Why is My Steak Tough and Chewy?


It is not that uncommon to deal with a steak that is so tough and chewy that it makes you regret consuming it in the first place.

But that’s not what steaks should be like – they’re supposed to be so tender and juicy that your taste palate refuses to forget its amazing taste.

Chewy Steak

So if you didn’t end up with a good and flavorful steak, you must be wondering: why is my steak tough and chewy?

Lucky for you, we have the secret to juicy beef steaks.

Why is My Beef Steak Tough and Chewy?

Tough and chewy steaks are not always a result of cooking mishaps.

There can be several reasons behind a tough steak.

1. Amount of Fat in Your Steak

The fat content in your steak contributes to the flowing juices and enhanced flavor of your steak, and hence if your steak of choice isn’t rich in fat, it might be tough and chewy.

2. Amount of Connective Tissues

The connective tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, and collagen membranes contribute to the toughness of the meat.

Hence steaks rich in collagen content will be chewy.

3. Part of the Animal

As the above-mentioned factors represent themselves, your choice of steak will be a huge factor in determining whether the steak turns out juicy and tender, or chewy and tough.

4. Age of the Animal

As an animal grows older, the number of muscle fibers in its meat increases.

The greater the number of muscle fibers, the tougher the meat will be.

5. Age of the Steak

If a steak is frozen before it’s cooked, proper defrosting is mandatory for good taste.

Improper defrosting can lead to a loss of flavor, and make it chewy.

How do I Make My Steak Less Chewy?

You can make your steaks more tender and less chewy by leaving them in a refrigerator overnight after marination. Marination itself helps make the meat less tough and chewy.

There can be alternate methods as well, such as poking holes in the meat or simply tenderizing it with a hammer. However, such methods are known to affect the flavor of the meats a little.

One method could be by choosing a steak that is rich in fat and cooking it at the recommended heat for the recommended time period carefully.

See Also: How to Grill Thin Steak

Can You Fix Chewy Steak?

You should first check if your tough steak is a result of undercooking. If that’s the case, then simply cooking it further will fix it.

However, if it’s factors other than that, we recommend that you soak the tough steak in your favorite marinade and leave it overnight. Slice it up to eat the next day!

Does Steak Get More Tender the Longer You Cook it?

No, your steak will not get more tender the longer you cook it.

One of the reasons your steak is tough and chewy can be that you cooked it for too long!

The fat content in your steak is converted into juices and flavors on exposure to heat. However, too much heat will dissolve all the fats and juices.

Therefore, there is only a particular heat intensity each type of steak should be cooked over, for a specific period.

Wrapping it Up

Chewy and tough steaks can be mood killers. You deserve a freshly cooked juicy and flavorful steak, and we told you everything you need to know to get them.

Happy cooking!

Also Read: Ribeye vs Picanha


Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.