How to marinate a steak

Marinades, generally some combination of salt, sugar, an acid and various other flavorings, are used to both enhance flavor and to tenderize beef. Realizing that marinades are generally going to create a nice caramelized coating on the outside of the beef when grilled, and not flavor the center of the slab of meat, is the first step in determining how long to marinate a steak. Generally, this marinating window is pretty forgiving. So much so that many recipes will instruct only to “marinate overnight“.

That being said, the type of steak being marinated should also be considered when determining how long to marinate. Tender cuts of beef, for instance tenderloin, really do better without any type of marinating. Whereas tougher cuts, like flank steak, will be very difficult to chew without receiving some major marinating time.

How to marinate a steak

Like we said, many recipes say to “marinate overnight”. What happens if you don’t have that long to wait or you get tied up the next day and don’t even make it to the grill? Either scenario could work out to be OK, but again different cuts of beef will react differently to the marinade. Also, marinade ingredients can have different reactions with the meat.*

For a nice juicy steak originating from the tender portion of the cow (the loin) marinating is not necessary, or even recommended.
It is recommended to only use salt and pepper on tender cuts of steak before grilling or searing. Salt tender steaks only about 30 minutes prior to cooking as they rest on the counter. This is because salt tends to draw out the moisture from the meat, leaving behind a dry steak if it was salted too early. This holds true for cuts of beef labeled tenderloins, top loins, T-bone and porterhouse steaks.

For ribeye steaks, tri-tip steaks and top sirloin steaks marinating can be beneficial to make them as flavorful and sealed on the outside as possible. A marinade will never reach the center of the meat, so poking with a fork will help impart more flavor and tenderize.

For tougher cuts of steak – like chuck steak, shoulder steak, top round steak, bottom round steak, skirt steak, hanger steak and flank steak – marinating is a necessity unless you were blessed with razor sharp teeth.

The USDA says meat can safely marinate in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. [1]
But, let’s be clear, this is an amount of time for food safety and not a recipe for maximum enjoyment of the steak. The steak will be safe to consume after marinating up to 5 days, but the tissues of the meat may be so broken down by the marinade in that amount of time that the texture may be unrecognizable. The steak could be drier or tougher than when it began, depending on the marinade ingredients, after this extended amount of time. Instead, we recommend the following times as a guideline for marinating steak.

Cut Minimum Maximum
Tenderloins, Top loins, T-bone and Porterhouse steaks Marinating Not Recommended Salt 30 minutes prior to cooking
Ribeye, Tri-tip and Sirloin steaks 30 Minutes 4 Hours*
Chuck, Shoulder, Top Round, Bottom Round, Skirt, Hanger and Flank Steak

4 Hours* 24 Hours

* Highly acidic marinades such as those that include salt and/or alcohol and/or too much citrus should marinate for no longer than four hours. After about four hours the acid will begin to chemically cook the the meat, destroying the protein structure. This works out great for a very tough cut of meat like a flank steak, but a tender cut like a ribeye might actually become less desirable after marinating too long.

How to marinate a steak

In the past, using marinade on food was used exclusively for food conservation. This technique allowed food to last longer and also to acquire flavor. Now, this gastronomic concept has changed.

With the use of a series of ingredients that you can find anywhere, you can give aroma, texture, flavor and smell to all the meats that you prepare.

In this sense, marinating is related to seasoning, although it differs in technique. That is to say, when seasoning, elements such as hermetic plastic bags are not required to trap the flavor, nor is it typical the use of wines or vinaigrette .

Now, the attractiveness of this culinary method is linked with guaranteeing natural preservatives and proteins. When marinating the meat, these are maintained and are absorbed by the body without getting lost in the cooking.

In this article, discover these 3 ways to marinate the meat that will amaze you.

Ways to marinate meat

1. Marinated meat with beer

This recipe for marinating meat is ideal if you don’t have much time to cook.

