Steak marinade recipes can help you add flavor to your dinner while tenderizing tougher cuts of beef.
Steak Out - It's a Waiting Game
Different cuts of beef can be put into two basic categories:
- Tough cuts that are very flavorful
- Tender cuts that have a subtler flavor profile.
While this is an oversimplification, it is not too far from the reality of different beef cuts. The cuts of beef that come from the harder working parts of the animal have a more pronounced flavor, but, because they are exercised a lot, the meat is tougher. The parts that don't get so much of a workout are naturally more tender but the flavor of the meat isn't as developed as other cuts.
There are ways to make a tougher cut of beef more tender. Longer cooking times, thinner slices, and tenderizers are some of your options. Another option is to marinade your beef before cooking it.
While dry rubs are a great way to enhance the flavor of steak, they don't do much to tenderize the meat. Marinades on the other hand will usually contain an acid that will help break down the tough fibers of the meat before you cook it. Like brines or dry rubs, marinades will help add flavor to your beef as well.
Marinade? You're Soaking in it
If you have made a simple salad dressing before, you have taken the first steps toward understanding steak marinade recipes. Most marinades will have a combination of oil and vinegar (the vinegar is the acid to tenderize the beef, the oil is there to temper the flavor of the vinegar) and then a mixture of herbs and spices to boost the flavor of your steak. I usually avoid adding salt and pepper to my marinades, opting for soy sauce to add the saltiness. You can add pepper after the steak has been cooked. Since you will be cooking your steak over a relatively high heat, the peppercorns could burn, adding an off flavor to your meal.
A Simple Steak Marinade
This is a great recipe for a top round cut of beef. I have tried it with tri-tip as well.
- 6 garlic cloves mashed in a garlic press or minced
- ¼ cup of red wine
- ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- Add all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk well.
- Pour into a zip-top bag.
- Place the steak into the bag.
- Press as much air out of the bag as possible and then seal the bag.
- Place the bag into a bowl and place the bowl in your refrigerator.
- Let the steak rest overnight turning it occasionally.
- Remove the marinated steak from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while you get the grill ready.
- If you are using a coal grill, get the coals as hot as you can and raise the grill rack at least 5 inches above the coals.
- If you are using a gas grill, a medium high flame will work fine.
- Remove the room temperature steak from the bag and let the excess marinade drip off the steak.
- Grill the steak for about 8 minutes per side for a medium-rare steak.
- Let your steak rest for ten minutes before slicing it.
An Alternate Marinade
Because of the added acid from the lemon juice and the strong flavors from the mustard and Worcestershire sauce in this steak marinade recipe, you may want to only let your steak marinate for no more than 8 hours in this mixture.
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- 1 ¼ tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ¼ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk, transferring to a zip-top bag.
- Follow the instructions above to let the steak marinate.