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help: marinating before grilling ??

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Often when I marinate red meat, it's too soggy to grill properly.
Example - I'll set some steak in the fridge with some wine/vinegar/tomato for a few hours. Heat up a cast iron pan. Take out the steak and pat it with paper towel. Throw the steak in the hot pan.
And what happens?
A lot of excess liquid oozes out of the steak and turns the process into a semi-braise, instead of a nice seared grill.

What am I doing wrong here?
How can I keep the marinade, and avoid soggy meat?

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  1. If you insist on marinading you need to get rid of a lot of moisture, and let the steak rest for several minutes on each side on a paper towel. However, I'd avoid the marinade altogether if you're cooking it in cast iron. Unlike a grill, cast iron has no place for excess moisture to go, so you're steaming your meat. I'd learn the art of the dry rub. If you really want a sauce, brush it on as it is cooking, but let the meat start dry on the pan first.

    1. Why not just dry rub?

      1. I much prefer steak done in a cast-iron pan to grilled. Sounds like you may not be preheating the pan long enough. It should sit at medium to med-high heat for at least 10 minutes before adding the oil and meat. I always marinate but then let the meat and marinade come to room temp on the counter before patting the meat dry with paper towels. Then into the pan for a good sear. I haven't had problems with weeping/steaming unless I used cold meat ir did not preheat properly..

        1. After marinade 30 min to 12 hours, bring meat to room temp before you grill so that the inside has a chance to cook before the outside get's black. Be sure your grill pan is preheated and well seasoned.
          That should get rid of the soggy meat, and if you let the meat rest for a few minutes under a towel or piece of foil for the juices to reabsorb you should have an excellent piece of meat.

          1. As Grey mentioned, it is critical to bring that meat to room temperature prior to grilling. This is for non marinated steaks as well. Throwing a cold/cool steak on a hot fire causes the meat to seize and expel juices that you would like to seal inside and preserve for your dining pleasure later. Equally important is a min 5 to 10 minute rest post grilling to allow those juices to redistribute within the meat. Good luck with your next venture.

            1. One reason I dislike wet marinades. How about waiting for your meat to come to room temp, leave it out a bit but pick it up with tongs and put it on a new plate so the excess marinade stays behind.

              Also I prefer dry rubs, you can whip them up yourself very easily. A little granulated garlic, hungarian paprika and dash of cumin with salt and black pepper is wonderful, sometimes I add dry mustard too.

              I keep a selection of spice mixes on hand (just make sure they're high quality and not stale for maximum flavour) cajun is nice, and BBQ type of rubs but there are several. A greek spice mix is wonderful too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BamiaWruz

                OP here.

                The reason I prefer marinades over dry rubs is that I believe that marinades will help tenderize the meat more than dry rubs would. Any contrary info out there?

                Thanks for the ideas about resting the meat etc - sounds like that could help!