Did you ever have those questions in mind why the order of beef stir fry in a restaurant is so tender and juicy. But after you tried the same thingat home, the result is very disappointed. The meat goes dry, tough and chewy…. I had the same question before. After some research and numerous tests, I finally figured out how to cook the most tender and juicy beef stir fry at home. The secrete is first to choose the right beef cut.
How to cook the most Tender and Juicy Beef Stir Fry?
#1 – What is the best beef to use for a stir fry
There are too many beef cuts you can choose. Just simply “Steak” does not mean it is good for stir-frying. Some other parts may require long-slow cooking also not for a stir-fry. Choose the right part is the first step to make this work.
- Flank Steak – this is the most popular cut of meat for stir-frying.
- Skirt steak – fairly inexpensive part. It is long, flat, rectangular shape help cut into slices much easier.
- Sirloin Steak -A flavorful cut that’s versatile and juicy.
#2 – how to cut beef for stir fry
- Freeze for 20 minutes – If the meat is at room temperature, freeze in the fridge for 20 minutes. This will firm it up a bit, which helps slice it into thin strips much easier. If meat is frozen directly from the fridge, thaw the meat a bit but slice before it is still firm and solid.
- Cut against the grain – Cut into strips across the grain to shorten the muscle fibers and help tenderize the meat. If you cut in the same direction as the grain, the meat comes out tough and ropey.
- The thinner, the better – Slice thinly as 3mm with a sharp knife, if possible. The goal with any stir-fry is to cut the food into bite-size thinly pieces that will cook rapidly and remain tender.
#3 – Marinate Meat
- Velveting – This is to coat the sliced meat in a mixture including cornstarch. First, add all seasonings then coat with cornstarch to sit for 15 minutes before cooking. Cornstarch helps tenderize the meat and seal all seasonings in the meat.
- Do not over add cornstarch, it will make the stir fry slimy. Also, stir fry over high heat, so it cooks quickly and properly. 1 tablespoon is normally good for 1 pound slice.
#4 – Quickly Stir Fry on high heat
- Preheat the pan – Stir-frying means quickly cooking thin uniform pieces of meat in an open pan. High heat can quickly cook meat and make it tender
- Add slightly more oil – beef eats a lot of oil. If there is too less oil, it will become dry and sticky quickly.
- Cook in batches – do not overfill the pan. Cook in batches. That will give you better taste instead of end up boiling the meat in a crowded pan.
- Nonstick wok or skillet – This will prevent meat to stick on the pan.
I tend to add vegetables when beef is still partially red on some pieces. Yes, it is not completely cooked through yet. If you cook the beef thoroughly at this stage, the meat will be overcooked when mixing together with vegetables.
How to cook beef stir fry with vegetables?
#1 – Finish above steps to cook beef to medium done
#2- Add vegetables in to stir fry
- what vegetables – broccoli, onion, green onion are the most common vegetables to go with beef stir-fry. But you can add a variety mix of carrot slice and pepper
- Better to add vegetables in when the meat is still red or partially red
If you worry the beef is getting dry and chewy, cook vegetables separately then add vegetables at last to combine.
In summary, to have the most tender beef stir-fry, you need to slice the right cut thinly first and cook on a high heat in a short amount time. Regarding marinate, there might be different methods. Traditional Chinese cooking typically marinates beef first then stir-fry on high heat. But some recipes may recommend to mix sauce separately and add in when cooking. Both ways work, but “Velveting” does help to seal the sauce and make beef tender.