5 Easy Steak Marinades – The Real Food Dietitians

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The 2 Week Diet

Break out the grill because we’ve got 5 Easy Steak Marinades that are perfect for any night of the week.

This post was created in collaboration with our friends at Primal Kitchen. 

Who’s ready to grill?

You KNOW this girl is waving both arms in the air. I love grilling and do 99% of it at my house – not because my hubby can’t grill, I just love it. Which is why, after sharing the 5 Easy Chicken Marinades post a little while back, I knew I needed to create these 5 easy steak marinades as an excuse to do more grilling (not that you ever need an excuse to stand outside and cook dinner).

Probably the best part though is that with just a little time up front, I’ve got a freezer filled with pre-marinated steak and chicken that I just need to thaw and cook. And it doesn’t even have to be grilled. I can be cooked in the oven, on the stovetop, under the broiler, via sous vide, in the slow cooker, etc.

In fact, it’s so simple to create them at home using what you have on hand but I’d definitely recommend trying some (or all) of the 5 easy steak marinade recipes below as a starting point if you don’t know where to start or just need some inspiration.

Turn less expensive, lean cuts of steak into something delicious with these 5 Easy Steak Marinades. #realfood @primalkitchen Click To Tweet

Why marinate?

Great question! The purpose of a marinade is to flavor AND tenderize meat at the same time so go ahead and use a leaner, less expensive cuts (I used sirloin) and save that expensive ribeye for a date-night-in or when you don’t have time to marinate and just a little salt and pepper will have to do.

Making a marinade, be it for chicken or steak or pork, is really simple and requires just three things:

  • Fat – allows the flavors to cling to the surface of the meat and enhances the flavor
  • Acid – this can be from citrus juice, wine, vinegar or even dairy products and the purpose is to tenderize the meat while also adding a bright, zingy flavor
  • Flavor – marinades are all about flavor but you want to be careful not to use too much spice or you’ll overwhelm the flavor of the meat and potentially the entire dish. Keep the flavoring to a minimum because more is better in this case.

Go easy on the salt.

With the recent popularity of the book and Netflix series, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, we’ve been hearing a lot about the importance of properly salting a dish but marinades are the exception. While you want to have some salt in the mix you don’t want to have too much because the salt draws the liquid from the meat and will make it dry once it’s cooked. So for these 5 easy steak marinades, I’ve left the salt out of the recipe with the exception of the Chimichurri Marinade. That one doesn’t use tamari or another salty ingredient so you’ll see a pinch of salt in that recipe.

Use a neutral flavored oil that withstands high cooking temperatures.

Save your fancy extra virgin olive oil to dress your salad. Not only will it smoke at the temps required to get a good sear on your steak the flavor it adds to the mix isn’t necessary (or sometimes appropriate depending on the dish). I prefer a light, neutral-tasting oil such as Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil

Cold pressed and centrifuge extracted without heat, Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil is ideal for high-heat cooking, is non-GMO Project verified, Certified Paleo, and Whole30-Approved. And its light, neutral flavor makes it perfect for marinades because it lets the other flavors of the marinade shine through.

Save 10% on Primal Kitchen when you use coupon code REALFOODRDS 

How to cook those steaks.

As you might imagine from the opening paragraph, my go-to is the grill. Yes, even in the winter and in the rain. But I realize that sometimes grilling can’t happen or you don’t have a grill of you’re out of propane/charcoal/woodchips in which case, I’ll share a few ideas for how you can cook your steaks.

