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How to Tenderize Steak for Cooking on A Kamado Grill?

How to Tenderize Steak for Cooking on A Kamado Grill?

It’s easy to get creative when cooking prime steaks like sirloin or ribeye. You are free to experiment with flavours and cooking styles.

But things get a little trickier when you cook with cheap cuts like flanks or chucks. The first thing that bothers you the most is the firmness of the meat and the inability to get the full flavor of the sauce through it.

So, the only solution to this problem is to turn tough steaks into lean ones. In this article, we’ve mentioned several ways to tenderize your steak for cooking on a kamado grill.

What is tenderization?

Tenderness is a method or technique by which you can determine how chewy the meat is. Soft-textured proteins are preferred over granulated proteins, easier to cook, and tastier.

Meat is tough for many reasons, such as the amount of connective tissue, fat, and collagen, and how tightly or loosely they are packed together.

The process and method used to reduce the toughness level is called tenderization or tenderization.

Why should I tenderize my steak?

Meat, whether red or white, is composed of connective tissue that forms muscle fibers and the protein myoglobin, which is what causes meat to turn red. In red meat, the muscle fibers are narrower and tighter, while in white meat, the muscles are looser.

Depending on what part of the animal’s body and where the cuts come from, the toughness or granularity of the meat will vary.

Cuts like brisket, tenderloin, and ribs are tender and often very expensive. So, if you’re on a budget, buying such an expensive protein might hit your wallet.

Therefore, the only viable options are to obtain more economical cuts such as shanks, collets and flanks. These steaks are tough but delicious. However, cooking with tough meats can be a hassle. If they don’t soften or soften, they’re springy and hard to eat.

How to Tender Steak?

The more tender the steak, the more delicious and juicy it will be. Cut types with fat between the muscles are easier to render, while in a budget steak there is an extra layer of fat around the protein.

There are many different ways to tenderize meat. You can use physical forces like pounding or piercing, or chemical agents like brine or enzymatic reactions, or by stewing and pickling.

1. Wet pickling

In wet curing, food is processed in a brine solution. Brine is a mixture of water and sea salt that both preserves food and flavors it. As a form of marinating, brine can be used to tenderize steaks. The salt in the solution easily penetrates the fibers of the meat and adds flavor to the steak.

Depending on how you want to season your meal, you can use a range of different types of salt. Some people prefer to use kosher salt, while others just add table salt. The size of the salt grains can also affect the effectiveness of the pickling process.


To ensure an effective wet pickling process, you can heat the solution to dissolve any salt particles in the water. Plus, you can add other flavors like bay leaf, rosemary, clove, and sage. Then let the brine cool before submerging the steak in it.

2. Pickled 

Pickling is an easy way to season. Technically, it is very similar to wet curing. However, it doesn’t always make the steak tender. If you want to tenderize using the pickling method, the solution must be acidic.


To break the bonds of connective tissue in meat, you can use three methods – acidic solutions, setting a neutral pH, and adding natural enzymes.

For an acidic solution, you can use vinegar, yogurt, or lemon. You can even add wine to the meat if you want a rustic twist. Some people prefer to add natural enzymes like papaya, kiwi or pineapple juice or puree.

When you’re using natural enzymes, it’s best to use fresh juice rather than canned juice.

One tip to keep in mind, raw meat shouldn’t be left out for long periods of time. Because, leaving it on for too long can lead to bacterial growth. Therefore, steak should be refrigerated as soon as possible after marinating.

3. Stew

This particular type of tenderization involves moist heat, which is a heat-based cooking method. This is a very time-consuming method and is mostly used for cheap steaks. The long cooking process will slowly break down the protein and make it leaner.


The meat is caramelized over high heat first; you can add a layer of seasoning on top before placing it on top of the stove. Once the steak is browned on the surface, cook it over low heat.

This process breaks down the tough collagen in the protein into gelatin, which acts as a thickener when cooking.

For slow cooking, you can go bold with the stewed meat. You can slow cook it in a crock pot or pressure cooker. The closed lid prevents the meat from drying out.

