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How to tell if steak is tender? (Explained)

How to tell if steak is tender? (Explained)

There are a few ways to tell if a steak is tender.

One way is to touch the steak with your finger. If it feels soft, then it is probably tender. Another way is to use a fork to test the steak. If the steak easily slides off the fork, then it is most likely tender.

Finally, you can try cutting the steak with a knife. If the steak cuts easily and does not resist the knife, then it is definitely tender. With these three methods, you should be able to tell if the steak is tender or not.

The good news is, that there are different types of steaks and each one provides its own tenderness. We can go down the list of the cuts of steak and show you how to tell if it is tender before and after it is cooked. Here is the list of steaks: 

Filet Mignon

This is the most tender type of steak and is also the most expensive. You can usually tell if it is tender by touch. If it feels soft, then it is probably tender. Another way to test the filet mignon’s tenderness is by using a fork. If the steak easily slides off the fork, then it is most likely tender.

Ribeye

Ribeye is a very flavorful steak and is also one of the more expensive cuts. It is tenderer than some of the other steaks, but not as tender as filet mignon.

To test for ribeye’s tenderness, you can use your finger or a fork. If it feels soft or if the steak easily slides off the fork, then it is probably tender.

T-bone

T-bone steaks are a little less expensive than ribeye and filet mignon, but they are still quite flavorful. They are not as tender as the two previous steaks, but they are still fairly tender.

To test for tenderness, you can use your finger or a fork. You will still be able to cut through the meat with a fork.

Porterhouse

Porterhouse steaks are similar to T-bone steaks in that they are less expensive and not as tender. However, they are still quite flavorful. To test for tenderness, you can use your finger or a fork. If the steak feels slightly firm to the touch or if it takes a little effort to slide off the fork, then it is probably tender. You will find that the meat will pull apart with a slight pull of the fingertips.

Flank Steak

The flank steak is not as tender as the previous steaks, but it is still full of flavor. It is also a less expensive cut of steak. To test for tenderness, you can use your finger or a fork.

It will be a little more difficult to cut through with a fork and you may need a steak knife. However, the steak knife should glide right through the grain. There will still be a burst of flavor with every bite.

Hanger Steak

Hanger steak is not as tender as flank steak, but it is still reliable even though it is not one of the most common choices of cuts. It is also a less expensive cut of steak.

To test for tenderness, you can use your finger or a fork. Firmness is a sure sign of tenderness if you can slide a steak knife and fork through without the feeling that you are sawing through wood. The knife should just glide.

Do not expect the tenderness of a ribeye or filet mignon with these lower choices of steaks. Some of the steaks require long low and slow cooking to make them tender. These are not meant for the grill or high stovetop.

Skirt Steak

As you can see, the further down the list we go, the less tender the cuts of meat get. The cheaper the meat also gets further down this list you go.

To test for tenderness, you can use the same methods of fingers, forks, and steak knives. The same rules apply to the previous steaks which are not famous in restaurants or steak houses.

New York Strip Steak

New York strip steak is a bit more popular in restaurants, but it is still fairly tender even though it takes a bit more effort to cook. It is also a less expensive cut of steak.

To test for tenderness, the same measures apply as the ones above. Many people like this steak because the right chef can make it tender and burst with flavor through extensive seasoning. Some of these steaks take a beating with a steak hammer or use a little bit of vinegar for tenderizer.

Sirloin Steak

Sirloin steak is a popular steak, and it is still fairly tender if cooked properly. It is also a less expensive cut of steak and one of the favorites in Southern meals like chicken fried steak.

To test for tenderness, the meat should be able to pull apart and be fork tender. It takes a little effort to get the meat tender.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, it takes a little more experience and work to get the latter steaks tender. The top steaks call for mostly a high and fast sear while the rest call for a low and slow heat. Either way, steak, no matter the cut is the most enjoyable of all the cuts!