However, all steak benefits from being made more tender, especially if you are one of those people who enjoy their steak medium to well done as longer exposure to heat will toughen up the fibers in the meat.
Naturally occurring compounds will have a tenderizing effect on your flat iron steak.
Found in fruit acids, vinegars and enzymes (e.g. kiwi), they are a natural way of breaking down muscle structures leading to more tender meat.
Marinades are a perfect way of applying enzymes to flat iron steaks.
The best marinades should only be used for two hours. If you use them for longer, you are risking over-marinating your steak – the enzymes can have the opposite effect on the surface of the meat and make it tough.
Acidic fruits such as citrus fruits, pineapples or kiwi fruit are particularly rich in these enzymes although most fruits can be used as the basis for an excellent tenderizing marinade.
Vinegars are also make good bases for marinades as does buttermilk.
Pineapple needs to be used carefully as it contains an enzyme called Bromelain which can turn your flat iron steak to mush if used for too long.
Puree fruits such as pineapple or kiwi and simply juice oranges, lemons or limes to add to a marinade to ensure your steak is tenderized.
The citric acid in lime juice is a perfect base for a marinade as it is rich in the enzymes that break down muscle tissue and tenderize it.
One of the classic marinades that can be used with flat iron steak is a red wine marinade as follows:
Conventional marinating adds several hours to the time it takes to prepare a good flat iron steak.
This time can be cut down by using dry rub spices. Flat iron steaks are already quite tender due to the way your butcher prepares the cut so do not require as much tenderizing as other cheaper cuts of steak.
This means it is possible to prepare a flat iron steak dry rub recipe style. Make sure to not overcook this cut. I recommend not exceeding medium-rare level of doneness for best results.
If you are into well-done steak, try using low & slow cooking in the oven. Quickly sear the steak on the stove (2 minutes per side max) and place it in the oven with the inside temperature not exceeding 120C / 250F. It will take more time to finish, but the result is well worth it.
Generally, whole spices should be toasted in a warm pan to release their oils before being ground in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
They can be applied directly to your flat iron steak which will then release the mix of flavors you have chosen when you cooked it.
All flat iron steak cooking methods:
Return to main page – how to cook flat iron steak.
Below you will find a list of 5 points you need to be aware of to make that succulent steak a reality every time. You will also find related and suggested material, which I invite you to follow!
No matter how, where and why – it all starts with buying the meat…the right type! So, which characteristics help to make that juicy steak a reality?
Related: How Do I Buy A Great Steak?
These 5 tips will help you out!
1. Choose the appropriate cut for each cooking method.
If you are looking for a juicy, flavorful steak, I encourage you to go for fattier cuts.
Fat, when heated, starts melting and acts as a natural lubricant, enhancing the flavor of high-quality beef at all levels. So the ideal cuts are:
However less popular (and less expensive) cuts will also work just as well . You hust need to marinate them! Here is the list:
What is the juice coming from steak?
The reddish liquid coming out from beef is not blood, so it’s technically not correct to ask for “bloody steak” in a restaurant. So what is it? The substance is called myoglobin and it’s contained in the muscles of the majority of all mammals.
2. Organic & Grass-fed is a great choice.
Why organic meat is better for you? There is a number of reasons…
The claim ‘organic’ means that no pesticides or chemical fertilizers were used in the food, eaten by the animal. It also means that no routine use of growth hormones (banned in the EU) nor antibiotics is allowed. This is a very strict standard.
Even though, as it claimed, these chemicals do not have any negative consequences for humans (hmmm…), we don’t want to use them for one major reason – they lack flavor.
A cow on steroids grows so quickly, there is not enough time for it to accumulate enough collagen, which is the source of the truly meaty flavor, in the muscles.
Of course, there is a slight trade off with the tenderness, but it’s not that dramatic and you will most likely not notice it!
The next big thing is grass-fed. Why is it so good for you?
3. Avoid Dry-Aged Meat.
Dry-aged or matured (also called ‘hanged’) meat is left in a special, temperature and humidity controlled, room for a number of days/weeks (e.g. 21 day aged/matured).
