Tenderizing Tough Cuts of Meat with Best Dry Rub Recipe

Tenderizing meat is an easy process that will always result in rave reviews at the table.  Feeding a large family, I save money by  buying less desirable cuts of organic beef and turning it into the most succulent meat.  When preparing venison,  I am able to use any part of the deer and have it be tender and tasty.

Perfect Dry Rub
Perfect Dry Rub

Tenderizing meat gives more preparation options.  By tenderizing the meat you will be able to cook tougher cuts of meat using the same methods you would use for prime cuts.  Below are my top three methods for tenderizing meat which always results in flavorful, juicy, tender,non-gamey meat.

Tough cuts of meat are usually tough due to the connective tissue and muscle fiber in the meat of the animal.  One excellent way to break this down is to cut your meat into about 1 inch slices and pound it with a meat mallet until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  At this point, you could season it, cut it into strips, lightly stir fry it for various dishes.  You could also bread it and pan fry it for delicious Parmesan Venison or Venison Piccata. Watch my video for a demonstration of this method.

Another method of tenderizing meats is by using marinades.  Marinade your meat for several hours (for me, 24 hours) using a combination for the marinade of acid (vinegar, lemon juice, or wine), oil, and herbs and spices of your choice.  Not only does this add flavor to your meat, the acid will break down the connective tissue and muscle fiber in the meat.  To use this method, combine ingredients in a non reactive bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  You could also put the ingredients in a zip top bag and refrigerate.

Using a dry rub is also a fantastic way to tenderize meat as well as extract major flavor from the meat.  There are endless combinations of herbs and spices that can be used.  To use this method, combine spices and rub vigorously into the meat, cover, and refrigerate overnight to allow the spices to permeate flavor into the meat and to tenderize the meat.

After removing it from the refrigerator, proceed with your favorite preparation of the meat.  One of my favorites is to heat a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet until the skillet is almost smoking.  Place the meat into the skillet and let it brown for about four minutes (depending on the thickness of the meat) then turn and brown the other side or about three minutes. Remove the meat and let rest covered for about 10 minutes. Slice the meat and serve.


Perfect Dry Rub

Best Dry Rub (3 pounds of meat)

Using a dry rub is a great way to tenderize meat as well as extract major flavor from the meat.
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Course Condiment
Cuisine American


  • 2 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Smoked Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1   teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Mix all ingredients and rub thouroughly into the meat.  Cover the meat and refrigerate for atleast 3 hours. I like to leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours or overnight.
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  1. One of my families’ favorite dinners is when I sear the steaks and then simmer in the broth for a while and make a gravy on it. They want noodles, fresh bread, mashed potatoes or rice for the bed and cover that with the meat and gravy and maybe a side salad or green beans.

    1. Stacy Harris says:

      Yummmm! That sounds like an ultimate comfort food Pat! You have a very blessed family.

  2. David Rhodes says:

    Stacy:for venison rubs, besides coffee, can brown sugar, cumin, salt , pepper be added? what about adding chile powder or molassas? I,m going to grill loin steaks. also when grilling wrap bacon or not?

    1. David, absolutely. That sounds fantastic. Loins are so tender anyway, they don’t have to have the acid to break down the fibers, etc. You can grill it with or without the bacon, but the bacon would add flavor and keep it moist. If I cook the venison on the stovetop and finish it off in the oven, I usually don’t use bacon, but on the grill, I like to use bacon with it…just a matter of preference. I know it is going to be fantastic!!!!

  3. David Rhodes says:

    Stacy after receiving your tips on the rub with coffee, brown sugar and a few other seasonings- I applied the rub to 2 venison loin steaks and left in fridge 9:39Ffriday nite to 5:30 Saturday afternoon, wrapped mine in bacon / the other without/ cooked on charcoal grill – AWESOME!!!! My wife (not a bacon person) tried mine and liked it better!! Thanks for such a fresh Idea!!!!!

    1. I KNEW it would be fantastic!!! I just made my venison chili, but after hearing this am going to thaw out a few loins! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  5. Do you ever use coffee as an addition to your dry rub?

    1. I do! The acid in the coffee really tenderizes the meat!

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