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Best from-scratch Steak Marinade?

I really, really want a good go-to steak/beef marinade. I have tasted a handful that were to-die for, but don't have my own concoction. I like the idea of tossing steak into a ziploc bag with a juicy, yummy marinade only to have it transform hours later to restaurant worthy fare. A little help?


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  1. I just use a bit of balsamic vinegar for 20 minutes or so, might add garlic pepper thyme onions depending on the meal (I use this for most all meats).

    2 Replies
    1. re: steinpilz

      Thanks---do you use any olive oil? Do you use quite a bit of balsamic? I love balsamic... garlic... yum.

      1. re: talkoftomatoes

        I don't use olive oil now, might have earlier, maybe I thought the oil wasn't necessary for such a short time? I don't use a lot of balsamic vinegar, just basically to coat the meat and carry the herbs, and I don't go too long because the acid will start to harm the meat (even though balsamic is a weak acid). I also blot up the excess before cooking. It adds flavour and also makes things brown more easily.

    2. I do soy sauce, minced ginger and garlic, red papper flakes, rice vinegar, a splash of roasted sesame oil, and a little bit of veg.oil- people always rave about my steak tips

      1. Wash and dry your steak thoroughly before seasoning. Splash a tablespoon or two of Balsamic Vinegar (the de nigri brand is quite good for marinades and salad dressing...and cheap) on your steak and then rub granulated garlic, granulated onion, fresh ground black pepper, and kosher salt 1/2 hour before cooking.

        I don't like using EVOO on beef as it is overpowering. I will occasionally finish the steak with a 1/2 pat of butter. This adds a ton of flavor.

        1. I usually use a combo of red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, dried onion and garlic in generic corn/canola oil for marinades.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Kelli2006

            I had to chuckle at the idea of steak at a spa, such care goes into wash, dry, blot, rub, coated and rave reviews after the treatment. Thanks for the marinade ideas, I didn't think about the oil overpowering but good to know. My next big question is what cut of beef and do you brown it first or bake it or a little of both? Any general rules about how long to cook and at what temp? I have much to learn...

            Steinpilz: I love it browned!
            Amoncada: good tip on the EVOO---and butter!
            Galka and Kelli2006: how long do you marinade it?

            Does anyone use wine?

            1. re: talkoftomatoes

              You should keep it simple with beef. Too much garlic can ruin a steak as well. A quality cut of beef has a ton of flavor by itself. Wine can be tricky with beef. I think that red wine works best while white can be too sweet and overpowering. There are a few tasty stews (what's the French one called) with red wine?

              Brown or bake?
              I usually grill my steak on my BIG GREEN EGG or pan sear on a hot cast iron skillet under the broiler. I heat my grill to 400-500 degrees and sometimes higher to get a really good charred surface.

              1. re: amoncada

                Yes---I assumed grilling is best (though the chill in the air does make one hesitate...). I had just read a number of recipes that seared the steak and then put it... must've been under the broiler to finish it off.

                Favorite cut?

                1. re: talkoftomatoes

                  You too can grill in the winter. Think about it, you only need a few minute's out there to check on or to flip your meat...oh, unless you flip your meat constantly.

                  As far as the ideal length of time to marinate your meat? I know a lot of people out there will marinate overnight or even for 2 days but, I find that the meat starts to breakdown or in some cases dry out with dry rub marinates. I marinate meat for no more than 6-8 hours unless we're talking turkey which I marinate overnight due to it's large mass. Dry rubs will penetrate in no time at all. One to three hours is plenty.

                  1. re: talkoftomatoes

                    What in the world does a "chill in the air" have anything to do with grilling outside??? I lived in MN and that never stopped me! I had this awesome snow crater around my grill.


                    1. re: scuzzo

                      I agree - I have grilled with it so cold the top of the was cold - but inside on roaring fire were a set of beef ribs that cam out great -

                      1. re: weinstein5

                        what is your approach to making beef ribs on hight heat?

                        1. re: tommy

                          I do beef ribs both ways low and slow on a smoker and over high heat - over high is a bit trickier - it is key to remove the membrane on the back of the rib - than apply your favorite rub - before putting on the firs I put a couple of handfuls of soaked wood chips which cools the fire down - then place the ribs on the fire - flip the ribs about 20-30 minutes into cooking - and about 20 minutes start saucing the ribs - flipping one more time and sauce again -

                2. re: talkoftomatoes

                  I try to put it in at least night before, usually grill next day, but broiling works too

              2. INstead of a marinade how a bout a good rub - I use a mixture of dark brown sugar garlic powder onion powder Kosher salt and black pepper - can not give exact measurements do it by feel now - it is based off of the steak rub from the cook book Patio Daddy-O

                And I second grilling - even in winter (and I live in Chicago) - it brings a taste of summer and better days

                1. A neighbor was on a quest for the best marinade, his findings: Bernstein's Italian Salad Dressing.

                  He did find a very good asian style recipe from a local magazine. One day his wife was looking at the ingredients of the various pastes and sauces and commented negatively on the sodium content, they both took medication for high blood pressure, it contained: oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, hot bean sauce, sesame seed oil, garlic.