This careful process allows some of the moisture to evaporate from the steak, making the flavor more concentrated. Even though many butchers claim that there is nothing hard about it, many screw up. You know it when you feel slightly rotten flavor. Not nice.
Besides that, as the moisture evaporates, we naturally lose the juices, even though the steak becomes more tender (the protein-breaking enzymes are in action).
Hence, in order to cook a juicy steak, I would avoid dry-aged meat this time.
How to improve your marinating and cook a great steak every time?
First of all – now how to marinate steak so it’s tender and delicious.
And then all you need is small tips and tricks.
Here are 10 of them:
1. Dry/Wet. Marinades can be divided into dry rubs and wet solutions.
Rubs are used with only one purpose – giving flavor, since they don’t include any tenderizing agents (e.g. vinegar).Examples include herb/spice/salt rubs often coupled with olive oil to magnify the taste.
Wet marinades not only add flavor, but also help to make your steak more tender. They often consist of some form of acid (e.g. vinegar, lemon juice) or enzyme (e.g. papain), which help to break protein in meat into smaller molecules, so that chewing becomes easier.
2. Temperature Range. Most of the time steak marinades are used overnight, with meat left in the fridge. Lower temperature slows down enzymatic action (i.e. steak tenderizes at a slower rate). This ‘slow motion’ gives more time for the flavor to develop.
If you have little time, leave your steak marinading at room temperature. This range keeps enzymes more active, so they work much quicker. It’s recommended not to leave fresh meat outside for more than two hours. But once you apply acid-based marinade, it is quite safe to leave it for longer. Sure, it depends on your room temperature, but if it is higher, enzymes will need less time to do the same job.
3. Type of Steak. The location on the carcass determines how tough/tender your steak will be.
The toughness itself determines what type of marinade, wet or dry, should be used with the given steak.
Use tender cuts (e.g. rib eye) with dry rubs and tougher cuts (e.g. round steak) with acid- or enzyme-based marinades.
Note that marinades are useless with very tough cuts (e.g. brisket), because they only penetrate the surface slightly, so the inside will not get softer.
4. Steak Size. The bigger the steak, the more time it requires for marinading.
Vital steak marinade tip: marinades can’t penetrate the cut beyond a certain point, which is very close to the surface. That’s why prolonged marinading of a relatively large piece of meat will not do much good to it. This is why it’s better to use thinner cuts: 1-inch steaks are ideal.
This guide explains how to marinate steak so it becomes tender, juicy and succulent.
Have you ever tried marinating steak, but it came out rather rubber-like and not so palatable?
If you are not of us, make sure it won’t happen and read on. 😉
Personally I adore simple salt-only steak, cooked on the rare side, but from time to time I like to come up with marinades and try things.
Marinating steak is a piece of cake, especially when you follow the method:
To begin…let’s try to dig a bit and see – why would I marinate steak on the first place?
There are two main reasons:
However it’s not a magical thing or anything – it won’t help you (a lot) with converting a cheaper tougher cut into a tender, succulent piece.
It can only penetrate slightly into the surface, so marinating a very thick and very tough slice is not a great idea.
One way of helping any marinade to go deeper is by using vacuum marinator – it helps to open the pores, so the liquid can enter easier.
Yes, marinades, especially delicious ones, add some really cool flavor to original (still very delicious) steak.
Dry rubs, mixtures of herbs and spices, are best suited for already tender cuts (e.g. rib eye), whereas traditional, acid- or enzyme-based marinades are great for tougher cuts (e.g. chuck steak).
Talking of flavor – some ideas of healthy round steak recipes for your next meal.
Generally speaking, there are two types of marinades: acid- and enzyme-based.
Acid-based marinades are the ones that include citrus fruits like lemon, lactic acid in yogurt and so on.
Enzymes that are used the most in marinating meat come from kiwis, papayas and pineapples.
What is the difference and which one is better?
From my experience acid-based marinades take more time to marinate steak.
However you should be extra careful with enzyme-based marinades, because they act quickly, especially at higher room temperature (they are activated by warmer temperature and slow down in the fridge).
