Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

How To Make the Ultimate Marinade for Tender Grilled Steak

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Make the marinade. Place the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt in gallon zip-top bag. Seal and shake to combine.

Marinade the steak for 1 hour or overnight. Add the steak to the marinade and seal the bag. Place the bag in a baking dish or rimmed baking dish. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the steak for grilling. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade.

Grill the steak over high and medium heat. Heat half of an outdoor grill for high, direct heat. Heat the other half for medium, direct heat. Place the steak over high heat until browned, burnished, and grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side. Move the steak to medium heat and continue grilling to desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes more for medium (about 140°F).

A marinade is like an insurance policy for your grilled steak — not only will a simple marinade add flavor, but it will also help protect the beef against overcooking. Marinades have fallen out of fashion with the rise of brines and rubs, but there is a reason your mom always had a bag of marinating meat in the fridge: They work and they're delicious.

Marinating a steak requires just a few special considerations — like which cuts of steak to marinate for the grill and the right ratio of ingredients for flavor and easy cooking. All your efforts will be rewarded with a tender, juicy cut of beef that will take the guesswork out of grilling steaks.

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

What Is the Ultimate Steak Marinade?

We all want our grilled steak to be flame-kissed with a rosy, juicy center, so the ultimate steak marinade should aid us in those goals. It also makes good sense to spend money on a great steak and be scrappy when it comes to the marinade ingredients. The ultimate marinade should freeze well and be effective in an hour or overnight. This marinade also works well on a variety of steaks.

Read more: The Great Marinade Debate: In Favor of/Against Marinating Steak

The Best Steak for Marinades

While the effects of marinades are often debated, we can all agree that prime steaks like T-bone and strip steak are best salted, peppered, and cooked to temperature. All other steaks benefit from a marinade to help with flavor and tenderness. This marinade is ideal for flank, flat-iron, and tri-tip steak. Smaller steaks like skirt and hanger work well, but make sure you double up on the steaks or reduce the amount of marinade for this recipe.

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Key Ingredients for Marinades

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Grilling and Serving Marinated Steak

How you cook your steak will ultimately be determined by the steak you choose, but most steaks that you'd want to marinate also love to be cooked hot and fast. Most importantly, make sure that your steak is removed from the marinade and patted dry before you get grilling.

Need a side? 30+ Side Dishes That Go Great with Grilled Steak

Make the marinade. Place the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt in gallon zip-top bag. Seal and shake to combine.

Marinade the steak for 1 hour or overnight. Add the steak to the marinade and seal the bag. Place the bag in a baking dish or rimmed baking dish. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the steak for grilling. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade.

Grill the steak over high and medium heat. Heat half of an outdoor grill for high, direct heat. Heat the other half for medium, direct heat. Place the steak over high heat until browned, burnished, and grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side. Move the steak to medium heat and continue grilling to desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes more for medium (about 140°F).

How To Make the Ultimate Marinade for Tender Grilled Steak

Serves 6

  • 1/2 cup

    olive oil

  • 1/3 cup

    balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 3 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 pounds

    flank steak

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Gallon zip-top bag

  • Chef's knife and cutting board

Make the marinade. Place the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt in gallon zip-top bag. Seal and shake to combine.

Marinate the steak for 1 hour or overnight. Add the steak to the marinade and seal the bag. Place the bag in a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the steak for grilling. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade.

Grill the steak over high and medium heat. Heat half of an outdoor grill for high, direct heat. Heat the other half for medium, direct heat. Place the steak over high heat until browned, burnished, and grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side. Move the steak to medium heat and continue grilling to desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes more for medium (about 140°F).

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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