How Do I Choose the Best Ribeye Steak Marinade?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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To choose the best ribeye steak marinade, it's important to think of the kind of flavoring you'd like to add to the meat and whether it's mainly savory, sweet, smoky or spicy. It's also crucial to remember that since ribeye steak is quite a tender, well-marbled cut, it already has a lot of natural flavor. The best marinade for this type of steak shouldn't be so overpowering as to mask the ribeye's true flavor, but rather enhance it.

If you prefer a spicy marinade, a few drops of pepper sauce added to a beer-based mixture can be an interesting flavor enhancer. Lime juice, garlic powder, some cooking oil and a few pinches of dried herbs can complete the spicy ribeye steak marinade. Both the pepper sauce and herbs should be used in small quantities so as not to overpower the ribeye's natural taste. Herbs such as basil, oregano and rosemary are good for most steak marinades, as long as they're not used in amounts big enough to create an almost medicine-like flavor. Chopped chili peppers may also be added to a spicy steak marinade.


To create a smoky ribeye marinade, a combination of hickory barbecue sauce and soy sauce can work along with the cooking oil and herbs. The steak may then be brushed with the barbecue sauce used alone during grilling or broiling. Rather than the powdered variety, minced fresh cloves of garlic may be added to a ribeye steak marinade for extra rich robustness. A commercial hickory marinade and barbecue sauce with garlic and herbs already added may be used instead of a homemade recipe.

For a sweet marinade, honey or brown sugar make good additions. Brown sugar can create a tenderizing effect on steak, although ribeye is typically already tender. The richness of the brown sugar can still create a dark rich flavor that may be enhanced by using some bourbon in a ribeye steak marinade. If you're using honey in a marinade, you may need to reduce some of the liquids such as cooking oil, bourbon and/or fruit juice. Orange juice can create a pleasing sweet, tangy effect in a steak marinade.

When you'd rather have a more savory marinade when grilling, broiling or frying rib eye steaks, balsamic or red wine vinegar as well as some mustard can make a good combination along with the usual cooking oil, garlic and seasonings. Rather than dried herbs, you may want to use chopped fresh ones instead. A small amount of a piquant spice such as ginger can make a nice addition to a savory ribeye steak marinade.


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