Ingredients

  • Beef (1 kg)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (15 g)
  • Dark beer (355 mL)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt (15 g)
  • 2 tablespoons of ground oregano (30 g)
  • 4 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (90 mL)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder (15 g)
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper (15 g)

Preparation

  • Put the meat in a deep bowl and pour over the oregano, cumin, peeled and shredded garlic cloves, and the Worcestershire sauce.
  • Mix with your hands and cover with dark beer.
  • Cover with clear paper or place the meat in an airtight bag and let it sit there in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
  • After two hours, put the meat on the grill and cook to your liking on one side and the other.
  • Once the meat is ready, cover with aluminum foil and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  • Serve the meat marinated with beer accompanied by the garnish of your liking, such as a salad or potatoes .

2. Marinated meat with red wine and herbs

This technique of marinating meat is perhaps the most popular. This is because of the tasty combination of the acid of the wine and the freshness of the herbs.

Ingredients

  • Beef (1 kg)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt (15 g)
  • 3 cloves of garlic without skin (15 g)
  • 2 and 1/2 cups of red wine (350 mL)
  • 1 spoonful of black pepper (15 g)
  • 2 tablespoons of ground rosemary (30 g)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground basil (15 g)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (49 mL)

Preparation

  • Peel the garlic and add the tablespoons of ground rosemary. Mix the other ingredients in a bowl, (without the meat).
  • Place the meat in a deep rectangular bowl and pour the preparation on top.
  • Marinate the meat overnight, or at least for 6 consecutive hours in the refrigerator.
  • After that time, remove the meat from the container. It’s ready to roast!
  • Finally, you can serve the meat accompanied with vegetables.

3. Marinated meat with honey and lemon

This preparation is extremely simple: it consists of marinating the meat with the combination of lemon juice, a touch of honey and some onion to add more texture and provide a contrast of delicious flavors.

A great marinade can make the difference between a so-so meal and a memorably mouthwatering dish. You can always buy one at the grocery store, but these premade marinades often have unnecessary additives and preservatives and are way more pricey than creating your own. When you make your own marinade, you have complete control over exactly what goes into it and can adjust accordingly for your taste preferences and the cut of meat you’re preparing. In my experience, making things like marinade fresh always takes meals to the next level. There’s nothing like a dinner cooked completely from scratch and made with love. And of course, quality meat makes the best marinade shine that much brighter. Once you understand the guidelines for what makes a marinade work well, you’ll find that it’s not only easy to make your own but also really fun to get creative with the ingredients.

How to marinate a steak

First of all, it’s important to know which cuts of meat benefit from a marinade and which ones don’t need one at all. Premium steaks like tenderloin and ribeye don’t need a marinade and should be cooked just as they are. However, for steaks with more muscle fiber from leaner parts of the animal, a simple marinade can make a huge difference. Cuts like sirloin and flank steak will become much more tender after soaking in some juicy goodness. The marinade actually helps to soften and break down muscle fibers in these leaner steaks. Marinades can also be used purely for adding flavor, and in this sense may be desirable for cuts of meat that may not need to be tenderized. You can always adjust the recipe to account for a lesser need for breaking down muscle fibers in more tender cuts.

Fat Makes For Juicy, Succulent Steak

At the most basic level, a good marinade should contain fat, acid, salt and sugar. The fat helps to add moisture and juiciness to the steak. Since the cuts that benefit the most from a marinade tend to be leaner, it’s easy to understand why adding some fat to the meat can make a difference. The most popular choice tends to be high quality olive oil. However, you could use any oil that you enjoy or have on hand. It’s important to keep in mind that not all oils are healthy, and some have better flavor than others. You can even use fats like coconut milk or yogurt. When using any coconut product, remember that some of the flavor will be left behind on the meat.

Acid Makes Tougher Cuts Perfectly Tender

The acid component of the marinade is what helps to soften and break down tougher cuts of meat. It tenderizes muscular connective tissue and can completely transform steaks that would be chewy into something that melts in your mouth. Vinegar is a great choice and you can select the perfect flavor based on your preferences and the other ingredients in the marinade. Balsamic, red wine, apple cider or rice vinegar can all be great options depending on what you’re cooking. You can also use the acid from citrus fruits like lemon, lime or orange for this part of the marinade.

