Does marinating really make a tougher steak cut more tender?

linnea56September 26, 2011

I bought some sirloin tip steaks. I looked them up online and it looks like this is supposed to be a tougher cut, "unless marinated." I can use most of them for Chinese food or fajitas, etc., but it would be nice to have one as just plain steak.

I don't normally marinate any steak because I like a dark brown seared crust. Dark on the outside, pink on the inside. I always cook them on top of the stove. Broiling does not get it brown enough for me. Plus, when I have tried marinating it made the meat almost steam instead. The only thing I add is a splash of Worchestershire sauce, because that seems to help it brown. (I don't grill either: it's broken)

Am I missing something?


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Cook a small piece with out Marinade and one with,
to test it.
May be more tender than you think !!!

The last Sirloin steak I bought was supposed to be sliced thin for sandwhich steaks but the butcher made them too thick.

I wound up making a six pound Surf and Turf Braciole Roast,
filled with Crab Meat, Shrimp, Hard Boiled Eggs, etc.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Marinating steak does really make it more tender. The acid from the wine or vinegar or lemon breaks down the connective tissue and tenderizes the meat.
If you find you are not getting your steak seared enough for your taste....marinate your steak for 4 to 5 hours in the refrig,,,,,pat it dry and then cook it.
Wet meat won't brown properly.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 12:28AM
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Good idea, patting it dry. Tonight, I'm giving it a try. Made a marinade with red wine, worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic and fresh rosemary. It's in the frig now.

30th anniversary dinner! (Anniversary was yesterday, but he forgot, so I postponed nice dinner til today) We had steak for the reception, too. :)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:26AM
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Happy Anniversary Linnea.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Happy Anniversary, Linnea.

I have to admit that I don't marinate steak as a general rule, because I want it to taste like steak, not like teriyaki or soy sauce or vinegar or wine or whatever.

I also find that sirloin if done rare, isn't really that tough. It's not falling-apart, cut-it-with-a-fork tender, but if you still have teeth, it's passable. I like the flavor of sirloin too, it's one of my favorite steaks.

So the anser is, I guess, yes, marinating steak will/can make it more tender. It also changes the flavor, unfortunately.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 4:43PM
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Marinating does not really tenderize meat; simply because the Marinade cannot get into the meat deep enough, unless you soak the meat for many days as in corned beef. By that time the outside of the meat will turn into mush.

Chemical meat tenderizers or enzymes also give meat mushy texture and funny taste.

How else do you tenderize meat?

First, what do you mean by tender?

You can pound the heck on the meat using a mallet, stab it with a jaccard cutter, or grind it up into burger, but you are not making the meat tender, you are in fact making the meat more chewable.

If you cook the meat long enough, like braising and stewing, you can turn the meat quite soft, however, all meat shrinks and becomes dry if you cook meat at near boiling temperature to beyond well done. Therefore for these kinds of recipes you need to provide a lot of sauce and liquid to make the soft dry meat "juicy" and delicious.
The key to tenderize meat without drying is fairly simple in concept. Cook the meat at very low temperature for a very long time. You can get a tough brisket cut into juicy medium rare that is almost tenderloin tender.

At this point, the two appliances which can most reliably produce this end result is a sous vide cooker and a high-tech smoker, both offer precision digital temperature control for the entire cooking process.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 8:36PM
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Thanks for the anniversary wishes. :)

The marinade was supposed to be reduced on the stove and served as a sauce. It was too strongly flavored, though, and covered up the taste of the meat too much. I decided I didn't really like the taste of soy sauce on steak, either. So though it probably made the steak more tender, this will not replace my favored method (on top of the stove, searing on high with only Worcestershire sauce, then turning low and covering til done).

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:00PM
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You are welcome


    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 11:56PM
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Try salting next time. Just cover the steaks both sides with course salt for at least an hour. Then pat try before frying like you usually do. This method does wonders, at least for me.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 6:12PM
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