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How to Stir-fry Beef

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How to Stir-fry Beef

Beef With Broccoli - Tender strips of beef stir-fried with broccoli

Rhonda Parkinson
Have you ever had this happen? You’re preparing a beef stir-fry for dinner. Everything starts out fine, but as you turn and move the meat around in the wok, the juices from the meat leak out and start foaming. Instead of nicely browned strips of beef, you end up with grayish pieces of meat that are more stewed than stir-fried.

The problem is that many home stoves can’t generate the roaring heat found in restaurant kitchens. To get the best results when stir-frying meat, you need to modify your technique a bit. Here are simple steps showing how to stir-fry beef:

  • Cut the meat across the grain into thin, uniform strips so that all the pieces cook evenly. (It’s easiest to do this if the meat is partially frozen).
  • Marinate the meat. A good marinade helps tenderize the meat and add flavor, while using cornstarch in the marinade seals in the meat juices. Let the meat sit at room temperature in the marinade for about 15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. Remove the meat from the marinade with a slotted spoon. Discard the excess marinade.
  • Be sure to preheat the wok before adding the oil. (Not sure how to do this? See How to tell if Your Wok is Hot Enough).
  • Add the oil to the wok, tipping the pan to swirl the oil around.
  • Lay the pieces of meat out flat in the wok, taking care not to overcrowd. (Note: a family sized, 14-inch diameter wok can handle about 3/4 pound of beef at a time. Otherwise, cook the beef in batches as needed.)
  • Instead of immediately stir-frying, let the meat sear for about 30 – 45 seconds, before starting to stir-fry. Then stir-fry the meat for a couple of minutes until it changes color, splashing with a small amount of rice wine or dry sherry if desired. Remove the meat from the pan to keep it from overcooking and drain. Add the beef back into the pan as called for in the recipe. (As in this recipe for Stir-fry Beef With Bamboo Shoots)

Best Beef Stir-fry Recipes

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