How to marinate a steak

Salt For Even More Tenderness & Extra Flavor

Salt further aids in tenderizing the meat, while also adding an important flavor aspect. Interestingly, the salt also plays an important role by drawing existing moisture out of the steak. This might seem like the opposite of what a marinade is supposed to do, but it actually helps to make the meat more flavorful. When the moisture that’s already present is removed, the meat responds by soaking up more of the liquid from the marinade. This is one reason to make sure that the meat is completely submerged while marinating. We always recommend using a high quality salt like sea salt, kosher salt or Himalayan pink salt. You can also use a salty liquid like soy sauce or tamari.

Sugar Completes The Flavor Profile

Something sweet balances out the flavor profile of the marinade. I love to use honey, brown sugar, coconut sugar or agave. Fruit juice can be a delicious and flavorful addition. Anything sweet will do the trick – some recipes even call for soda. Another hidden benefit of some sugar in your marinade is that it creates a better sear on the meat. The sugar will caramelize and form a delectable, crispy crust that gives meat great texture and multidimensional flavor.

Those four components create a great basic marinade that will achieve tender, juicy success. However, there’s endless options for adding herbs, spices and other ingredients to customize and enhance the flavor of the meat. Onions and garlic are reliable classics – simply finely chop and mix them into the marinade. Other herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage can add layers of flavor and savory goodness. More unusual ingredients like coffee or beer can complement the rich flavors of a great steak in a really memorable way.

How to marinate a steak

You can combine the ingredients in a food processor, or just mix them together by hand. Make sure any solid ingredients like garlic, onion or herbs are chopped finely for maximum surface area so that all the flavor is soaked up by the meat. Aim to marinade steaks for at least 30 minutes beforehand, but a few hours is even better (unless it’s an already relatively tender cut that you just want to add flavor to). Keep in mind that too much time spent soaking in marinade can make meat too soft – adjust accordingly depending on the cut and be mindful of how much acid is going into the mix. All steaks have equal potential to be delicious, it’s just a matter of proper preparation. Learning to make a great marinade can open the door to far more cooking options and truly delicious meals.

A marinade is like an insurance policy for your grilled steak — not only will a simple marinade add flavor, but it will also help protect the beef against overcooking. Marinades have fallen out of fashion with the rise of brines and rubs, but there is a reason your mom always had a bag of marinating meat in the fridge: They work and they’re delicious.

Marinating a steak requires just a few special considerations — like which cuts of steak to marinate for the grill and the right ratio of ingredients for flavor and easy cooking. All your efforts will be rewarded with a tender, juicy cut of beef that will take the guesswork out of grilling steaks.

What Is the Ultimate Steak Marinade?

We all want our grilled steak to be flame-kissed with a rosy, juicy center, so the ultimate steak marinade should aid us in those goals. It also makes good sense to spend money on a great steak and be scrappy when it comes to the marinade ingredients. The ultimate marinade should freeze well and be effective in an hour or overnight. This marinade also works well on a variety of steaks.

The Best Steak for Marinades

While the effects of marinades are often debated, we can all agree that prime steaks like T-bone and strip steak are best salted, peppered, and cooked to temperature. All other steaks benefit from a marinade to help with flavor and tenderness. This marinade is ideal for flank, flat-iron, and tri-tip steak. Smaller steaks like skirt and hanger work well, but make sure you double up on the steaks or reduce the amount of marinade for this recipe.

Key Ingredients for Marinades

  • Fat: You could use almost any oil for your marinade, but we love olive oil for its flavor and quality. It has a smoke point that is lower than avocado or peanut oil, but it still prevents sticking and adds flavor.
  • Acid: Balsamic or red wine vinegar and even lemon juice are said to help tenderize tough cuts of meat, but more importantly their sharp flavor counters both the salinity of a well-seasoned steak and the rich flavor produced from the grill. Bonus: The natural sugars in vinegar caramelize, making for really great grill marks!
  • Salt: What doesn’t salt bring to the party? It seasons the steak, aids in moisture retention, and tenderizes. Don’t skimp on it here!
  • Flavor enhancers: If all marinades are effectively made from the same four components, this is the one place to make yours unique. Mustard is one of our go-to flavor enhancers because it packs a lot of flavor in a little punch and everyone has it in the fridge. Try a few smashed cloves of garlic and let them marinate too. Got some green onions? Throw them in as well.