You can also add purees or liquid bases such as tomato puree, wine or balsamic vinegar. Vegetables like mushrooms or onions can also be added to the mix. With Teriyaki, you don’t need multiple pots and pans to make one meal; it can all be done in one container.

4. Meat tenderizer powder

For those who are always short on time, especially when it comes to cooking, this is one of the quickest and easiest ways to tenderize a steak.

Tenderizing powders mostly contain salt and cornstarch, but there are others that offer combinations of various fruit enzymes, such as papain in papaya or bromelain in pineapple.

One thing to keep in mind when using powder is that you shouldn’t let the meat sit with the powder for too long. If the meat is firm and springy, in this case, half an hour is enough to get the meat al dente and juicy.

However, if you leave the steak for longer than this, you may end up with a mushy steak.


First, you need to wet the steak before adding the powder. Then, finely slice the steak so that the powder penetrates into the meat. This simple step helps speed up reactions that weaken protein bonds.

Later, you can coat the meat with an even layer of tender powder. If you want to make your steak tastier then you can add spices. Also, add a little marinade so the steak doesn’t dry out.

5. pounding

This method is quick and effective in tenderizing meat. For this process, all you need is a simple meat hammer or mallet to get the job done.

There are two types of mallet – wooden mallet and metal mallet. Wooden ones can be used for lean meats like poultry, while metal ones can be used for mashing red meat.

A typical mallet has two sides. One side is flat and the other is textured with tiny edges. So you can choose the sides depending on how much you want to tenderize the meat.

Also, at some specialty cookware stores, you can find sharp-ended tools that can pierce the meat so the flavors can get into the meat quickly without destroying any of the protein fibers.

Or, if you don’t have a mallet, then you can simply use a wok, rolling pin, or anything heavy.


First, you’ll need to wrap the steak in plastic wrap, or you can place it in a ziplock bag. Place the steak on a firm surface that won’t break easily. You can then tap the steak with a mallet, all the way from one end to the other.

When you’re dealing with dense meat, obviously you’ll be putting a lot of pressure on the meat to flatten it out. However, you should be careful not to make it mushy.

Remember, the key is to apply the necessary force, not to suddenly overdo it.

6. Slicing

The way you cut the meat can also affect the texture and chewiness of the meat. When you cut your steak along the grain, you will notice that the fibers of the meat are too long on the slice.

But if you cut it through the grain, you’re shortening the connective tissue, making it softer and easier to chew.

Another way is through scoring. During this time, your knife skills will come in handy. To do this, you slice the steak along the surface. To prevent the steak from drying out, you can marinate it to seal in the moisture.

Our preferred method for tenderizing steaks

There are a number of ways you can save time and effort when tenderizing your steak. But if you’re the type who prefers flavor over shortcuts, stewing is the way to go.

In Stew, the sky is the limit! You can add as many flavors and ingredients as you want to enrich your meal.

Stew Step-by-Step Guide

To make it easier for you, we describe the entire simmering process into a few necessary steps.


First, you can season the steak with a little salt.

Add some oil to an enameled cast iron skillet or Dutch oven and brown the meat. Now, browning doesn’t mean cooking all the time; rather, it just means giving your steak a nice brown crust.

Once the surface of the steak is nicely browned, set it aside and let it rest for a while. Resting the meat is essential to lock in all the flavors.

Next, add chopped onion, carrots and celery. You can add another vegetable combination as needed.

Then add some ginger and garlic paste to the pot and cook the vegetables until they turn a nice golden brown.

You can add wine to the mix for a sour and earthy flavor, or you can add vegetable stock.

After that, place the meat in the braising liquid, which should be three-quarters the height of the steak. You can add some herbs like black pepper or thyme – rosemary and oregano.

Cover the pot and put it in a 250 degree oven. Let the meat cook slowly.

In conclusion:

No one likes a rough, overly chewy steak. In most cases, it’s impossible to get a good cut steak on a regular basis, either by yourself or with friends and family over.

Therefore, it may be useful to understand the process of steak tenderization. Not only will it bring you praise and applause, but it will also satisfy hungry guests.

We hope the tips and tricks on how to tenderize steak in this article will be helpful. More importantly, indulge in delicious food.