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Marinade for a ribeye steak?

Hi All,

I typically cook steaks simply, just with salt and pepper on a grill or in a cast iron pan. Yesterday, I bought some ribeye steaks from Trader Joe's, and cooked one last night and well, its flavor was a little disappointing using the above method -- just sort of plain-tasting without much flavor (I'm guessing it's because on the rare occasions when I cook steaks at home, in the past I've splurged and bought prime NY strip steak which needs no help in the flavor department). I want to cook the other one tonight, and was wondering if anyone has any good tips for quick steak marinades or other seasonings? I have on hand most herbs, EVOO, butter, onions, garlic and other kitchen basics (such as soy sauce, vinegar, etc.)



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  1. do you like philly cheesesteaks? just throw it in the freezer for an hour or so - you can slice with a knife as thin as you can - saute some sliced onion with salt, pepper, and a little dried oregano and chili powder - add the meat at a high heat and serve on a soft toasted roll with your favorite melted cheese -

    1. Wow, usually the ribeye, has a lot of flavor with a nice fat ratio. That's too bad, its the only steak I usually buy and prepare it either on the bbq or cast iron pan same as you.
      You could make a little sauce out of scallions, about half a stick or so of butter, and about 1/3 cup of Lea & Perrins Worschestershire sauce, add to that some mushrooms, salt and pepper and top the steak. I got that from a restaurant years ago and every now and then use it, just because. (my dh loves it).

      3 Replies
      1. re: chef chicklet

        I'm with you chicklet, I always order rib eye and cook ribeye because the flavor is superior to me. I don't usually do much to it. I have read the many do a nice dry herbed rub before grilling or pan frying.

        1. re: chef chicklet

          This is a universal answer to several of your comments. The ribeye was organic, but not sure if it was grass-fed (it didn't specify so, so I'm guessing not). It was also sliced thinish (less than an inch thick, so had to cook it quickly/carefully so as to not overcook). The flavor issue could have been because the steak was not prime (maybe I'm spoiled with the steaks I've bought in the past, but I am now on a budget). I actually bought the ribeye, because I remembered that people on here typically like the cut and think it flavorful. Don't really know what was wrong with it, other than it just didn't taste *great* on its own . . . anyhow, I ended up sauteeing some onions in butter, then adding the steak that had been salted, peppered, and dribbled with Lea & Perrins, and it ended up being fine. Not the best steak I've eaten, but quite tasty for a weeknight dinner. Thanks for the feedback!

          1. re: DanaB

            I have not had organic meat in years, and not grass fed either. I actually have never purchased meat at Trader Joes, except lamb chops and tri tip.
            A few weeks ago, I too purchased a thinner ribeye, and I gotta agree now remembering, I was sort of left unsatisfied. Probably because the thickness didn't leave enough room for my lovely med rare/leaning to rare way of eating steak. I find the costco ribeyes in my area to be the best, and they only sell prime or so I was told. If you're on a budget like me, you can always slice it horizontally or better yet in half so you still have a thicker steak ( we do that anyway), and have the other half another day.

        2. Was it grass-fed? I've read recently that grass-fed beef should not be seared the same way as grain-fed, that it should be cooked at a lower heat. I read that after using my time-tested method on a grass-fed NY steak of searing at high heat. The taste was considerably less than I am used to so I suspect it may be due to being from a grass-fed cow.

          1. I like my ribeye like you, very simple; salt, pepper, and if it needs a kick for any reason.. a drizzle of really, really good aged balsamic vinegar.

            1. I tend to buy Top Round, but I make a marinade that seems to work:

              1 cup prepared BBQ sauce ( I use Kraft's original or Spicey Honey)
              3 TBS Honey
              3 TBS Soy sauce
              1 TBS Vinegar
              1/2 cup Marsala wine (you can find it in the condiment section of most markets), or same of real red wine
              1 TBS minced garlic
              Dash of Hot sauce to taste (optional)
              a buddy of mine also adds a tsp or so of Liquid Smoke that it is nice

              I take the steak and play Lizzie Borden on both sides with a fork - give it at least 40 whacks!

              Let it sit in the marinade for at least 4 hours and turn regularly.

              I heat my gas grill to way hot, shut off the middle burner and then cook 7 minutes a side, adding some of the leftover marinade on each side.

