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Marinade for steak

I bought at the store three ridiculously cheap and and fresh but gonna-be-tough pieces of steak.

Do you ever marinate whole steaks instead of steak tips? Can you give me your favorite marinade recipes? How long do you soak 'em?

They will eventually be grilled and served with baby carrots and homemade steak fries if that helps.

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  1. THis recipe sounds awful- but it is really good. Equal parts Italian dressing, ketchup and coca cola. I am not a big ketchup or coca cola fan, but love this on grilled steaks. I soak them all day in the marinade, then toss on the grill. Great on London broil.

    9 Replies
    1. re: macca

      I've done fresh ham in cola and it works really well. The sugar, phosphoric acid, and fruit flavors work well to brine/tenderize/flavor the meat. I can see how ketchup would amp up the flavors more suited to beef. I think I might just go to the basis of ketchup though -- vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic, and anchovy(sugar & tomato aren't going to help grilled beef). I'm not sure that the dressing would be adding much to that mix, but perhaps some herbs -- which I've found usually go up in smoke when grilling, but maybe if you are cooking at a lower temp they'd contribute.

      1. re: renov8r

        You are probably right, and I usually like to make my own teriyaki style marinade for beef- but this is really easy, and so good. The person who gave it to me told me it was the "secret" recipe from a Boston Area restaurant famous for its steak tips. Don't believe him, as if it was a "secret" recipe, i dont think he would have had it- but it IS close to the recipe, I think. I am not sure what the dressing does either, except maybe temper the sugar and coat the meat in olive oil.

        1. re: macca

          Bizarrely, I overheard in Markey's the other day a guy discussing the marinade that macca mentions to his buddy. They had had several beers (several several) while waiting for lobsters so I thought "Take it with a grain of salt..." but now I see his recipe verbatim from macca, a chowhound. Okay, I will try this either tonight or tomorrow because I know I have all three of those ingredients at home. THANK YOU

          1. re: thegolferbitch

            Let me know what you think- did they say it was a "secret" recipe from the New Bridge? Coincidently, I got this recipe from a patron of a pub ( not Markey's). Like you, I almost scoffed at it. I wonder if there are a few guys travelling from pub to pub in the area spreading the recipe :}. Funny

            1. re: macca

              No, no names mentioned, otherwise I would have "trusted" them! They had just lost money on a simulated race somewhere and were drowning their sorrows. New Bridge is a damn good place for recipes though.
              That's a very weird coincidence about the pub guys. I'll report back on how my cooking goes.

      2. re: macca

        macca -
        I used your marinade last night on some steaks we grilled ....marinated them all day. They were awesome....thanks for the idea!

        1. re: THenderson

          No problem. TO me, it was one of those recipes Iwas almost afraid to try- as I do not drink coca cola, and hardly ever use ketchup., But, as is sometimes the case, the whole was certaainly better than the sum of the parts!! I am gooing to try it with some ribs and some chicken, too.

          1. re: macca

            We are the same way with coke - but I must admit, I occasionally enjoy ketchup...heinz organic is decent and not so sweet...made with sugar instead of corn syrup. Anyway, I made up a little extra marinade yesterday and currently have some boneless skinless chicken breasts marinating....ready to grill tonight.
            Thanks again-

      3. My husband & my amazing delicious marinade:
        Honey/brown sugar
        Red wine vinegar/lime juice (sometimes both)
        Steak seasoning
        Sometimes some soy (depends on other flavors in the meal)

        We had strip steaks the other night and he had marinated them overnight - delicious but honestly not sure I could tell the difference between overnight and just a few hours.

        1. I've marinated whole steaks a number of times with the following:

          Equal parts of Worcestershire sauce and Teriyaki sauce. A healthy squirt of Siracha (or hot sauce of your choice). Marinate 8 hrs.

          Red wine, garlic, worcestershire sauce and fresh thyme. Again, marinate 8 hrs.

          1. For a really good steak I like the worcestershire, steak seasoning, soy, etc. But it sounds like what you've got is going to be a little tougher. Marinade is not going to significantly tenderize the meat so don't worry about that.
            I'd go with the red wine, garlic, worcestershire, and thyme mentioned above. I think it will enhance the meat you have better than the alternative.

