by Matt Duckor, Epicurious
So you're ready for summer grilling. You've purchased the perfect grill, and you've procured the latest, greatest cuts of steak.
Cut to you throwing that glorious piece of meat onto a blazing hot grill, all of your loved ones looking on in anticipation. A few minutes later, the steak is pulled off the grill. You slice into the meat's thick crust to reveal perfectly medium-rare flesh.
The only problem? When you actually eat the steak you realize it's, well, chewy.
And why? Because you forgot the sugar.
It may seem counterintuitive to make like Mary Poppins and add a spoonful of the sweet stuff to your meat. But you don't add sugar for its flavor -- you add it for its effect on texture. Some of the most popular cuts of beef (skirt steak, flank steak) are tough and chewy unless exposed to sugar, which is a natural tenderizer. So how do you get the sugar onto the steak? Two ways.
THROW TOGETHER A QUICK RUB
Make a large batch of this easy-to-remember rub to use on beef, poultry, or vegetables: Combine 4 parts salt, 3 parts brown sugar, 2 parts sweet paprika, and 1 part cayenne pepper. It sounds like a lot of sugar, but it's not there just to tenderize--it also assists in giving your steak a caramelized crust. Get the recipe.
WHIP UP A SIMPLE MARINADE
If you've got extra time on your hands, tenderize whatever you're cooking with an easy marinade. Combine brown sugar with other flavorful ingredients such as cilantro, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, even a few jalapeños, if you've got some. The marinade found in this recipe for Korean steak tacos is a good place to start; let the meat marinate for at least 20 minutes, and up to 24 hours. Get the recipe.
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