Here is my quick marinating framework.
Not only it saves time, but it also helps to keep your kitchen and refrigerator cleaner and safer!
To illustrate the process we are going to use one of our steak marinade recipes with wine.
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Mix red wine, diced onions, redcurrant jelly and orange zest in a bowl.
Use the back of your knife to crush rosemary sprigs (this helps to extra more flavor and aroma) and add them into the bowl ass well.
Mix everything together.
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This is Page 2 of the ‘How to Marinate Steak’ guide. Click to Page 1.
Carefully put the steak inside (you can even use a pair of tongs for that) the food-safe resealable bag and pour in the marinade mixture after that.
I use this sequence in order to not splash things out.
Seal the bag, making sure the minimum amount of air, if any, stays inside.
Ideally the marinade mix should be touching the entire steak, so try to really spread it around.[/dropshadowbox] [dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”vertical-curve-both” width=”autopx” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]
How long to marinate steak in fridge?
Marinate at room temperature for 2 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
In both cases use another bowl/plate underneath the package, so, in case the bag opens, the marinade won’t spill everything around.
For best results I recommend turning the steak every 2-4 hours.
Once you are done marinating, pat the steak dry and continue to dry heat cooking methods like pan-searing on stove, cooking it in oven, cooking in cast iron skillet, oven broiling or even searing on stove and finishing in oven! 🙂
Remember – marinades can only penetrate as much…that’s why it becomes kind of useless to marinate for longer than 24 hours in the fridge (a tough cut, like brisket, will not tenderize further; you would need to use moist heat like in slow cooker for best results).
Now that I touched the topic of refrigeration overnight, people might wonder – how long can I marinate steak in the fridge?
The answer depends on the few factors (e.g. use by date), so let’s assume it’s a fresh chuck steak (i.e. tough, but not too tough like brisket).
Opened fresh steak can be refrigerated for 2-4 days, but, when it comes to marinating chuck (or any other similar steak), I would avoid prolonged marinating – that’s anything beyond 24 hours.
If meat surface is marinated for too long, it will become mushy and rubber-like (especially if you use vinegar).
I hope this how to marinate steak guide was useful.
Happy Steaks! 🙂
The truth is, it’s not that hard. In fact, once you start trying putting together different flavors and aromas, you might easily get carried away!
Below you will find more details on the nature of marinades and sample recipe ideas.
Please read on and enjoy your time here. 🙂
The two important, but not vital, components of any marinade for steak are enzyme- and acid-containing ingredients.
Both are used to tenderize steak on the surface, but…marinades can’t penetrate deep inside muscle fibers! That’s why marinading steak for two nights is a waste of time and maybe even meat itself. After all too much of anything is not good.
Even worse – not every steak actually benefits from the marinade. So if you felt like “there is something wrong” or “it feels like rubber” after eating one, I offer you to try the marinading guide.
This crappy taste can also be a result of terrible cooking (no offence).
So here are some cooking techniques I used in the past:
Also remember that many times it’s the inside temperature that people tend to mess up. That’s how you get an overcooked steak. Try to check the steak doneness with meat thermometer or follow these cooking times guidelines for better tenderness and flavor.
Marinades, as you know already, can be used for tenderizing steak, but…only on the surface. When it comes to making the whole thing nicer and less chewy – what do we do?
The answer is – you need to massage it for 30 minutes, preferably using deep tissue techniques. 🙂
On a serious note, there is a few tenderizing methods that work for sure. Try them out!
If you feel like you need to increase your ‘marinading efficiency’ (just made that up) or make the whole process just a bit less messy or if you skipped the ‘How To Marinate Steak’ guide above, I invite you to see these tips on marinading meat…not just steaks.
They will help you to:
The online world of cooking is overtaken by Worcestershire sauce!
Just too many marinades contain it…
If you are like me, you adore marinades with honey!
Steak and honey combine really well.
Easy & Quick Marinades
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
These recipes take seconds to prepare!
I hope steak marinade recipes ideas above will help you to get started. Please come back regularly to check for updates.
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