How to Tenderize a Cheap Cut of Beef

You can save money by buying cheaper cuts of beef at the grocery store and using a few techniques to tenderize the meat. Tenderizing beef before cooking makes a tough, cheap piece of meat juicy and tender. Tenderizing beef breaks down the fibers in the meat and reduces the amount of collagen in the connective tissues, resulting in meat that is less stringy and chewy.

Meat Hammer

Place the cheap piece of beef on a cutting board on the kitchen counter.

Hold a wooden-handle meat hammer with a stainless steel head in your hand.

Repeatedly hit the meat with the hammer, working to make sure you pound every part of the meat on both sides. Be careful not to pound too hard. Avoid damaging the meat or pounding it until it is too thin.

Baking Soda

Place the raw beef on a cutting board.

Rub baking soda all over the beef, working to rub the soda into the meat with your fingers.

Place the meat on a plate and cover the plate with plastic wrap. Set the meat in the refrigerator to rest for 3 to 5 hours.

Rinse the baking soda off of the meat with cool water before cooking.


Mix together your favorite marinade. Add pineapple juice to the marinade to get an extra boost of tenderizing power, since pineapple juice contains enzymes that help soften tough connective tissues in meat.

Place the beef in a large, plastic zip-top bag and cover the meat with marinade. Place the meat in the fridge overnight for maximum tenderizing.

Turn the bag every few hours to make sure all of the meat gets coated with marinade.

Drain and discard the marinade and cook the beef according to your recipe.