9 Marinades for Grilled Steak

Lemon-and-Garlic-Marinated Flat Iron Steak © John Kernick
By Kristin Donnelly Posted June 06, 2015

All steaks can benefit from a good marinade, but when grilling less marbled or chewier cuts, like flank or skirt, a marinade can take your meat to another level.

All steaks can benefit from a good marinade, but when grilling less marbled or chewier cuts, like flank or skirt, a marinade can take your meat to another level. Depending on the ingredients, it might help tenderize it to boot.

1. Balsamic. A basic balsamic vinaigrette is a no-think marinade that is always a good choice for steak, especially when you serve the meat in a salad.

2. Lemon-garlic. For an even simpler Mediterranean-style marinade, toss the steak with herbs, garlic and olive oil, then top with lemon slices for subtle flavor.

3. Soy sauce. For a grilled steak you could add to a number of different Asian-style dishes, toss the meat with soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar.

4. Korean-style. Koreans love bulgogi, which is usually made with short ribs, but there’s no reason you can’t use that sweet-savory marinade on steak.

Related: More Grilling Ideas

5. Southeast Asian-style. For a steak that will hit a lot of spots on the tongue, bathe it in a blend of herbs, garlic, chile sauce and fish sauce.

6. Mojo. Think of this citrusy, cumin-spiced sauce as vinaigrette, Cuban-style. It works beautifully as a marinade for steak because the sugars in the citrus juice caramelize on the grill. Or keep the Latin marinade even simpler and just use tequila, lime juice and garlic.

7. Chipotle. The adobo sauce that comes in a can of chipotles? It’s a brilliant, richly flavored marinade for steak. Just blend it with garlic, orange juice and olive oil before you rub it on your meat.

8. Papaya skins. If tenderizing steak is your goal, use this trick they use in many parts of the world: Rub your steak with a simple marinade and then cover it with papaya skins, which contain an enzyme that breaks down tough meat fibers.

9. Cola. Cola (yep, the soda) is another meat tenderizer; plus its sugars caramelize nicely on the grill.

Related: More Excellent Ideas for Steak
How to Cook Steak Sous Vide
Madeira: The Offbeat White Wine That's Amazing with Grilled Steak

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

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