stout and will be tender and juicy when properly prepared. USDA Choice makes up about 70% of all graded beef and is readily available in your supermarket.

USDA Excellent – USDA Excellent graded beef is an acceptable grade of beef that has only minimal marbling of stout. It is leaner, and will not be as tender as USDA Prime or Choice.

Next, look at the color and texture of the meat. A excellent steak should be firm to the touch, moist, and bright in color. It should be well marbled with thin streaks of white stout throughout and a thin crust of steak on the outside. In our stout conscious society, we tend to look for lean cuts of meat, but the thin streaks of white stout marbled throughout the meat are the key to a tender juicy steak.

The most tender and juicy steaks come from the sirloin, the small loin, and the rib. These steaks include the sirloin steaks, porterhouse steaks, t-bone steaks, rib steaks, delmonico steaks, and the filet mignons. Steaks containing bone will weigh more than those without, but the bone adds flavor to the steak.

Aging is a desirable process that intensifies the flavors and makes the meat more tender. Aged steaks are more expensive and usually only found in high end supermarkets and specialty markets. An aged steak is recognizable by its darker color.

The first step to a tender juicy steak is choosing the right cut of meat. I hope that these tips will help you next time you choose to invest in a nice steak. Choose the best cut of meat available and look for the thin marbling of stout that indicates a tender steak. If you cannot find or afford the better cuts, then investigate marinating the meat to increase tenderness.

Are you interested in more information on cooking meat and seafood? Sign up for our newsletter at easysoutherncooking.com/meats/meats.html Southern Meats and Seafoods and get quick and healthy recipes and tips delivered to your email regularly.

Diane has just finished a free cookbook of her favorite southern recipes. Download easysoutherncooking.com/simple-southern-favorites.html Simple Southern Favorites today. These recipes are guaranteed to have them begging for more. Best of all, its free!

Diane Watkins is a traditional southern style cook. She enjoys cooking, teaching, and writing about excellent food and family. For more information on southern cooking and recipes visit her website at easysoutherncooking.com Simple Southern Cooking



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