If you’re planning on whipping up a nice steak dinner, you might choose ribeye, filet mignon, or other naturally tender cut of meat. But when you’re making a hearty sandwich, such as a Philly cheesesteak or a steak and pepper sub, you’re likely to choose something a little tougher. Think flank steak, which lends itself well to slicing into thin strips. The downside about this type of cut is that it usually comes with tough connective tissue running through the meat (via The Spruce Eats). If you don’t tenderize this tissue before cooking, you could have a rather unpleasant experience trying to take a bite through the sandwich without tugging half the contents out of the bread. Not to mention no one likes a chewy piece of meat.
The answer is marinading the meat before cooking it. Not only does this soften the tissue, but it adds flavor, making your sandwich tastier and more enjoyable.
How to marinate your steak for perfect tenderness
Marinating a piece of meat like flank steak in an acidic liquid helps to break down the tougher connective tissue. But keep in mind you should only soak it for a limited amount of time, as leaving it in too long can result in mushy meat. The rule, according to Livestrong, is a cup of marinade for every pound of beef, and 15 minutes to an hour of soaking, also depending on the weight. Simply place the meat in a large enough dish or bowl to cover it with the marinade, and then put it in the refrigerator. It’s also a good idea to flip the meat once while it marinates to ensure even coverage.
With regard to what to use to make that acidic marinade, you have many choices and can mix and match to create a flavor you like or that best fits the recipe you’re making. Popular ingredients in homemade marinades include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, lime or lemon juice, and assorted salts and spices to taste. You could also use a buttermilk-based brine, and allow the meat to soak it in for a few hours (via Reddit). Then, coating the meat in flour or breadcrumbs and briefly frying it in a pan before cooking it can also make a big difference where it comes to tenderizing and flavoring the meat for a sandwich.
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