If you ask Jimmy Chill, Head Chef & Culinary Director at Branja Miami, if your meat requires tenderizing, it’s a pretty bad sign. “If your meat needs to be tenderized; sorry to break it to you, but you’re buying terrible quality meat,” he says. But this advice comes with a caveat. While a beef tenderloin that isn’t tender definitely means your meat is not of the highest of calibers, some cuts do indeed require tenderizing just by which part of the animal they come from.
Generally speaking, the more connective tissue a muscle has, the more the resulting cut benefits from tenderizing. The more a muscle works during the animal’s life, the more connective tissue it has. It’s for this reason that Katie Flannery, one half of the father-daughter team behind online meat purveyor Flannery Beef, explains that cuts from the legs and sides of the animal are those that need tenderizing the most. These include cuts like bottom round, top round, short ribs, bavette, brisket, or chuck. “I don’t think any of these cuts are harmed by tenderizing,” she says. “Ones that would be harmed don’t need tenderizing in the first place.” Members of the latter category include the aforementioned beef tenderloin or ribeye. Tenderizing these already-tender cuts, according to Chef Kenny Gilbert, VP of Culinary Operations, Grove Bay Hospitality Group, is “not necessary.”