Steak Marinade Tips for Grilling

There is nothing better than a juicy steak. It can instantly make your mouth water and put a smile on your face.

It’s a meal that’s simple to prepare and even easier to cook. But what really gives a steak an extra pop is a good marinade. A good marinade can add an exciting dimension and enhance the flavor to most cuts of beef.

Marinating meat with spices and onion above

The right combination of key ingredients like salt, oil, acid, sweeteners, and aromatics can take the taste to the next level. But what most people really don’t know is how to use a marinade.

Beef steak on a wooden board, fine dining

Here are some typical marinade questions that I’ve ran across during my foodie travels:

1) What oil is best for marinade? 

There are a couple of good oils to use for marinating steaks. Canola oil, or canola/olive oil blends are good in marinades. You can also use safflower, corn, and peanut oil. These are generally less expensive than pure olive oils. Some oils are added in small amounts to add a flavoring affect, such as sesame, walnut, and chile.

Marinated pork steaks on cutting board and ingredients for cooking

2) Is it OK to marinate beef overnight? 

That depends on what you use as a base for the marinate. Any marinade that contains acid, alcohol, or salt should not be used for very long, because it will chemically “cook” or alters the food in it. You should marinate food in these marinades for 4 hours or less.  Marinades that contain no salt, acid, or alcohol can be marinated overnight or, in some cases, longer.

3) How long can you keep marinated meat in the fridge? 

Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to 5 days; any poultry for two days. Remember,  do not use marinade that contains acid, alcohol, or salt. This will change the flavor of the meat for the worst.

Raw lamb leg, marinated with rosemary, olive oil, garlic and lemon. Baking with a temperature sensor. Food photography

4) What are some of the best practices for marinating a steak?

1) Always marinate your food in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
2) Either a sealable bag or a sealed container to make sure all the liquid is safely inside.
3) Keep the marinating meat away from other foods in your fridge and avoid unsafe contamination of the raw meat.
4) For most marinades, use about 1/2 cup of the marinade for every 2 pounds of beef.
5) After removing the beef from the marinade, always pat all sides of the steak dry with paper towels to prevent steaming and encourage browning.

Before cooking your steak, check out our article “Tips for Cooking the Perfect Steak”.  

Beef steak with fresh rosemary on the wooden board

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