Grilling and Serving Marinated Steak

How you cook your steak will ultimately be determined by the steak you choose, but most steaks that you’d want to marinate also love to be cooked hot and fast. Most importantly, make sure that your steak is removed from the marinade and patted dry before you get grilling.

How To Make the Ultimate Marinade for Tender Grilled Steak

Marinades are like insurance for your grilled steaks. Learn the basics of a classic marinade to get the most out of every steak this summer.

  • alcohol-free
  • egg-free
  • paleo
  • dairy-free
  • low-carb
  • fish-free
  • peanut-free
  • shellfish-free
  • pork-free
  • sugar-conscious
  • gluten-free
  • tree-nut-free
  • soy-free
  • wheat-free
  • Calories 425
  • Fat 30.6 g (47.1%)
  • Saturated 7.7 g (38.5%)
  • Carbs 3.1 g (1.0%)
  • Fiber 0.1 g (0.5%)
  • Sugars 2.2 g
  • Protein 32.3 g (64.7%)
  • Sodium 426.7 mg (17.8%)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup

Equipment

Gallon zip-top bag

Chef's knife and cutting board

Instructions

Make the marinade. Place the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt in gallon zip-top bag. Seal and shake to combine.

Marinate the steak for 1 hour or overnight. Add the steak to the marinade and seal the bag. Place the bag in a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the steak for grilling. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade.

Grill the steak over high and medium heat. Heat half of an outdoor grill for high, direct heat. Heat the other half for medium, direct heat. Place the steak over high heat until browned, burnished, and grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side. Move the steak to medium heat and continue grilling to desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes more for medium (about 140°F).

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

How to marinate a steak

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Having a good, quick steak marinade recipe is essential during grilling season.

Although we think most cuts taste amazing with only a little salt and pepper, a good steak marinade recipe is great when you want to give the beef an added flavor.

Since we raise beef cattle, we eat a lot of steaks.

There are a few steak marinade recipes that we repeatedly use because they’re easy to make, they’re versatile for multiple recipes, they use common pantry ingredients, and they infuse flavor quickly.

For some of these steak marinades, the steak needs to marinade for as little as 15-minutes to get the flavor.

What is a marinade?

A marinade is a way to enhance the flavor of beef. At its basic core, a marinade is a strongly-flavored liquid with herbs and spices that beef is steeped in until it takes on some of the flavors. Marinating can take as little as 15 minutes or as long as overnight

What is a steak marinade recipe made of?

A steak marinade recipe usually has four basic components:

  • Salt – Kosher salt, sea salt, or something salty like soy sauce or Worcestershire.
  • Oil – Because beef is naturally saturated with water, beef won’t absorb the oil in the marinade. However, since herbs and spices are oil-soluble, they require the oil to release their full flavor.
  • Flavoring – Spices and herbs are your friends and they’ll add a punch of flavor to any marinade.
  • Acid – Depending on the desired flavor, many marinades have an acidic liquid like lemon juice or vinegar. The acid helps flavor the beef, but it does not tenderize it.

What steak cut is best for marinating?

What cuts of beef to use a marinade on is a matter of personal preference and the recipe you’re making.

Generally, marinades should be used on tougher cuts of beef from hard-working muscle groups, like flank, hanger and skirt steak.

If you’re cooking a high-quality, flavorful cut of beef like a ribeye steak, we recommend not marinating it so that the beef’s natural flavor can shine. However, if you want to use a marinade on a ribeye or filet, you can. It’s entirely up to you.

