Liquid meat tenderizers come in many forms, ranging from vinegar to citrus juice to cola. But your best bet for further tenderizing grass fed beef might be sitting right in front of you. Or at least sitting right in your fridge.
It’s milk. Here’s why:
- A steak that marinates in an acidic or enzymatic liquid too long, such as citrus juice or cola, becomes tough or mushy.
- But the acid in milk is so mild that you can soak beef in it long enough to tenderize it effectively, without damaging the proteins on the surface.
- The calcium-rich properties of milk react with enzymes in the meat to gently soften the proteins. Whole milk (not reduced fat), buttermilk, and yogurt all get the job done – with a special nod to buttermilk and yogurt for their optimal tenderizing acidity levels.
Here’s five steps to udderly tender steak success:
#1 – Season the milk, buttermilk, or plain yogurt with nonacidic ingredients such as spices, herbs, salt, and garlic. Be sure to prep enough marinade to submerge the entire steak.
#2 – Place the steak and seasoned milk in a resealable plastic bag or covered container, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours.
#3 – Rinse the meat in cool running water, pat it dry, and discard the milk.
#4 – Pro tip: Because marinades only impart mild flavoring, re-season the surface of the steak with herbs and spices prior to cooking.
#5 – Cover the meat at room temperature for an hour before cooking; beef sears better if the surface is at room temperature.