Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 13, 2008 11:48 AM

Marinating flank steak

Marinade has red wine, soy, brown sugar, salt, spices and a small amount of a vinegar based brine.

I'm trying to figure out how long to marinade without over marinating and turning it mealy. If I leave it out of fridge I would assume 90 minutes would do? In the fridge something like 2-3 hours?

Anyone have some rules of thumb for durations given the above components?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well, first of all, no food should be left at room temperature to marinade.
    The bacterial soup that can develop is far too great a health risk
    Next, try reading this. IMO, it's a pretty good guide on the subject:

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao

      I will disagree but keep an open mind in case you have a better source for guidelines than what you've provided. The alcohol, acidity, sugar and high salt content in my marinade is going to partially retard bacterial growth and I feel safe for a few hours on the counter as much as I would a few MORE hours in the fridge. If I was not cooking thorughly post-marinade I would be more cautious. I may even boil down some of the marinade to add to a sauce.

      1. re: e_bone

        Good point. My studies indicate that bacteria growth, while not eliminated, can be slowed by acidic marinades. But I still wouldn't take the chance. I've watched people die from botchalism and it isn't pretty. Your question lead me to believe you might be a novice on this subject - I didn't otherwise understand why you would submit the question. Sorry for the confusion.

    2. Not that it adds much to the "body of knowledge" but for what it's worth: my marinade was something like:
      Liquids- 40% red wine, 50% soy, 5% lemon juice, 5% brine, several shakes of liquid smoke.
      A small handful of brown sugar, about the same amount of sea salt, and spices like chili, cumin, oregano and 2 cloves of garlic- all pureed in blender.

      I pounded the flank on both sides with a paillard mallet (not that you can do much damage to flank steak- you'd need a bloody mace) to create more surface area but I didn't do any forking.

      I marinated it in a plastic bag set in a dish on the countertop for about 90 minutes. I've overmarinated before and had that mealy "decomposed" outer portion of the meat and I certainly didn't want that.

      I grilled the flank over a smoky mesquite fire to about 130 deg F and then took off the grill and let rest in foil for about 20 mins.

      The steak was delicious although the crust had the right sweetness but perhaps too much salt. Adding sea salt AND soy without thought to the high volume of salt I was doing was absent minded. What it wasn't was "mushy" on the outside which is what I feared.

      sidebar: If anyone has flank, flap or brisket to marinade I find this product from Allegro a dynamite shortcut to a home made marinade:

      I start with it and add spices to stretch- especially southwest or mexican seasonings. Great stuff.