                  1. I purchased several grilling cook books over the last year. A couple of great standouts are;

                    The Weber Grilling Book (not sure of the exact name but it's really fantastic.) I found it at a Chicago Osco Drug store for about $26.00ish. A very large book with lots of pictures and recipes.
                    It teaches you valuable basics for grilling techniques, marinade making, and homemade rubs. With so many spices and herbs out there, the Weber Book teaches you what to put in your rubs and marinades and for what meats, temperatures, cooking times, etc. etc.

                    The Barbacue Bible/Steven Raichlen; If you don't already know who Steven Raichlen, he is a barbacue master. Great for learning how to grill, make your own rubs, sauces, and marinades, etc.
                    Also try Steven Raichlen's Island Spice Blend Barbacue Rub. His rubs are some of the very best store bought that I've ever tried. Available at William Sonoma, at many specialty grocers, and online.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: amoncada

                      My favorite marinade is soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh ginger and tahini.
                      Blend and marinate steak overnight (i use flank steak); **set aside and refrigerate a bit of the marinade to use as a sauce.
                      Grill steak, top with a small amt of the sauce (warm) that you set aside. Sprinkle with green onions and serve. Delicious!

                      1. re: dragonfly

                        Yeah, this sounds great! I love all things Asian but found out 2 years ago that I have a Gluten Allergy which is prevalent in Wheat, Barley, Rye, and a couple more grains, etc. Yep, most Asian food has soy sauce (made with wheat) so I can't eat it...man, it kills me.
                        There are a few wheat free soy sauces out there but I'm not well versed in Asian cooking...so Asian food is out and so is most Pizza, bread, crackers, beer, pasta, etc.

                        1. re: amoncada

                          Bummer about the Gluten Allergy!

                          I am so not well-versed on all the food allergies that are so prevalent! Need to learn...

                          Great idea on buying a book, but all the comments really helped to. Good specifics on what to buy, how long to marinade something and above all: winter grilling is in.

                          1. re: talkoftomatoes

                            Yep, bummer. Glad you like my info. I'll stop now cause I will go on and on about everything food.

                          2. re: amoncada

                            My little one has Celiac disease too. La Choy soy sauce is not made from wheat and is gluten free.

                          3. re: dragonfly

                            Dragonfly...I made this and it was wonderful. I saute' the garlic in the sesame oil, add sugared ginger and the rest of the ingedents till they came to a simmer. then let it cool a bit. put the steaks(I use the walmart steak you get in the freezer section, they're perfectly thin and take to marinate quick) in a baggy with about half the saute and let it marinate while i baked the potatos. then grilled the steaks, reheated the rest of saute and poured it over the steaks then garnished with green onions...perfect...so good!

                        2. My standard is to brush the steak with a little bit of olive oil then rub with a mixture of ground dried mushrooms (I blend some cheap ones with dried porcini), kosher salt, cracked tellicherry peppercorns and a little bit of good garlic powder. After grilling I finish the stead with truffle oil.

                          I should note that I usually cook filet mignons on the grill. For more robust cuts I add a bit of rosemary or sage and usually skip the truffle oil because it just doesn't come across.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Kater

                            Yum... I better stop reading while I am so hungry and go make dinner!

                          2. This is an easy marinade I have used many times for flank steak. In a zip-loc bag I use Oyster Sauce, sliced fresh garlic and a little soy sauce to marinade the flank steak. I usually score the flank steak slightly(across the meat grain)just to help it marinade more thoroughly. You can marinade for 30 minutes or 8 hours and the meat will taste great. Usually use the BBQ grill and cook to medium done. Let grilled meat rest for 10 minutes and then slice(across the meat grain)into quarter inch strips. If it is a large flank steak you may want to cut in half(with the meat grain)before slicing. Mmmm Good!!!

                            1. This has become my "go-to" marinade. It is very yummy and the more herbs you use, the better.

                              6 large garlic cloves
                              ⅓ cup packed tender fresh thyme sprigs
                              ¼ cup packed fresh rosemary leaves
                              1 ½ tablespoons coarse salt
                              1 cup fresh lemon juice
                              1 ½ cups olive oil
                              freshly ground black pepper to taste
                              Mince together garlic, thyme sprigs, and rosemary with salt and mash to a coarse paste. In a bowl whisk together garlic paste and remaining ingredients until emulsified. Marinade may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: HungryRubia

                                Fresh lime juice and beef are a great combination. Whisk a good half-cup of lime juice with Lower sodium soy sauce, pressed garlic, pressed ginger, Worcestershire, a little brown sugar, a little molasses, and pinches of mace, cinnamon, and oregano. 4 hours, refrigerated, in a zip-loc bag, half-hour at room temperature, and you're good to go.

                              2. Grilled flank steak from Cucina Fresca
                                1 cup red wine
                                1/4 cup soy sauce
                                4 garlic cloves, crushed
                                coarse salt and pepper

                                Marinate flank steak for minmum 2 hours. Grill on hot grill for 4 minutes a side. Let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into thin slices across the grain. This is great at room temp. so a great dish for buffets, pot lucks or picnics.

