Marinades are seasoned liquid mixtures that not only add flavor, but in some cases help to tenderize meat. A tenderizing marinade must contain an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice, yogurt, wine or vinegar, or a natural tenderizing enzyme found in fresh papaya, ginger, pineapple, and figs.

Which cuts to choose?

Tender beef cuts can be marinated for only 15 minutes or up to 2 hours to add flavor. These include: Porterhouse/T-Bone, top loin, tenderloin, rib-eye, rib, top sirloin, chuck eye and chuck top blade steaks. Less tender cuts should be marinated for at least 6 hours or as long as overnight in o mixture containing a food acid or tenderizing enzyme. These include: flank, skirt, top round and chuck shoulder steaks.

These tips ensure great results:

  • Always marinate in the refrigerator, never at room temperature.
  • Marinating longer than 24 hours in a tenderizing marinade can result in a soft surface texture. A tenderizing marinade only penetrates about 1/4 inch into the cut surface.
  • If a marinade is to be used later for basting or served as a sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding the beef. If marinade has been in contact with uncooked meat, bring it to a full rolling boil before using as o sauce.
  • Never save and reuse a marinade.
  • Allow 1/4 to 1/2 cup marinade for each 1 to 2 pounds of meat.
  • Marinate in a food-safe plastic bog or nonreactive container such as a glass utility dish. Select dishes in which the meat will fit snugly, but lie flat. Turn or stir the beef occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade.

The following marinades can be used both to add flavor and to help tenderize steak. Simply add more marinating tine if using a less tender cut.

Simple Southwest Marinade:

1/2 cup prepared Italian dressing
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
Combine all ingredients, stirring until well blended. Makes about ¾ cup.

Sesame Soy Marinade

Total Prep time: 10 Minutes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1.5 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients in small bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved
Makes about ½ cup

Chili Cilantro Marinade

Total prep time: 5 minutes
2/3 cup prepared Italian dressing
2 tablespoons coarse chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder
Combine all ingredients in small bowl.
Makes about 2/3 cup