              Sliced on a diagonal. It comes out rare to medium rare and seems to get rave reviews!

              I'd almost guarantee it, but then you'd have to come to Philly and see - and taste!<G>.

              1. In my experience, Trader Joe's beef has been uniformly disappointing. I like their chickens, and the boneless leg of lamb is okay, but I've never gotten good beef there. It's like they run it through a machine that sucks all the flavor out before they cryo-vac it.

                Given that the steak is already flavorless, your options are limited. I wouldn't try to showcase the meat even if it was marinated. The philly cheesesteak idea is a good one, but I'd slice it thin, marinate it in soy, ginger, and garlic, then stir-fry it with plenty of oyster sauce and a green veg (bok choy, broccoli, snow peas, whatever).

                1. Sounds crazy but my aunt gave me this marinade recipe which we've used for years
                  1 stick of butter
                  1 small bottle of Worcestershire
                  1/2 jar sweet pickle juice.

                  Heat til butter melts. I've used it for a longish marinade and I've used it as a quick dip in and then grill, dip in as you turn steak. Either way it works.

                  1. I would cut your losses and just grill it and eat it with a steak sauce of some sort.

                    1. This is my all-purpose marinade for all meats, but primarily steak and lamb chops:

                      EVOO - enough to cover meat
                      Sliced fresh garlic - at least 4 cloves (out of the jar no good!)
                      mess of cracked black pepper
                      sliced raw onion
                      sliced shallots (optional)
                      handful of crumbled dried chili peppers
                      1/2 tsp turmeric
                      dried oregano
                      pinch dried basil
                      handful of crumbled dried bay leaves (this is a key ingredient)
                      half a handful of whole coriander and/ or mustard seeds
                      several sprigs fresh parsley, bruised
                      NO SALT (salt the meat just before grilling)


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: HSBSteveM

                        This is our favorite marinade for steaks, roasts etc. I got it off a recipe website (which I will not mention in case it forbidden).

                        Garlic Marinade for Steaks #52801 by deb k
                        Makes 4 steaks or 1 roast

                        ½ cup balsamic vinegar
                        ¼ cup soy sauce
                        3 tbl minced garlic
                        2 tbl olive oil
                        2 tsp ground black pepper
                        1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
                        1 tsp onion powder
                        ½ tsp liquid smoke
                        ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

                        Mix together and marinade about 24-48 hours.

                        Ab Fab

                      2. Am HUGE fan of ribeye steak, always prepare very simply with salt, Montreal steak seasoning and fresh garlic. BTW, Costco has never disappointed me, I like their thicker cut steaks, so we can char outside and leave med rare inside. Anyway, I actually had a raw ribeye left over from a BBQ last weekend and wanted to make a meal of it for 3 hearty eaters. I knew my work was going to be hard.

                        Sliced th ribeye pretty thinly horizontally across the grain in 1/4 to 1/3 in slices. In large frying pan, heated up some EVOO and sauteed crisp green & red peppers, onions, mushrooms and some summer squash and zucchini. Removed veggies to serving bowl and stir fried steak for 2-3 min seasoning with teriyaki sauce and a little cornstarch/water slurry. Added veggies, reheated and served over fluffy rice. Big hit!

                        1. I love a simple ribeye, but when steak is lacking in the flavor department, I like to go with a sweet and spicy Thai-inspired marinade.

                          1 tbsp. oil
                          1 tbsp. sambal oelek
                          2 tbsp. red curry paste
                          3/4 c. brown sugar
                          1/2 c. soy sauce
                          1 tbsp. grated ginger

                          The sugar caramelizes on the outside of the steak and you get a spicy kick from the curry and sambal.

                          1. I love grilling ribeye steaks, and there's quite a few great steak restaurants in Houston that serve a fantastic ribeyes. However, my favorite runs over $50 just for the steak, so I know what grilling on your own budget is about.

                            Usually I'll just put some olive oil, crushed black pepper, and sea salt on my ribeyes, but if it's a lower quality meat, sometimes I'll add just a bit of cumin, a splash of soy sauce, and some garlic salt. Just enough flavor to make it interesting.