How to apply a steak marinade:

  • First, decide what steak marinade recipe you’re going to make. We’ve listed several of our favorites homemade recipes below, but a quick online search will result in hundreds of recipe options. If you’re pinched on time, you can buy one too (here’s one of our favorite store bought marinades from a local St. Louis restaurant).
  • Next, make the steak marinade recipe. Most marinades use very simple pantry ingredients like olive oil, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • If you want a deeper flavor, prick the surface of the meat with a fork before marinating. Less tender cuts should be marinated for anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours. The longer you marinade the beef, the stronger the flavor will be.
  • Then, place the steak marinade and steak in a sealed plastic bag or glass container. Immerse the beef in the liquid, and refrigerate until it’s time to cook. Don’t use a metal container for the marinade since the acidic ingredients can react with metal.
  • Once you’ve placed the steak in the steak marinade mixture, place it in the refrigerator for anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight. Never marinate beef at room temperature for health safety reasons.

How much steak marinade do you need to make?

Usually, you need ¼ to ½ cup of marinade for each one to two pounds of beef.

Can you over-marinate a steak?

Many marinades have an acidic base, which can toughen beef if it soaks for too long. Never go over 24-hours with a steak marinade.

If using a recipe with tropical fruit like mango, pineapple or kiwi, only marinate for an hour or less or the meat will turn mushy.

In addition, there are food-safety reasons to avoid letting meat over-marinate. Raw beef should only be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days according to the Federal Food Safety guidelines. After this, dangerous bacteria can grow and you risk getting sick.

To prevent steak from becoming either tough or mushy from over-marinating, be sure to be mindful of the clock.

Do steak marinade recipes tenderize beef?

The jury is out on if steaks actually tenderize beef. Some famous chefs say steak marinades tenderize beef, but others say they do very little, if anything. Based on our personal experience, we think marinades make a tough cut more flavorful, but they won’t turn a tough cut tender.

What to do with leftover steak marinade?

You’ll want to throw any leftover steak marinade away. It’s not safe to save it for future use or serve it as a sauce since raw beef sat in the steak marinade for several hours

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Steak marinade. Reviews for: Photos of Best Steak Marinade in Existence. Steak purist as he is, hubs preferred his steak without this marinade and didn't use it. Our website Steak Marinade is one of the largest online portals for steak marinade recipes.

How to marinate a steakWatch how to make a simple, top-rated marinade that really stands up to its name. Marinating a steak requires just a few special considerations — like which cuts of steak to marinate for the grill and the right ratio of ingredients for flavor and easy cooking. Marinades are used to make steak more tender and flavorful.

Hello everybody, it is me, Dave, welcome to my recipe site. Today, we’re going to make a special dish, steak marinade. One of my favorites. This time, I’m gonna make it a little bit unique. This is gonna smell and look delicious.

Reviews for: Photos of Best Steak Marinade in Existence. Steak purist as he is, hubs preferred his steak without this marinade and didn't use it. Our website Steak Marinade is one of the largest online portals for steak marinade recipes.

Steak marinade is one of the most well liked of current trending foods in the world. It is easy, it’s quick, it tastes delicious. It’s appreciated by millions every day. Steak marinade is something that I have loved my whole life. They’re nice and they look wonderful.

To get started with this recipe, we have to first prepare a few ingredients. You can have steak marinade using 14 ingredients and 6 steps. Here is how you cook it.

The ingredients needed to make Steak marinade:

The sweet and salty flavors of the marinade meld with the meat as it marinates in the refrigerator. This steak marinade works in traditional stir-fry dishes, and also in Mexican-themed cuisine. Later this week I'll post my mom's favorite way to make nachos. I know, so convenient right after the Superbowl.

Instructions to make Steak marinade:

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, soya sauce, and garlic into a baking dish, place steak over top..
  3. Season steak accordingly. I used salt, pepper, and keg steak seasoning. Let sit over night..
  4. Peel and scalloped potatoes, place then in a casserole dish. Add Olive oil, 1/2 cup butter, beef broth, salt, pepper, Italian herb seasoning. Place in the oven for 45 mins..
  5. Saute mushrooms in butter and Olive oil..
  6. Preheat bbq and grill pineapple and steaks accordingly..

For steak connoisseurs, you know that the difference between a good steak and a GREAT one is the way that it's marinated. A great marinade recipe can change the entire outcome of your dish! Steaks are like wine – the more you spend, the better they are. Juicier, more flavour, more tender, no random bits of sinew throughout. Get ready for the BEST Steak Marinade ever!

