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Three Versions of the Perfect Steak Marinade and the Secrets Behind Them

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When you spend the money on good grass-fed beef, you want to cook it in the best steak marinade. These are the internet's favorite versions.

You just spent a good chunk of your paycheck on a beautiful cut of grass-fed beef. You want to make sure you treat this hunk of meat properly. The perfect steak deserves the perfect marinade. 

It's easier to mess up a good cut of beef thank you think. It's all about the right blend of fresh ingredients and time. The time you marinade it, and the time you cook it. 

Never mess up a steak again, as long as you use a steak marinade we suggest. But first, some answers to some common mis-steaks (get it?) that might be ruining your beef.

Perfect Steak Marinade

The Key to a Tender Steak

One of the most common issues with steak is when it's not tender enough. In a perfect world, you don't even need a steak knife to cut through your beef.

There are a few ways to make your steak cut through "like butter." Acidic tenderizers, like a citrus blend, usually do the trick. You also can pound the meat to break down the fibers before you cook it up. 

Steaks usually are chewy and not tender because the muscle fibers of the meat haven't been broken down yet. You want the proteins in the beef to transform into gelatin, which makes the beef tender. 

Usually over high heat, tender cuts of steak like a filet mignon, will quickly tenderize. But if you're working with a tougher beef cut, it will need to be slow cooked in some kind of liquid so it doesn't dry out. 

How To Marinade a Steak

Once you get your marinade ready, add it to your steak. This way your meet can soak up all the juices and tenderize.

You can put your steak in a ziplock bag with the marinades. Be sure to get out all the air and close the bag tightly. Make sure the steak is covered in the marinade and put it in the fridge. 

Never marinade at room temperature, always put it in the fridge. Also, be sure your bag is away from other foods in your fridge so the raw meat doesn't contaminate anything. 

Always marinade your meet for at least two hours so the sauce can do its job. You also can marinate your steak overnight for a truly mindblowing taste. 

When you remove your meat from the marinade, make sure you pat all sides of the steak dry so the steak browns instead of steams. 

How to Cook a Steak 

Once you marinade your steak properly, now it's time to cook it. Chefs will debate on what's the best way to cook a steak, but it's really up to you. 

Here are some tips on how to perfectly cook a steak every time.

The temperature of your steak is key to cooking it properly. While you'll want to marinade it in the fridge, you'll want to meat to sit at room temperature for at least thirty minutes before cooking it up.  

You can also cook steaks in the oven, which works especially in the winter time. For this method, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and put the steak on a heavy skillet that's oven safe.

First, sear your steaks on the stove in a hot pan for about 2 to three minutes a side. If your steak has a side of fat, you'll want to sear that side as well.

Then slip your steaks in the oven to finish cooking. You'll want to remove theses steaks five degrees before the level of doneness you want. For example, 130 degrees Fahrenheit is considered to be medium rare. 

Another steak cooking tip, make sure that your steak rests at least 10 minutes before you cut into it. The temperature of the steak will rise as it rests for about 5 degrees. 

The Recipe Critic Best Steak Marinade 

We really like this marinade from The Recipe Critic, Alyssa Rivers. All of her recipes are "tried and true" as she makes her family try everything. 

This steak marinade Rivers suggests you use for a ribeye or New York strip on the skillet, but it also works on the grill. Simply combine 1/3 cup of soy sauce, 1/3 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning, a little salt, pepper, and red pepper.

Pour this over your steaks in a ziplock bag, and let it sit for at least a two hours. Cook each side until it's completely brown, or to desired rareness. 

Red Wine Marinade 

We love this easy marinade from A Sweet Pea Chef. If you're someone who can never finish a bottle of wine, here's something you can do with your leftover red. Or this is a great excuse to treat yourself to a glass of wine as you cook. 

Just combine 3/4 a cup of red wine, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 4 minced cloves are garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of rosemary, with a little salt and pepper. This one will do the trick for as little as 30 minutes or as long as 20 hours.  

The red wine taste is subtle, but it does the trick at tenderizing the meat. 

Fajita Steak Marinade 

This marinade is perfect for as the name promises fajitas, but you can also use it for steak tacos, burritos, or a fun Mexican salad. This is also A Sweet Pea Chef recipe and works best with skirt steak. 

Combine 1/3 cup of lime juice, 1/4 cup of pineapple juice, 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce, one minced clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, with a little salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. 

Marinade That Steak

Now that you know all about how to marinade and cook a steak, it's time to get cooking! These are just a few marinade suggestions, you always can make it up as you go along.

Find a steak marinade that works for you, and cook up that perfect hunk of beef tonight. For more steak inspiration, check out our recipes


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