How to Make a Cheap Steak Taste Like a Million Bucks

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cooked steak and potatoes on platter
Photo by FoodieFactor licensed under CC0

Whether you’re on a budget, aren’t sure how to choose top-quality steak cuts, or don’t have access to high-quality steaks in your area, it doesn’t matter. With the right techniques, you can turn a steak that’s lacking in flavor, texture, and eye-catching appeal into a masterpiece. Steak is fantastic like that. Here’s how to do it:

Pay Attention to the Supporters

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The sides you serve with steak can always elevate your dish, even if the steak is only sub-par. If you don’t think that your steak can stand out enough in your meal, make it more of a supporting part of the dish and bring a side or two to the forefront.

It’s easy to make a rock star potato dish to boost the overall quality of your meal. Add some bacon and garlic to buttery mashed potatoes or make your own seasoned steak fries.

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Tons of vegetables pair well with steak, too, so get the roasting pan and seasonings out and experiment with one-pan roasted vegetable dishes to take your steak meal to another level.

Make a Good Marinade, Glaze, or Gravy

Marinades, glazes, and gravies all serve two purposes for steak: They can make the meat more flavorful and give it a better texture. When you have some time to spare, a marinade is your best option. You can marinade steak for 24 hours in the fridge, allowing plenty of time for the acids in the marinade to work through the steak’s fibers to make it more tender. Try this Teriyaki Pineapple Steak Marinade that blends the perfect amount of acidity and sweetness.

Glazes and gravies can give steaks a juicier texture when they’re lacking and are better to use when you don’t have as much time to spare. This Garlic Butter recipe is an excellent choice for steaks that get a little tough to chew.

Give it Some Texture

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One last trick – possibly the most important one – we want to mention focuses on texturizing your steak in a way that takes it from tough to tender. It’s easy and it uses just one natural ingredient to make it happen: Salt.

Salt is a natural tenderizer for meat. It helps break down meat fibers that make it tough and chewy. Think of it like the brining process that lobsters go through naturally because they come from saltwater habitats. You know that melt-in-your-mouth texture of lobster meat? That’s partly because of salt in the water. You can replicate that result by using sea salt you have at home.

To do it, put your steak on a baking pan covered in salt. Cover the top of the steak with salt, too. Don’t be scared; the more the better. Just make sure it’s completely covering the exposed surface of the meat. Now, you’re going to let it marinade in the salt at room temperature for at least an hour or two. If your steak is one-inch thick or less, give it an hour. If it’s 1 ½-inches to 2 ½-inches thick or more, give it two to three hours.

When it’s ready, rinse the steak thoroughly, pat completely dry, and cook. Your steak should be super flavorful and tender when you eat it!

Make Every Steak Count by Ordering from Chicago Steak Company

We want to give a quick reminder that not all inexpensive steak cuts aren’t worthy of your time (check out this post highlighting cheap steak cuts that still taste delicious if you don’t believe us). Cost doesn’t equate to quality, so don’t rule out those cheaper cuts you’re not sure about.

But if you do happen to get a not-so-great slab of steak, use the above tricks to boost its flavor and texture.

Or, you can always take the guesswork out of buying quality meat by ordering from Chicago Steak Company online. We provide the best of the best so you don’t have to find it!