So that is going to wrap this up for this special food steak marinade recipe. Thanks so much for reading. I’m sure you will make this at home. There’s gonna be interesting food in home recipes coming up. Remember to bookmark this page in your browser, and share it to your family, colleague and friends. Thank you for reading. Go on get cooking!

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The only Steak Marinade recipe you’ll ever need! It’s deliciously robust and the perfect flavor pairing to rich beefy steaks. It’s incredibly easy to make and uses staple ingredients you likely already have on hand. Definitely a must have recipe!

How to marinate a steak

Best Ever Steak Marinade!

I’ve tried so many different steak marinades over the years but I’d easily dub this balsamic steak marinade as the best! Some marinades tend to overpower steaks (like those lemony ones) but you’ll find this one enhances the steaks flavors without being overwhelming.

Balsamic vinegar just add an instant upgrade to any food it paired with. You’ll love that highlight of flavor here.

The other great thing about this recipe is that people of all ages will love it! It’s flavorful enough to impress the adults but simple enough to keep kids happy too.

This will give you yet another reason to look forward to summer every year! A rich and tender marinated, grilled steak served with all those delicious summer sides.

How to marinate a steak

What Ingredients go into Steak Marinade?

  • Balsamic vinegar – I don’t recommend substitutes here. Balsamic vinegar will add the best flavor. And use dark balsamic, white isn’t as strong.
  • Worcestershire sauce – another key ingredient. This is one of the best ingredients for steak marinade.
  • Soy sauce – keep in mind the longer the steak marinades the more sodium it will absorb from the soy sauce, so if you only marinate 1 hour you may still need a little salt added to the steaks.
  • Olive oil – don’t use extra virgin olive oil because it has a low smoke point, just regular refined olive oil.
  • Dijon mustard – this adds a little extra flavor. Don’t use regular mustard.
  • Honey – just a light amount helps tone down acidity of the vinegar it also helps the exterior of steaks brown better.
  • Garlic – as always only use fresh. It makes a big difference.
  • Freshly ground black pepper – if you haven’t made the jump to fresh ground pepper now is the time! It really is a lot better.
  • Dried rosemary – of course fresh will work great too, use 1 Tbsp chopped if using fresh.
  • Steak – this makes enough marinade for about 2 pounds of steak.

How to marinate a steak

How to Make this Easy Steak Marinade:

  • Whisk marinade ingredients: in a mixing bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, pepper and rosemary until well blended.
  • Pour over steaks and marinate: place steak in a gallon size resealable bag, place steak in gallon size resealable bag. Pour marinade over steaks, seal bag while pressing out excess air. Let marinate.

How Long to Marinate Steaks?

  • Steaks should rest in marinade in refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours. I don’t recommend marinating longer than that because the acidity of the marinade will start to break down the proteins and turn the outer layer where the marinade penetrates mushy.

How to marinate a steak

How Long to Grill Steaks?

Grill time will vary based on size and thickness of the steaks, grill temperature, temperature of steaks to begin with and even temperature outside. For an 8 oz steak about 1-inch thick, cooking at medium-high heat (about 425 degrees), it should take about 3 – 5 minutes per side.

How to marinate a steak

What’s the Best Cut of Steak for This Marinade?

I like to use New York strip steaks here, other great options are rib eye, top sirloin, flank or skirt steak. Petite sirloin or flat iron will work too they just aren’t as tender as the aforementioned. Then save those super tender cuts for another day (filet mignon, and crazy expensive wagyu and Kobe), they don’t need a marinade.

What is the Difference Between Prime, Choice and Select Beef Steak?

  • Prime beef comes from young cattle. It has a generous amount of marbling (meaning super tender steaks), this is the best and most expensive grade of beef.
  • Choice beef steaks are high quality and are more budget friendly than prime, they just don’t have quite as much marbling.
  • Select beef steak is the lowest grade and the most budget friendly. Meat is leaner and not quite as tender.

How to marinate a steak

How to Tell When A Steak is Done?

It comes down to personal preference to know when a steak is done. But remember there is a recommend safe temperature from the USDA of 145 degrees to kill off any harmful bacteria.

