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beef tenderizer

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hello All,  I have moved from the U.S. to a country that does not have quality beef. I need help finding a way to tenderize the beef. I know, of course, that I can pound the beef with the spiked end of a mallet. This works ok for swiss steak etc. But if, for example, I wanted to make beef stew or Hungarian goulash what else might I do. Back home I would use  chuck (nice and moist) but I have no idea what the locals call chuck. Also, I'd much prefer NOT to use any chemicals such as MSG. I know that various acids if left to marinate would tenderize but I'd prefer not to have a strong after taste (like lemon, etc). Something mild perhaps?  Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 28

A Jaccard meat tenderizer http://www.jaccard.com/fp_ctenderizers.htm
 

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Chef,
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post #3 of 28

What country are you in?

 

As far as stews are concerned, you don't need any tenderizers. Just cook it longer (on a low simmer)!

 

If you want to do a stir fry you can cut the beef finely and mix with baking powder. About 2 teaspoon per kg and mix it up with the beef. Let stand for 30 minutes or so and you are good to go.

 

If you want to marinate you can use a variety of "natural" tenderizers: vinegar, lemon or lime juice, pineapple, papaja (pawpaw) pieces or pips etc. Be careful when using pawpaw as the meat will actually disintergrate so don't marinate longer than about 30-60 minutes.

 

Hope this helps :)

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post #4 of 28

Jaccard is a good way, electric one if youcan afford it, hand one is kind of time consumming.. MSG by the way is not a tenderizer ,it is a flavor enhancer.

Papain which is a natural tenderizer obtained from tropical fruits enzymes, is a good tenderizer .It is used in places like Outback and other steak houses.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

I'm sure I didn't explain myself well enough. As I now live in Mexico, there is zero possibility that I could ever find a Jaccard, or,for that matter ANY brand name tenderizer. I am going to have to make due with basic natural foods. Also, it is important that WHATEVER I use as a tenderizer it should have a very mild,if any, flavor. So, vinegar and/or lemon juice are out.

post #6 of 28

You'll do better job of cooking an ingredient by respecting it.  Mexican beef may not be what you're used to in terms of grain-feeding, cutting or aging but compared to American beef it tends to be more flavorful.  

 

Since you're having trouble with vocabulary, you might find this article helpful.  It will assist you in making sense of what's at your local carneceria

 

You didn't specify what parts of the chuck you wanted to use for your goulash, but I'm guessing paleta or diezmeillo; either would work.  

 

Mexican cuisine contains all kinds of wonderful beef stews.  But they're, you know, Mexican -- not Hungarian.  Living there is going to be different than living in el Norte.  Let Mexico come to you, or at least meet it half way.  Your palate will thank you for it. 

 

Go to restaurants, ask lots of questions.  Watch (Mexican) cooking shows.  As your Spanish improves, so will your cooking.  Because wages are so low in Mexico, you might consider hiring someone to clean, shop and cook for you a few times a week.  You can learn a lot from her. 

 

BDL

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post #7 of 28
Great advice BDL

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You can't lay on the beach and drink rum all day unless you start in the morning

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post #8 of 28

while there is no substitute for hands on teaching, i hope you find this link helpful...i certainly did in my two month stay in mexico last year. http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/2398-choice-cut-or-mystery-meat-a-guide-to-mexican-butcher-shops-part-i-beef.  while i was in sonora last year i was initially at a total lost where beef, pork and cheese were concerned. this guide helped and MexConnect.com is a good resource for all things mexican. it helps to remember that it is the same animal, they just butcher it differently. i don't know where you are in mexico but sonora is known for their beef. for me however it was all about the seafood and the pork. MexConnect.com also has very useful guides for pork and cheese as well. as an aside it always did wig me out to see chicken feet and other chicken parts just sitting out 'salad bar' style....always a busy place!

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #9 of 28

oops! i didn't realize when i posted that my link and bdl's were the same...i didn't read his link, i just posted...sorry..it is good information however, now it's just twice as good!

