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How Do You Tenderize Stew Meat?

How Do You Tenderize Stew Meat?

There are lots of things involved in cooking. This includes preparing the food and getting it ready to be cooked.

To prepare the food, you may add some spices, heat it, or tenderize the meat. Tenderizing is especially important for meat because it makes it easier to eat.

People will tenderize all types of meat, which includes stew meat. In this article, we will go into what stew meat and tenderizing are before finally going into the top three ways to tenderize your meat.

By the end of the article, we promise that you will be an expert on tenderizing!

What Is Stew Meat?

Stew meat is a very inexpensive cut of beef to get. It is made from cuts of beef that have a lot of muscle or connective tissue. This includes a chuck cut.

Just because stew meat is called stew meat does not mean you have to cook stew with it. You can make pot pie, chili, curry, or goulash, to name a few options out there.

It makes sense to tenderize this meat since it starts tough. The best part about it, though, is that it is affordable and will not be a heavy burden on your wallet.

What Is Tenderizing?

Before we go into the methods of tenderizing stew meat, you need to know exactly what it is and why it is done.

Tenderizing meat is the process of breaking down the connective tissue in meat, which will make it easier for you to chew and eat.

This method is not for those who enjoy eating tough meat. It is more for people who do not want to fight with their food.

How to Tenderize Stew Meat

There are a couple of ways you can tenderize stew meat. In this section, you will learn about using a meat mallet, braising the meat, marinating it, and finally searing it.

Meat Mallet

One of the fastest ways to tenderize stew meat is by using a meat mallet to pound the meat. Doing this helps break down the connective tissue, making it more tender. To do this, you must:

  • Wrap the meat in a plastic bag, wax paper, or something similar. This will help prevent the juice from splashing all over.
  • Place the stew meat on a cutting board or other surface.
  • Now here is the fun part. Grab your meat mallet and start pounding at the stew meat.
  • Keep doing this until you are satisfied it is flat enough. You do not want to overdo it or pound too hard because it could ruin your meat.
  • Final step is to take it out of the bag and start cooking it however you like.

That’s it! See? We told you this was a pretty quick way to tenderize your meat.


When you are braising meat, you are soaking it in a water and salt solution. It is one of the slower methods, but it does help infuse the meat with flavor.

  • To start, put about a half cup of water in the pot and then add a teaspoon or two of salt.
  • If cooking on the stovetop, turn it to medium heat, and if in the oven, put it at 300 degrees.
  • Once the mixture is boiling, put the stew meat inside and cover.
  • It should braise for about two hours in both the oven and on the stovetop. Once that period is up, you can start cooking up your meat!

This is a slow-cooking method, so if you have some time on your hands, consider braising your meat.

It is a great, simple way to tenderize the meat and still manage to get some flavor in the meat.


Marinating is the third way to tenderize your stew meat, and this is done by using a marinade with something that has a lot of acid in it to break down the muscle.

It includes vinegar, lemon, wine, and lime, to name a few options out there.

  • Put the stew meat in a container and then pour the marinade over it.
  • You can then put the mixture in the fridge and let it sit there for a few hours. It shouldn’t marinate longer than 24 hours, though, so no longer than a day.
  • After that time frame is up, take the stew meat out of the fridge.
  • Remove it from the container and cook it. However, you like to cook stew meat!

Using this method is great because it infuses the marinade into the meat, making it even tastier than it will be once you are done cooking it!


The final method takes some time and can sometimes be done using a Dutch Oven or something similar.

This isn’t to say you can’t just sear the meat on the stovetop, but if you do happen to have a Dutch oven, take advantage of it.

  • To start searing, first heat the oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
  • Throw the beef and start searing until the stew meat is browned on all sides.
  • Once it looks to be done, take it out. It’s best to just sear a small amount of stew meat at a time.
  • If you have a Dutch oven, you can cook the meat there. Set it up following the instructions that come with it, and then cook the meat for 2 hours on a low simmer.

That’s all there is to the searing method. A little complicated, but for some people, it’ll work out well for them—especially if they have a Dutch oven.

Final Thoughts

And there you go, all you stew meat lovers out there! Once we explained what stew meat and tenderizing were, we went into the top three ways to tenderize stew meat in the first place.

In a matter of no time, you will see how easy tenderizing meat is.

It is a great way to make your food tender and soft. So soft that it will melt in your mouth!

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