            1. I've made a literal Bloody Mary marinade that turned out great

              1. I really like the idea of using red wine/fresh thyme. I have neither at home but will try it over the weekend. Brokergal, literal as in some vodka in there too?

                1 Reply
                1. I like Chimichurra sauce. There are recipes for it on epicurious.com or recipezaar.com. One way to make it is to mix minced fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, culantro if you can get it, onion, and garlic with some olive oil and lemon juice). Heaven on a steak (as a conidment too).

                  1. Sometimes when I make a teriyaki marinate, i like to add some wasabi paste and mix that into the marinade.

                    1. For any marinade using sugar, corn syrup, honey, or other sweetener try substituting blended Nashi (Asian) pear. This is used in many Korean recipes to tenderize meats. The Nashi is not as sweet as the other sweeteners so if you want that "sweet" flavor you need to add more.

                      1. My go-to marinade for beef and chicken:

                        1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
                        1/2 cup dry white wine
                        1/4 cup sugar (or I use Splenda)
                        1 Tbsp. ground ginger
                        1 Tbsp. granulated garlic

                        Mix ingredients in a large zip-lock bag and add meat. Turn meat over every half hour or so. Marinate beef no more than two hours to avoid toughness; chicken for up to 12 hours. I make up to five pounds of chicken wings at a time in an ovenproof bag and marinate and bake all in the same bag. Sure helps with clean up! Everyone loves this marinade.

                        1. Always, always, squeeze half a lime over steak. The acid from the lime tenderizes the meat and you do not taste it when you grill it. So every marinade I made I always include lime juice.

                          1. Similar to others already posted, I make sure some kind of acid and/or alcohol is used along with flavorings...the acid and alcohol can actually help tenderize a bit.

                            I would say the key is not overcooking too - the rarer the better with tougher cuts (or a long, slow braise of course)

                            Here is a recipe I used with great results - slightly spicy too!
                            Spicy Grilled Top Round Steak:

                            1.5 to 2 lb top round steak (or other)
                            1/3 c red wine
                            1-2 tbs balsamic vinegar
                            1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
                            2 tbs brown sugar
                            Salt to taste
                            Fresh ground black pepper to taste
                            1 tsp cinnamon
                            1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
                            1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

                            Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (except steak). Pour over steak and marinate for 2-4 hours, up to 8 hours. The acids in the marinade will help tenderize the meat.


                            1. Hi everyone. I absolutely love all your recipes. I am starting with macca's...mixed the dressing/coke/ketchup this am before work. The people I cook for get whiney and snappish if they don't have red meat at least once a week (including, but not limited to my wonderdog), so during the summer grill season I WILL try every one of these ideas.
                              Thanks again. I'll report on the eating tonight, tomorrow.

                              1. might be a bit late for you but i have tried a few of the steak maranades in this months cooks illustrated and had excellent results with tough cuts of meat. My favorite is the mole but all were excellent.

                                1. Hey, the Coke marinade works! Here's something interesting....I marinated in a couple of separate, shallow bowls since my larger bowls were occupied. As a result the ratio of coke: ketchup: Italian dressing was slightly different in each bowl. Bowl one was equal parts. Bowl two was markedly heavier on the dressing and ketchup (I used tabasco ketchup). I actually liked the "thicker" marinade and even then, I think anyone could play with spices or salts or oils or vinegars to their taste since this marinade doesn't "saturate" the meat....just gives it a little zip and yes, tenderizes. Anyway, success! Thank you macca...it's a great, simple marinade. I will be trying the others as the spring/summer progresses, including the mole. First, must fill the propane tank.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: thegolferbitch

                                    Glad you like it. Next time I will try with less coke. Good idea about adding some heat. I'll bet it was nice with sweetness of the coke and ketchup. I am bookmarking this thread, as there are lots of good ideas and am so looking forward to grilling. I think this weekend we will go simple with sausages, burgers and dogs.

                                  2. And if you are to busy or just want to be lazy, the "Allegro" Brand of Marinade is really quite tasty! I like the hot kind....

                                    1. Also a late response but here's a recipe for more of a rub than a wet marinade but it's still a bit wet. For as seldom as I eat steak anymore, I tend to like it grilled with just salt & fresh pepper BUT my son asked me to try the steaks this way once and now this is how I make them all the time for him and I have to admit, it's very very good: