Here on the Unlimited Outdoor Kitchen blog, we’ve already covered how to find the perfect cut of steak and then grilling it to its perfect temperature and doneness.
What about creating the perfect marinade?
No doubt about it, steak tastes fantastic on its own. Still, if you’re looking to experiment with new flavors and don’t want to rely on bottled steak sauce, you can customize your own marinade with the flavors you love.
One of the chief functions of a marinade is to break down (tenderize) tissues in the meat. The higher quality the cut of steak, the more tender it is, and the less time it needs to soak—one to two hours at most. Tougher cuts, such as rump, benefit from a longer marinating time—up to 12 hours.
Of course, keep marinating meat in the fridge to inhibit the growth of bacteria. When you remove the steak from the bag, do NOT reuse the marinade. Cooking will kill off any microorganisms on the steak itself, but pouring the leftover marinade over the finished dish could re-contaminate it.
If you’d like to use the marinade as a sauce as well, make extra and keep it away from the raw meat.
Marinades require an acid to tenderize the meat. Beyond that, they often include oils, spices, herbs, and liquid ingredients to add saltiness or spiciness. A good ratio for a pound of steak will go something along the lines of:
- ¼ cup acidic liquid (vinegar, wine, citrus)
- ¼ cup or more of oil (such as extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil)
- A few tablespoons of a salty liquid (such as soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce), or a teaspoon or two of solid salt
- Fresh ingredients such as garlic cloves or chopped onions
- A few tablespoons of dried herbs
- 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce or dried spice
Below are a few combinations, with recipe links in case you’d like specific measurements.
- Basil, garlic, soy, and Worcestershire
- Beer, orange and garlic (better for tougher cuts)
- Dijon, garlic, and rosemary
- Garlic lover’s (this one lacks a strong acid so it’s best for tender cuts)
- Korean-style sesame, garlic, and bacon
- Mesquite-style spice with pineapple and red pepper
- Red wine, garlic and rosemary
- Soy sauce and brown sugar
Want more grilling ideas? Check out our other cooking tip posts.
Are you all fired up about grilling the perfect steak, but not sure your current grill is up to the task? If you’re in the San Jose area, Unlimited Outdoor Kitchen can help you find the perfect gas or charcoal grill for your budget and preferences.