It happens to the best of us. Time gets away from you, and suddenly you’ve got an overcooked piece of beef. Learning to cook specific cuts of meat, like steaks or brisket, can take a lot of practice. And along the way, you’re bound to overcook, but worry not!
Overcooking beef isn’t the end of the world; you don’t have to turn your hard work into expensive dog food. There are ways to fix dry beef using a bit of ingenuity and patience (same with dry chicken). Below, we’ll show you four simple techniques that will turn your dry beef into a delicious meal.
Delicious Solutions for Saving Dried Out Beef
Below are four simple solutions to save your dinner when the beef is overcooked.
Solution 1: Simmer and serve
One of the easiest ways to still serve overcooked beef is by slowly reheating it in liquids. However, remember that this doesn’t necessarily restore the meat to pre-overcooked status.
You see, meat combines protein, fat, and liquid. When you overcook beef, you cook out most of the fat and fluid, which leaves protein in the form of tough muscle fibers.
By reintroducing fat and liquid into the meat via a simmering process, you’re masking the fact the meat has been overcooked. However, this isn’t a magic fix. It won’t taste as juicy or tender as perfectly cooked beef, but it won’t taste like shoe leather.
The trick is to use sauces, broth, oils, and even wine to cook the meat. Just remember that spices can burn in the bottom of your pan, which is why many will mix them with liquids such as bone, beef broth, or even wine to prevent burning.
You can even use simmering on burnt beef. For this, it’s usually best to use water or broth. The idea is to allow the liquid to penetrate the meat without further overcooking. Adding a few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar can also help bring burned beef back to life.
Slow cookers are ideal for simmering overcooked beef. Broiling is also a suitable method.
Solution 2: Marinate and reuse
However, you want to be careful using acid-based citrus marinades. While they can make your beef more tender, they can also make it mushy if you leave the meat in too long. Broth mixed with a bit of wine or sauce is a safe bet for overnight marinades, but you can find many great recipes or use store-bought marinades.
And once your meat’s a bit more tender, you can reuse it in savory soup and stew recipes that will further tenderize and flavor your meat.
Solution 3: Make Meat Filling
Another great solution is to turn your dried-out beef into a delicious filling for meat pies, dumplings, and other tasty dishes.
All you need is a handy dandy food processor and a bit of oil (like olive oil) to accomplish this. You can add more seasoning and other ingredients if you’d like, depending on what kind of filling you’re trying to make.
Some cooks slowly simmer their beef and pour the contents into their food processor. For example, you can repurpose overcooked beef by puréeing in its cooking liquid and adding a bit of sherry wine to create a fabulous tortellini filling.
Pasta is an excellent dish for this method, since you’re trying to achieve a beef flavor without worrying about the texture and moisture of the meat. In this case, the consistency that counts more is that of your pasta.
You can use your processed meat filling to create chili or meat sauce.
Solution 4: Deep Fry It
If your beef is already overcooked, you might wish to go all the way by throwing it in a deep fryer. This method works well for dishes like overcooked brisket, as it’s usually dry-rubbed with spices and salt before cooking.
This technique creates a beef jerky effect that has a bacon-like texture and makes for a delicious meat snack, perfect for a protein snack before and after workouts.
FAQs about Ways To Fix Dry Beef
What can I do with dry overcooked beef?
You can rehydrate the beef to a certain degree by simmering or marinating it in liquid. You can throw it in a food processor with oil to create a meat filling or deep fry it.
How do you soften overcooked meat?
The best way is to either marinate it overnight or slow cook it in broth, water, sauce, or a combination of all three. Citrus juice such as lemon can also help soften the meat.
How do you revive a dry roast?
Put the roast in a slow cooker or pot.
Add about 2-3 cups of liquid of your choosing, ensuring you use enough to cover the roast halfway but not completely. You’ll want to use liquid that brings out the flavors of any seasonings you’ve already used to flavor your roast, such as red wine. Be careful using sauces as the starch or flour can burn while slowly cooking.
Simmer the beef until you determine it’s tender enough using your fork. You can cook it for 6-8 hours in a slow cooker or set it in a pan in the oven for two hours at 350 degrees.
When can overcooked beef be a good thing?
There is at least one occasion, aside from making beef jerky, where overcooked beef is a good thing. When making ground beef for soups or tacos, a little burnt meat can add a lot of savory flavors.
Don’t throw away that seasoned burnt meat stuck to the bottom of your skillet. Instead, scrape it off and mix it into the rest of the beef. Those deliciously crispy, burnt little pieces are like tiny land mines of flavor that enhance your dish.