                                For steaks that don't need tenderising (rib eyes are my favoruite) a simple rub of coarse salt and cumin is outstanding.

                                  1. The marinade in this rec can be used for steak and, with some red chili powder, for pork.


                                    Yield: 4 servings
                                    1 1/2 pound lean beef (Ribeye, Flank Steak, Tenderloin, or your favorite cut)


                                    1/4 cup natural brewed soy sauce
                                    1 small onion
                                    1 small nashi pear or semi sweet apple
                                    3 cloves garlic
                                    1 inch fresh ginger
                                    1 tablespoon sugar
                                    1 tablespoon brown sugar
                                    3 spring/green onion
                                    2 teaspoons pure toasted sesame seed oil
                                    1 tablespoon rice wine
                                    1/2 teaspoon black pepper


                                    Mix Marinade:
                                    Cut onion, pear/apple, and ginger into small pieces and place in blender with soy sauce and garlic, and blend into a smooth liquid.
                                    Pour into medium mixing bowl.
                                    Blend into smooth liquid.
                                    Trim root and top 1/8 inch of green onion, rinse in cold water, and finely chop. Add to bowl.
                                    Add all other ingredients. Mix well and let stand for at least fifteen minutes.

                                    Prepare Meat:
                                    Hand trim any outer fat from your cut.
                                    Freeze meat until stiff to help in slicing.
                                    Slice meat very thinnly (slightly thicker than deli sliced meats)
                                    Very lightly salt each slice on both sides and let stand for ten minutes.
                                    Place meat into marinade and mix well.
                                    Cover and place in refrigerator. Let meat stand in marinade for at least one hour.
                                    Meat may now be placed in ziplock style bags and frozen for later use or cooked.


                                    Grill: Heat grill on high heat. Grill until browned on both sides (10 to 20 seconds)
                                    Stir Fry: Heat wok or stir fry pan to high heat, add meat, (you may add other vegetable like sliced carrot, onion, and seperated brocoli crowns at this point) and stir fry until well browned.

                                    Serve with steamed white rice and ban chan.

                                    1. Very simple for me...

                                      Ribeye + olive oil + balsamic vinegar + S&P at room temperature while the coals are firing up.

                                      If I want to give it some other sorts of flavor, I'll make a brown sauce or a demi-glace if I'm feeling especially ambitious. That's for after cooking though.

                                      1. In a food prosessor squeeze 2 limes, cut one hole papaya, remove seeds and add flesh to possessor, 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. marinade in a ziploc bag, flipping occasionally 4 to 8 hours. make sure your you drain excess marinade with paper towel before you grill. best if cooked on charcoal grill with some wood chips soaked in apple juice.

                                        1. The best! In a ziploc bag add 1/2 to 3/4 cup Balsamic Vinagarette bottled salad dressing, 2 tbsp. Worcheshestire (sp) sauce, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. crushed garlick, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 2 tsp. black pepper. These amounts are approximate. This marinade is so flavorful and really infuses the meat. Everone loves it and I marinate all steaks in it, flank, filets, etc. enjoy!

                                          1. Worcestershire, finely chopped garlic, coarse pepper - steak in a ziplock, rub the stuff in - hour or so - dry surface of steak before salt and pepper and grilling (in pan or on c. grill) or broiling. Used to add soy sauce to the initial mix but found I usually got either too much salt or a certain mushiness on the outside of the meat.

                                            1. Try it - your gonna love it!
                                              We just used this marinade on some venison steaks tonight and by FAR this is the best yet! http://bestyummyrecipes.wordpress.com...

                                              1. I got 3
                                                1. Oyster sauce, (overnight). I know it's not scratch made.
                                                2. Lite soy sauce and liquid smoke and worcesterhire. 4 to 6 hrs.
                                                3. Lite soy sauce and juice from can of sliced pineapples, (overnight).
                                                grill the steaks and pineapple slices.

                                                1. Whats up with rubbing steaks with brown sugar?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: crixxie

                                                    Depending what you mix with the brown sugar adds a nice crust with interesting flavors and overtones -

                                                  2. I don't measure anything, and I find balsamic vinegar too sugary for our tastes to use for marinade. The stuff I put into my flank marinade is just mixed up to taste: Good cabernet wine vinegar, worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, Dijon mustard, two smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, water, optional soy sauce, black pepper. I used to add a few pinches of brown sugar, but I like it better without it; I'm not into candied meat.

                                                    I marinate all day, sometimes overnight, but not usually.

                                                    1. toasted sesame seed oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, fresh garlic, ginger root, fresh lime juice (sometimes fresh lemon), black pepper and scallions.
                                                      To switch it up, a smidge of hoisin, or oyster sauce. This smells sooo good on the BBQ!
                                                      I was at a park once and the family there was bbq-ing, chicken and beef. Then they threw on pork belly. The aroma was just delicious, it was all just so perfect. The onions garlic, sesame, etc. yum.