Tenderizing Steak Marinade | Best Beef Recipes

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Get ready to change how you cook steak with my Tenderizing Steak Marinade Recipe! This quick and easy marinade is ready in seconds and elevates even the most budget-friendly cut into tender, juicy perfection.

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Best Steak Marinade

One of my favorite tricks in the kitchen is elevating cheap cuts of steak! There’s nothing quite like serving up a steak dinner so delicious, nobody would ever guess it’s a budget cut. Who knew a simple chuck steak could be so tender and juicy?

It turns out, the secret of amazing steak is all about the marinade! A proper steak marinade homemade in just minutes can take any cut of steak from budget to 5-star luxury. All it takes is a few ingredients and a day to let them marinate, and you’ve got the best steak marinade for grilling, pan-searing, and more!

Of course, it’s not just the flavor that gets better. Vinegar in the marinade breaks down the connective proteins in meat, rendering it soft and tender, and letting the flavors of the marinade seep into every inch. You truly won’t believe the difference it makes, and once you try it once, you’ll never skip marinating again!

For more methods, see my full guide on Tenderizing Steak!

Steak Marinade Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Brown sugar
  • Italian seasonings
  • Salt and pepper
  • Red pepper flakes

Steak Marinade Recipe

  1. Mince the garlic, then add all of the ingredients to a dish and mix well.
  2. Place the steak in a shallow dish or a plastic bag, then pour over the marinade, turning the steak to make sure it’s evenly coated. Wrap tightly or seal well and place the steak in the fridge to marinate for a full day. This is critical to tenderizing the beef!
  3. When ready to cook, let the steak come to room temperature in the marinade and then place directly on the grill or pan.

Beef Marinade Tips

  • The seasonings in this marinade are variable but don’t skip the vinegar. It’s critical to ensure that the meat is tenderized and is the most important ingredient.
  • Make sure that the steak is fully immersed in the marinade while resting it. I like to rest it in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out.
  • Marinating time depends on the cut. Cheaper cuts like chuck steak can be fairly tough cuts, so I recommend letting it marinate for a full day to ensure it’s fully tenderized. For a more tender cut, 2-6 hours is enough.
  • No need to pat the steak dry before cooking it! Place it on the grill or pan directly out of the bag; the clinging marinade will just add flavor.

Tenderizing Steak Marinade FAQs

How long should you marinate steak?

The length of time steak should be marinated depends on the cut and thickness of the steak, but for a tougher cut like chuck steak, it’s best to marinate the meat for a full day. More tender cuts like ribeye may only need 2-6 hours of marinating time.

Should you marinate steak?

You should absolutely marinate steak! Aside from infusing the meat with tons of delicious flavor, marinating steak serves the purpose of tenderizing the meat. Vinegar in the marinade breaks down the connective protein in the meat, rendering it soft and tender no matter the cut.

How does marinade tenderize steak?

It’s all about the vinegar and enzymes! This steak marinade recipe uses vinegar as the tenderizing agent, letting the vinegar dissolve and break down proteins in the meat as it marinates. Other options for tenderizing agents are enzymes from fruit and vegetables; that’s why pineapple is often used!

Can you marinate steak too long?

It’s hard to marinate steak too long, as beef is naturally sturdy. However, if left in a marinade for over two days, even beef can start breaking down too much. This can leave the texture unpleasantly mushy, so it’s best to cook the steak before that point.

Favorite Steak Recipes

Now that you’ve got a perfectly marinated, tender steak ready to cook, you have to cook it! Above are some of my favorite recipes for steak.

Marinated steak can be cooked exactly like plain steak, so choose your favorite cooking method! As always with beef, the most important part is the internal temperature. Make sure to keep an eye on the internal temperature to make best use of this tender beef!

Check out my full Beef Temperature Chart for even more details!

Beef Marinades and Sauces

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📋 Recipe

Tenderizing Steak Marinade

You’ll never believe how tender and flavorful such an easy Steak Marinade Recipe can make even the cheapest cut of steak! Trust me, it’s a game changer!

Prep Time5 minutes

Marinating time1 day

Total Time1 day 5 minutes

Course: marinade

Cuisine: American

Keyword: best steak marinade, steak marinade, steak marinade recipe, tenderizing steak marinade

Servings: 4

Calories: 138kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 5 Tablespoons Red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon Brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Red pepper flakes

See our Beef Temperature Chart for helpful tips on cooking any cut of beef!

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic, then add all of the ingredients to a dish and mix well.

    4 Tablespoons Olive oil, 5 Tablespoons Red wine vinegar, 4 cloves Garlic, 1 teaspoon Brown sugar, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon Salt, ¼ teaspoon Pepper, ¼ teaspoon Red pepper flakes

  • Place the steak in a shallow dish or a plastic bag, then pour over the marinade, turning the steak to make sure it’s evenly coated. Wrap tightly or seal well and place the steak in the fridge to marinate for a full day. This is critical to tenderizing the beef!

  • When ready to cook, let the steak come to room temperature in the marinade and then place directly on the grill or pan.

Notes

  • The seasonings in this marinade are variable, but don’t skip the vinegar. It’s critical to ensuring that the meat is tenderized and is the most important ingredient.
  • Make sure that the steak is fully immersed in the marinade while resting it. I like to rest it in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out.
  • Marinating time depends on the cut. Cheaper cuts like chuck steak can be fairly tough cuts, so I recommend letting it marinate for a full day to ensure it’s fully tenderized. For a more tender cut, 2-6 hours is enough.
  • No need to pat the steak dry before cooking it! Place it on the grill or pan directly out of the bag; the clinging marinade will just add flavor.

This marinade makes enough for 3 pounds of steak. Chuck steak is used as an example in the images for this recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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