                            1. Ok, this is an old subject, I suppose much older even than this post, probably 10,000 years ago somebody was arguing about the exact same thing! Anyway, I have a theory.....and am a phisics major..... and everywhere I go, no matter what kind of steak it is, or what kind of people are eating it, everytime, when I use this method, it is the juciest, or most tender steaks people say they have ever tasted.... even with ZERO seasoning. Before you judge this post, I beg you to try this method, at LEAST once, and see for yourself.

                              Ok, first of all I suppose everyone will admit, that heat, boils water. What most people dont realize, is that heat actually simply expands water molecules..... and when the water molecules become less dense, than the air around them (boiling tempurature) they at the same instant become lighter, than the air, and as a result, float away. OK so your wondering, what does this have to do with steak?

                              The conventional "wisdom", concerning steak, says.... Quote " Only flip your steak, once." This is NOTHING MORE THAN A WIVES TALE..... let me explain, with the last paragraphs phisics lesson in mind.....

                              When a steak sits above a fire, which burns at approximately 1500 degrees (in the flame) the portion of steak, sitting clostst to the fire heats very quickly, as well, as cools very quickly, when removed from the heat source. The hotter it gets..... the more quickly it will start to become dry........ now throughout the rest of this article, remember that basic principle. Keep in mind, this is not my personal theory, but simple phisics.
                              When you cook a steak, on one side for an extended period of time, what do you notice happens to the top (less heated) part of the steak? The moisture inside the steak expands, to form as pools on top, and boil away, underneath, as gasses expand. If you had to sum it up in one sentence, you could say..... "To have a tender steak, you must minimise moisture loss as much as possible. The only way to effectively do this is to continuously flip the steak, before it can lose a substantial ammount of moisture from either side.... I>E> Rotissary.... or CONSTANT FLIPPING. Try this method of flipping every 30 seconds, or more if possible, and see if marinade or spices or anything else holds even a candle to the juicyness and tenderness of your steak..... I think you will be greatly surprised how good even a cheap cut of meat, under these curcumstances can be. - BadManAlive

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: badmanalive

                                Well, badmanalive, I respect you but I have to disagree with your post. First of all, I'm not sure which university teaches "Phisics" and I'm pretty sure we need not bring "Physics", boiling water and expanding molecules into grilling steaks or hamburgers. And there is a very simple explanation why turning only once works best. Have the meat at room temp, heat the grill very hot, when very hot, turn down to low, add the meat, when the very first sign of juices rise to the top it means the bottom is seared. Flip it over, turn fire to high again and sear the other side. By searing both sides quickly you trap in the juices, and the juices are where the flavor lies. If you're using charcoal or wood for fire you obviously have to regulate the heat. Also, I think the best seasoning for a steak or burger is just kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. But The Ultimate Sauce to pour on a steak or burger is Campbells Beefy Mushroom. SOOO

                                1. re: funkyretard

                                  I think the theory of "sealing in juices" via searing has pretty much been debunked.

                              2. Marinade must account for several taste domains including acid, sweet or savory, and seaonings (salt, pepper). However, one area often overlooked is the method for marinading the meat.

                                So without giving away my famous mariande, here is a listing of what you'll want to include:

                                Acid - either citric or vinegar (not both)
                                Savory - a blend of flavorings (this will include soy or worchestershire plus dried aromatics/herbs)
                                Seasoning - both salt and pepper (careful on the salt)

                                Forget the fresh herbs, onion and butter, all of which will either burn and bitter under or over the fire. The final marinade should be liquidfied, even if that means using a blender. The meat will not absorb anything not liquidfied.

                                Lastly, mariande the meat until it reaches room temperature even if it takes 2-3 hours sitting out. Two reasons why are that the meat will reach ultimate saturation of flavorings and the marinade also acts as a tenderizer agent during that time. Meat saturated with marinade is more juicy, more tender, and much more flavorful. Use the leftover marinande for basting during cooking (probably should boil it first).

                                One last tip if grilling. Do not immediately remove the meat from the grill. Extinguish the fire, close the lid and allow the meat to sweat for 2-3 minutes. That will ensure the meat is at its juiciest best, being sure to carefully capture the standing steak juices on the steak platter. Allow cooking time adjustment for the extra couple of minutes.

                                I promise you'll get pats on the back and gain a reputation among friends as the best steak griller around.

                                Please pardon any misspellings....

                                1. Add some compound butter(s) to the steak after you cook/grill it. There are a million combinations that you can make depending on your taste. Get your google on