This is the very BEST quick steak marinade, perfect for grilling up juicy, flavorful steaks – even cheap cuts! – so tasty you won’t need sauce.
It’s that time of year again for full-on grilling season, and I could not be more excited about it. Around here we have a definite season for grilling since half of the year it’s too cold to stand outside and flip anything with a pair of tongs, though back in January I did put on about 13 layers and stand out on the back deck to make dinner a few nights. The things I’ll do out of sheer desperation for grilled food!But, now that the weather is making a definite trend toward summer, I’ve been grilling up a storm (and wearing only two layers!) and the first thing I’ve been working on is a recipe for a perfect, super juicy. flavorful steak.
It’s hard to believe that growing up I thought steak was dry, tough, and flavorless, so therefore I wouldn’t eat it. In fact, I didn’t have a good steak until I was getting into adulthood. Then, I finally realized that steak didn’t have to be dry, tough, or flavorless. In fact, it could be crazy-delicious, juicy, and bursting with big, bold flavors. It’s all in the marinade!
HOW DO YOU MAKE A STEAK MARINADE?
Although the key to a great steak is the marinade, don’t worry, you won’t have to plan for hours in advance to reap its benefits. That’s because today I’m sharing with you my secret for a 20-minute marinade that will transform even cheaper cuts into delicious and tender steak with enough flavor to make you forget to pull out the A-1.
This steak marinade starts with a base of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, which makes a perfect combination for tenderizing the meat. I whisk the soy and vinegar together with the oil, worcestershire sauce, honey, herbs, dry mustard, and garlic powder. All of these ingredients will infuse into the steak for big flavor. Add the steak and the marinade into a sealable bag, and chill for 15-20 minutes in the fridge before throwing your steak on the grill.
WHAT CUT OF STEAK IS BEST FOR MARINATING?
Though this marinade will work on any cut of steak, it’s true that some are better than others, depending on your personal tastes. I tend to go for a leaner cut of beef, like t-bone, top loin, tenderloin, or ribeye. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t purchase other cuts of steak.
Chuck steaks, hanger, skirt, and flank will taste great after 20 minutes in the perfect steak marinade (thanks soy sauce and balsamic) but you can also lean toward leaving it in the bag longer to really seal in that flavor and make your steak as tender as you prefer, up to 24 hours.
HOW LONG DO YOU MARINATE STEAK?
Even though I swear by the 20-minute time on this marinade, you can soak it for longer. For example, if you have extra time or want to make this marinade in the morning or the night before, you can either make it and marinate it longer (up to 6 hours or overnight) or put it all together 20 minutes before you are ready to grill.
If you are using a lesser cut of steak, you can go longer to really tenderize it. If you get in a real pickle or forget about it, your steak will still be good to cook for up to 24 hours in a marinade.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A STEAK MARINADE WITHOUT SOY SAUCE?
If you are allergic to soy or don’t like the taste of soy, you can use a substitution instead on in the marinade.
- Consider skipping it all together and just using the other ingredients, increasing your oil and balsamic by ⅓ cup each.
- Tamari sauce is another Japanese sauce you can use that tastes like soy but is thicker and more flavorful than soy sauce.
- Coconut aminos make a good substitution for soy sauce.
- Bragg liquid aminos will help to tenderize your steak and add flavor as well.
- You can also increase the amount of worcestershire sauce if you enjoy that flavor more.
TIPS FOR GRILLING A PERFECT STEAK
- Preheat the grill so the grates are nice and hot before putting the steaks on.
- Once you’ve placed the steak on the grates, try to move it as little as possible.
- Only flip your steak once to keep it from sticking to the grates and to cook it evenly on both sides.
- Don’t cut into your steak to check for readiness! This will let the juices run out and dry out your steak. Use a thermometer or the hand test (take a look at this article if you’re unfamiliar with the hand test — I love this method).
- Once cooked, allow steak to rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it to preserve the juices and keep it from drying out.
What people are saying about the Best Quick Steak Marinade
“Absolutely loved it.. its in my written recipe book now and on high rotation. Just takes STEAK to a WHOLE new level. Highly recommend.” – Caroline
“This was fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that much flavor and tenderness after marinating for only about 30-40 minutes.” – Lauren
“I tried this last night and it was phenomenal. Was out of balsamic so had to use apple cider vinegar with a little sugar mixed in as a sub. Otherwise followed the recipe precisely. Marinated for ABOUT an hour. Thanks for the recipe.” – Christina
“Used this marinade for Denver steaks and it was DELICIOUS! Me and my husband loved it, thank you!” – Marina
Best Quick Steak Marinade
- 4-6 8-ounce steaks
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- chopped parsley, for garnish optional
- Whisk together balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, oil, worcestershire sauce, honey, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and dried mustard.
- Add steaks and marinade to a zip lock bag, tossing the steaks a few times to coat. Press the excess air out, seal the bag, and chill for 15-20 minutes.
- Use tongs to transfer steaks to a preheated grill. Cook until desired doneness is reached. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.