This Trick Makes Tenderizing Steak Easy

There are few things more satisfying than a steak sandwich, and few things worse than biting into a steak sandwich and pulling all the filling out because your teeth just couldn't chomp through a tough bit of meat. There's a fix, of course. For tender, bite-worthy sandwich steak, have enough foresight to whip up a quick marinade that will not only make sandwich-eating a breeze but inject it with flavor and depth.

Flank steak is a popular cut for steak sandwiches, but it often comes with tough, connective tissue that should be broken down. Acid softens this stubborn tissue, and also lends a zingy flavor to flank. In general, Livestrong recommends 1 cup of marinade for every pound of beef. You can use soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or your vinegar of choice for the base, plus some salt and spices to round out that soaking liquid. Livestrong uses the acidic medley of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and lime plus some sugar and spices for theirs. You can sit the steak in the mixture for 15 minutes to an hour in the fridge, turning the steak a few times throughout to ensure even coverage.

Other pro tips for tenderizing beef

Battering and frying lend a whole new dimension to an indulgent steak sandwich. One Reddit user, pigletpoppet, opts for a buttermilk brine – essentially soaking the meat in buttermilk and spices for a few hours, and then suggest coating in flour or breadcrumbs and frying briefly in a pan. 

Other ways to tenderize beef — sandwich optional — include physically tenderizing it a number of ways. Pigletpoppet suggested pricking holes in sandwich steak on all sides before cooking is one method. Other Reddit users suggested cutting beef thinly, recommending shaved rib eye. "The thinner you cut your beef the more tender it will be," Reddit user Dudedude88 noted. You can pound the beef with a mallet, and allow it to come to room temperature before it's cooked, which Taste of Home says helps it cook more evenly. Once cooked, slice beef against the grain to further break up those tough connective tissues. For further tenderness, cook it low and slow, and let the beef rest before eating.

Not everyone has a good cut of steak like a ribeye or tenderloin, but the trick with these is to never overcook for maximum chewability (via Business Insider and The Spruce Eats). And as with any meat, salt, salt, salt (via Taste of Home). Do this before bringing to room temperature, cook, and you'll never have another chewy, tough bite of beef again.