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10 Awesome Steak Marinade Tips To Try

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steak-marinades

image via Flickr: JD Thomas

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.

Pro Tip: Steak inside temperature is very important to get right, if you like tender and juicy steak. Check steak doneness and look at cooking times to get it right.

 

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.

There are ways to tenderize a steak, including cooking it to medium-rare at slow heat in oven and searing it on stove and then baking it in oven.

 

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.

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