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the wonderful advice. Last night I trimmed my beef, cut it into cubes, added 1/2 cup of red wine and marinated over-night in the frig. This afternoon, after a 14 hour marinate, I drained the beef, tossed the cubes with flour and quickly fried them, working with small batches, just until nicely browned. After that I added the beef stock.. After only one hour of simmering I was surprised at how very tender the beef was. But the taste was just a little bit "off". Almost like it was ever so slightly "gamey". But that is impossible because the meat was very fresh and I started marinating it the day I bought it. A reaction between the wine and beef? Hmm

post #11 of 28

it's just what beef tastes like in mexico..it is gamey..have you looked at those cows down there? mexico is 90% desert! don't expect the pollo to be the same either... nothing is...  you will never find thick cut pork chops or steaks unless you ask the butcher to cut it thick 'american' style'. they cut their meats thin and you'll find a lot of the pork chops are smoked. their families are large and extended so they tend to make soups and stews with the larger beef cuts just to feed everyone..do try the pork...i think you will have better luck and will be pleasantly surprised...i'm not a beef eater, but i never did find, buy or cook what i would call a 'memorable' piece of beef any of my times there.....

joey


Edited by durangojo - 10/6/12 at 8:43pm

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

A Jaccard meat tenderizer http://www.jaccard.com/fp_ctenderizers.htm
 

That's what I came in to say, I am deff in this camp.

~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

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~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

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post #13 of 28

Corn and potato starch, as well as egg whites, are used as tenderizers in China. 

post #14 of 28

in the caribbean, the seeds from papaya are used to tenderize meat...you can find it in powder form. to marinate beef for a short period of time i use a combo of red wine, worcestershire sauce, granulated garlic and black pepper. 

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you all. With all of the helpful advice, I have enough ideas that I can use as tenderizers. the wine worked well and next time I think I'll use corn starch. Thanks again.

post #16 of 28

I would try the tool that looks like a really stiff small hairbrush that punches holes into meat  It doesn't flatten the meat.  I also just use a large stiff kitchen for and just take out my agression with it.  It also doesn't flatten the meat or give it an already chewed consistency in the mouth that pounding or cubing does.  And, tomatoes "guts" are a good tenderizer.  I cut them in half around the equator, squeeze out the inside,, put it through a strainer and use that.  The, I chop the flesh for other use.  Good Luck!

post #17 of 28

I'll add this too.  There is a technique used there that cuts the meat in cubes, cover it with cooking oil, bring it to a slow simmer and simmer  (about 190 degrees) a long time till the meat is brown.  It will take  about an hour.  This seals in all the juices and flavor, nohting leaches out into the oil and works great.The meat is very tender, the fat in the meat melts away, and you are left with very tender, not greasy meat.  The oil is then refrigerated and used again.

post #18 of 28

Since none of these have ability to tenderize as farr as I know  tell me by what princible they do???

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricwhiting View Post

Thank you all. With all of the helpful advice, I have enough ideas that I can use as tenderizers. the wine worked well and next time I think I'll use corn starch. Thanks again.

 

You're getting bad information.  Corn starch doesn't tenderize, it textures the meat surface to hold sauce when eaten with chop sticks.  The Chinese technique, which is called "velvetizing," involves cutting the meat very thin and marinating it in wine, soy sauce and corn starch; flash cooking it in a hot wok; removing it from the wok, then returning to the wok with vegetables and sauce.    What tenderizes the meat is cutting it thin (and sometimes pounding it). 

 

BDL

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post #20 of 28

 The problem in the beef from Mexico is it is very lean.  The grass grows so high in my state of Veracruz you sometimes can only see the head of the cow peaking out but mostly they do not finish them out with corn to add fat.  There are feed lots that do finish the beef like the US but you have a hard time finding where this beef is sold. 

 I have tried many ideas to tenderize the beef but with limited success. The best is to find some meat that has a bit  of fat, which can be found if you search. Most of the meat you buy at the local meat market is fresh beef, the cow was eating  grass 2 days ago and now you are eating the cow with a salad.  A different taste but not bad at all.

post #21 of 28

Coca Cola or Pepsi works well for tenderizing game meats such as venison due to the acid content. Coffee will work as well..
 

post #22 of 28

Beer works pretty good too, lol. 

