After setting foot into a steakhouse, you palate starts watering because of the delicious smell of steak. At this time, all you want is great steak to satisfy this crave. Most of the time, it can be hard for you to make a choice, especially if you did not previously have one in mind already. At most times, many people visiting a steakhouse expect tender and soft steak, as it is said to have incredible flavor. However, not all times you will get this kind of steak. In some instances, you get tough and chewy steak. If you do not know what the steak really is, this article is going to clarify things for you.
What Tough and Chewy Steak Mean
Tough and chewy steak means that it is so hard for the teeth to chew. If feels like you are chewing a gum and sometimes you feel tired an end up throwing it away. This can be disastrous if you have a problem with your teeth, or if they are not strong enough. This part of the article looks at what makes steak to be tough and chewy.
- Fat Content
The fats in a piece of steak are responsible for the flavor and juice that is seen flowing from it when it has been cooked. Upon exposure to heat, the steak changes color to turn into some golden brown color that makes your mouth water when you see the cooked meat. Meat science explains that the more fats a steak has, the more flavorful it is. It goes further to explain that a piece of meat harvested from a fatty animal or its fat rich part of its body, the more flavorful and juicy it is. Hence, a piece of steak from parts of animal with less fat content will be a little tough and chewy.
- Cooking Method
Although heat is responsible for converting fat in a steak to flavors, too much of it will only erode the fats and juices from the meat. There is a specific amount of temperatures to cook each type of steak. An undercooked steak will be a little tough since all the fat has not be converted into flavors and the juice has not started to flow, hence the steak is tough and chewy. An overcooked steak on the other hand, will be tougher and chewier since heat erodes all the fats and juices, leaving it hard.
- Connective Tissues
Connective tissue is the general term for ligaments, tendons and collagen membranes that hold the piece of steak together. The more connective tissues a steak has, the tougher and chewy a steak will be, since these are also responsible for the toughness in a steak. To avoid this toughness and chewiness, you are advised to order steaks that are not close to the muscle parts of an animal. This is because steaks from muscle rich parts of an animal have more connective tissues due to the muscles.
- The Animal From Which the Steak is Harvested
Meat science has it that an old animal has tougher and chewy steak since its meat has more muscle fibers than a young one. The type of food an animal is fed will also determine the texture of its meat. Meat scientists advise that for tender and flavorful steak, you should harvest it from younger animals that have been fed with grass fodder. The opposite of this only gives you tougher and chewy steak due to the hardness of the animal meat, caused by age.
- The Part of the Animal
Steaks from parts of an animal that are more active like on the legs, shoulders and the back are more tough and chewy because as we previously found out, these have more connective tissues, caused by the higher number of muscle fibers. Experts advise that for full tenderness and flavors, you should order steaks from the belly and thigh parts. Such steaks include tenderloin and filet mignon.
Having said that, we have seen how much important the methodology of cooking is to the toughness and chewiness of a steak. Other factors like the animal from which the steak is sourced and the part of the animal where it is cut will affect the toughness of the steak. For you to enjoy the best steaks in terms of flavor, juice and tenderness, you should visit a steakhouse since these are professionals and have the knowledge in regards to the type steak you need, depending on your order and how to cook it perfectly for you to have your wish fulfilled.