To tell when it’s done to your liking always use an instant read thermometer and insert the thermometer through the side of the steak horizontally and go to the center of thickest portion. Keep in mind color isn’t always the best way to judge doneness as some steaks are just naturally lighter than others to begin with, and you don’t want to cut into a steak during cooking or you’ll lose some of the juices.

Here is a list of steak doneness by temperature to refer too:

Rare: 125 – 130 (not recommended for food safety)

Medium rare: 130 – 135 degrees

Medium: 135 – 145 degrees

Medium well: 145 – 150 degrees

Well: 150 – 160 degrees

How to marinate a steak

Can I Cook Marinated Steak on the Stovetop?

Yes. Cook in an oiled grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Dab steaks with paper towels to remove some of that excess moisture before cooking for a better sear and so marinade doesn’t burn up in pan. Cook about 3 – 5 minutes per side for 1-inch thick steaks.

Why Let Steak Rest off Heat?

That 5 minute rest period lets the juices evenly redistribute. If you cut into it early they’ll just end up on the plate instead of in the steak.

Marinades, generally some combination of salt, sugar, an acid and various other flavorings, are used to both enhance flavor and to tenderize beef. Realizing that marinades are generally going to create a nice caramelized coating on the outside of the beef when grilled, and not flavor the center of the slab of meat, is the first step in determining how long to marinate a steak. Generally, this marinating window is pretty forgiving. So much so that many recipes will instruct only to “marinate overnight“.

That being said, the type of steak being marinated should also be considered when determining how long to marinate. Tender cuts of beef, for instance tenderloin, really do better without any type of marinating. Whereas tougher cuts, like flank steak, will be very difficult to chew without receiving some major marinating time.

How to marinate a steak

Like we said, many recipes say to “marinate overnight”. What happens if you don’t have that long to wait or you get tied up the next day and don’t even make it to the grill? Either scenario could work out to be OK, but again different cuts of beef will react differently to the marinade. Also, marinade ingredients can have different reactions with the meat.*

For a nice juicy steak originating from the tender portion of the cow (the loin) marinating is not necessary, or even recommended.
It is recommended to only use salt and pepper on tender cuts of steak before grilling or searing. Salt tender steaks only about 30 minutes prior to cooking as they rest on the counter. This is because salt tends to draw out the moisture from the meat, leaving behind a dry steak if it was salted too early. This holds true for cuts of beef labeled tenderloins, top loins, T-bone and porterhouse steaks.

For ribeye steaks, tri-tip steaks and top sirloin steaks marinating can be beneficial to make them as flavorful and sealed on the outside as possible. A marinade will never reach the center of the meat, so poking with a fork will help impart more flavor and tenderize.

For tougher cuts of steak – like chuck steak, shoulder steak, top round steak, bottom round steak, skirt steak, hanger steak and flank steak – marinating is a necessity unless you were blessed with razor sharp teeth.

The USDA says meat can safely marinate in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. [1]
But, let’s be clear, this is an amount of time for food safety and not a recipe for maximum enjoyment of the steak. The steak will be safe to consume after marinating up to 5 days, but the tissues of the meat may be so broken down by the marinade in that amount of time that the texture may be unrecognizable. The steak could be drier or tougher than when it began, depending on the marinade ingredients, after this extended amount of time. Instead, we recommend the following times as a guideline for marinating steak.

Cut Minimum Maximum
Tenderloins, Top loins, T-bone and Porterhouse steaks Marinating Not Recommended Salt 30 minutes prior to cooking
Ribeye, Tri-tip and Sirloin steaks 30 Minutes 4 Hours*
Chuck, Shoulder, Top Round, Bottom Round, Skirt, Hanger and Flank Steak

4 Hours* 24 Hours

* Highly acidic marinades such as those that include salt and/or alcohol and/or too much citrus should marinate for no longer than four hours. After about four hours the acid will begin to chemically cook the the meat, destroying the protein structure. This works out great for a very tough cut of meat like a flank steak, but a tender cut like a ribeye might actually become less desirable after marinating too long.