  • Broil it under the broiler – Preheat broiler to medium-high heat. Position top oven rack 4 inches below broiler element. Place steaks on a rimmed baking sheet or in a cast iron pan and pat away the excess marinade using a paper towel. Broil for 4-6 minutes on each side or until steak is done to your liking (160℉ on an instant-read thermometer for medium, 145℉ for medium rare). The exact time you need to reach your desired degree of doneness will depend on your oven, how close the rack is to the broiler element and how thick your steak is. This guide is a helpful tool to give you a starting point if you’re not sure how long that steak will need. 
  • Grill it – Grill over high heat or cut into 1-inch chunks and thread onto skewers. Again, cooking time will depend on your grill temperature and how well done you like your steak. An instant-read thermometer is your best bet here!
  • Start in the skillet, finish in the oven – Preheat oven to 375℉. Place an oven-proof skillet (cast iron works best) over medium heat and allow it to preheat for 5-6 minutes before turning up the heat to high to get the pan really hot.  Add 1 tsp. cooking fat of choice (such as avocado oil, ghee, olive oil, etc.). Pat steaks dry using a paper towel then place steak in the pan being careful not to overcrowd the pan then cook 3 minutes on each side or until the surface is lightly browned. Carefully transfer the pan to the preheated oven and continue cooking for an additional 5-8 minutes or until steak is done to your liking.
  • Slow cook it – There aren’t any rules that say you can’t cook a steak in the slow cooker. In fact, the low, slow, moist heat of the slow cooker is ideal for cooking less tender cuts of meat. So toss your steak in there with your favorite veggies, pop the lid on and turn the temp to low and enjoy a no-fuss dinner with minimal cleanup.

How to store your marinated steak.

For this post, I opted to use plastic zip-top bags because that’s what I had on hand. Sure, I would have LOVED to have used reusable silicone bags (like these half-gallon Stasher bags) or freezer-safe glass containers, but I only have a couple of big Stasher Bags which I use daily and didn’t want to not have access to them because they’re hanging out in the freezer. The same goes for my favorite stackable glass containers with lids). Both the Stasher Bags and the glass containers are excellent eco-friendly options if you’ve got them, but if you don’t quite yet, a plastic zip-top bag CAN be reused if washed well with hot soapy water – I would just be sure to use them again for the same purpose (marinating steak) and would recommend storing them (after washing and drying) in the freezer until you need them again to minimize the chances of bad bacteria growing in the event that you didn’t get them ultra-clean. But that’s just me. If you don’t feel comfortable with that then, by all means, do what works best for you here.

How to cook the steaks, ideas for serving or side dishes, not to use the marinade as a basting liquid or sauce…. how to store (up to 24 hours in the fridge or freeze for longer storage… then how to defrost…don’t cook from frozen or steak will not cook evenly, bags to use or alternatives to plastic).

Add steps to recipes on what to do with the marinade (add to meat, refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours or freeze for longer storage).

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Steakhouse Marinade

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
  2. Pour marinade over steak and massage marinade into the meat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours before using.
  3. For longer storage, place marinated meat in the freezer. To thaw: Place meat in the fridge overnight or submerge sealed bag/container in a bowl of cool water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the meat is thawed.

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Balsamic-Herb Marinade

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
  2. Pour marinade over steak and massage marinade into the meat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours before using.
  3. For longer storage, place marinated meat in the freezer. To thaw: Place meat in the fridge overnight or submerge sealed bag/container in a bowl of cool water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the meat is thawed.

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Chipotle-Lime Marinade

Ingredients

  • Juice of 2 limes (~¼ cup)
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 3 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen avocado oil
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning (such as our Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. dried chipotle pepper powder
  • ⅛ tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
  2. Pour marinade over steak and massage marinade into the meat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours before using.
  3. For longer storage, place marinated meat in the freezer. To thaw: Place meat in the fridge overnight or submerge sealed bag/container in a bowl of cool water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the meat is thawed.

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Korean BBQ Marinade

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
  2. Pour marinade over steak and massage marinade into the meat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours before using.
  3. For longer storage, place marinated meat in the freezer. To thaw: Place meat in the fridge overnight or submerge sealed bag/container in a bowl of cool water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the meat is thawed.

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Chimichurri Marinade

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves (stems removed*)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen avocado oil
  • Juice ½ lemon (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • ¼ tsp. salt 
  • ⅛ tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Finely mince garlic and parsley with a knife then add remaining ingredients and whisk well to combine.
  2. Pour marinade over steak and massage marinade into the meat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours before using.
  3. For longer storage, place marinated meat in the freezer. To thaw: Place meat in the fridge overnight or submerge sealed bag/container in a bowl of cool water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the meat is thawed.

You may also place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until almost smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container as needed.

Notes

*Save the stems in a bag in the freezer for the next time you make bone broth (just add them to the pot with the veggies and bones). 

What’s your favorite way to dress up a steak? Share in the comments below.

 

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