How Do I Choose the Best Homemade Steak Marinade?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2020
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Choosing the best homemade steak marinade is all about understanding what seasonings pair best with steak. The other necessary ingredients in a marinade will depend on the type of steak you are cooking. When working with tougher cuts, choose a homemade steak marinade that includes ingredients that will tenderize the meat. The marinade used on prime cuts can typically be chosen based on flavor rather than tenderizing capabilities.

The best homemade steak marinade will utilize flavors that complement a steak, and most herbs and spices can go well with this type of meat. In most cases, a marinade that includes pepper, either black, white, red, or Szechuan, as well as garlic, will enhance the flavor of the meat. When choosing a homemade steak marinade, look for recipes that do not sound overly sweet. A small amount of sugar, cinnamon, or even chocolate can make for an interesting marinade. Despite this, it is important to remember that steak contains a fair amount of natural sugar, and adding too much sweetness can overpower the meat.


Most marinades come in two different forms: acidic and oil-based. While most acidic marinades do contain some amount of oil, it is typically limited. The acid in a marinade helps to dissolve the connective tissue found in tougher cuts of meat, such as chuck and flat iron steaks, helping to make them more tender. A naturally tender cut of meat, such as fillet and rib eye, does not require acid, and using an acidic marinade on this type of steak can ruin the texture.

If you are cooking a tougher cut of meat, the list of ingredients in the recipe for a homemade steak marinade will give you a good idea as to whether or not the seasoning will tenderize the meat. Any type of citrus fruit or vinegar are often considered ideal for tenderizing, so homemade steak marinades that call for lemon, lime, or orange juice, as well as any type of vinegar, will typically tenderize your steak. Certain fruits, such as apples and pears, or alcoholic beverages like whiskey or beer, can also act as tenderizers, and a homemade steak marinade that includes these will typically be ideal for tougher cuts.

The best way to choose a homemade steak marinade for tender cuts is to make sure that the recipe does not contain any of the tenderizing ingredients previously discussed. In some cases, however, a small amount of these ingredients can add flavor without breaking down the steak. If you prefer a slight hint of citrus or vinegar in your marinade, yet you are cooking an already tender cut of meat, make sure that the tenderizing ingredient is kept to small amounts. In general, the main base of the homemade steak marinade should be oil, such as olive, canola, or grapeseed.


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Post 2

@rundocuri- That's a great tip, because tomato juice is a very diverse ingredient when it comes to making marinades. There are so many different ways to prepare it by adding different ingredients.

I like to mix tomato juice with a variety of Italian spices like garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, and rosemary. I add a teaspoon of sugar for a little sweetness in the recipe. I place steaks in the mixture and put them in the refrigerator over night. When it is time for dinner the next day, they are ready to roast, broil, or bake for a fantastic meal.

Post 1

I like to use tomato juice for a steak marinade. If you add a variety of vegetables before preparing it in the oven, you end up with a flavor that is similar to pot roast or beef stew. It is a very good combination when you are in the mood for a meal that reminds you of home cooking.

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