Down here in south Texas, by the border of Reynosa/McAllen Farmer brothers sells a lot of liquid tenderizer, its a clear flavorless liquid. It used to say papain on the containers but not any more, now it has chemical names not sure if its the same but it works very good overnight on fajitas and cuts like that not too thick. I have used it sometimes but it drys out the meat, I guess as it breaks down the meat so have learned through trial and error to also put some canola oil in the bag when using that stuff. Farmers has a large warehouse here in McAllen that sell to restaurants only and on fridays they open to regular joes that walk in. Not sure how far down in Mexico you are but a lot of people from down there shop here in Mcallen.Could not find the product on the website but they do carry it. 

Good luck

 

http://www.farmerbros.com/

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by QUETEX View Post

Beer works pretty good too, lol. 

 

Back when I was brewing beer on a regular basis we made a batch of ginger beer that for some reason didn't turn out like previous batches.  The ginger was just so strong the beer was unpleasant to drink.  But as a marinade for various cuts of beef like sirloin, chuck steaks and such it worked REALLY well!

 

mjb.

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post #24 of 28

Ric I'm a little lost why are you adding flour to the meat and then browning it if you are going to simmer it for an hour after. If you want the sauce thicker make a roux or add it in at the end. If it's tough, think goulash and act appropriately for half a century ago sort of meat offerings.  The result will be exactly the same. Are you sure you are actually in Mexico/US and are you sure that it was actually beef ( grain fed, grass fed what ever anzimal someone dragged out of the woods)? I hear a night of tequila can end you up in across state lines (were these posts made in that sort of interim)? Also have you considered other professions? I hear animal husbandry can get you access to what ever meat you desire.  Cut out the middle man, then it's just you and the meat to splay.

post #25 of 28

In high end or better type places when  making a stew or goulash or ragout you do dredge meat in flour first, then proceed to sautee or braise. This helps insure the stew thickens and the roux that  it forms cooks thoroughly therefor no flour taste in the finished product.. Very few places add roux aat the end and it is mostly when you make a mistake.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollinglegumes View Post

Ric I'm a little lost why are you adding flour to the meat and then browning it if you are going to simmer it for an hour after. If you want the sauce thicker make a roux or add it in at the end. If it's tough, think goulash and act appropriately for half a century ago sort of meat offerings.  The result will be exactly the same. Are you sure you are actually in Mexico/US and are you sure that it was actually beef ( grain fed, grass fed what ever anzimal someone dragged out of the woods)? I hear a night of tequila can end you up in across state lines (were these posts made in that sort of interim)? Also have you considered other professions? I hear animal husbandry can get you access to what ever meat you desire.  Cut out the middle man, then it's just you and the meat to splay.

it's time to put the bong down...all the way down!

 

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #27 of 28

Know that this was not entirely what you asked but when you age beef for 21+ days it breaks down the enzimes and you get a tenderer, healthier (easier to digest) meat. I've never been to Mexico but I know a lot of chefs up here who are working directly with the farmers, purchasing a whole/half animal (which cuts costs down and helps the farmer at the same time) and then you can specify whatever you like for butchering.
Again, I have never been to Mexico, and as someone else already posted, meat will have a bit stronger taste to it when raised in more extreme climates ( much like plants) but I wonder if working with a farmer might help - gaminess can also be attributed to butchering times. Meat butchered around breeding seasons will be quite gamey.
I've often marinated meat in pickle juice which has a mild taste and would not upset your goulash.

post #28 of 28

draftedcaterer,

 

Dry aging requires the kind of refrigeration facilities that few Mexican butchers have access to.  It also requires experience and skill to keep the "age" entirely on the outside of the meat --  and since it's something few Mexican butchers do, it's something few Mexican butchers know how to do. 

 

Mexican meat doesn't taste "stronger" because it's raised in an exotic climate.  The factors which make the most difference are:  Mexican cattle ranchers don't raise (by and large) the same breeds as US breeders; Mexican beeves are (by and large) not grain fed before slaughter; and beef (by and large) is sold much fresher in Mexico than in the US, with essentially no hanging time. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/17/12 at 8:23am
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