The Best Steak Marinade Known To Man
Updated: Mar 3
Well to this man anyway.
Seriously though, if this marinade was a type of gun it would be a Howitzer. If you google, "Bustin' Out The Big Guns" there is a picture of this marinade, This marinade is the sniper of steak seasoning....whoa.....whoa.....I've gone full bore on the gun analogies. I'm a lover not a fighter.
I cook a lot of steak, a lot. Although, regular readers of my recipes will be surprised to hear I'm not actually the biggest steak fan [horrified face]. I find it a bit, well, meh! I can take it or leave it. I'd much prefer a nice lump of pork belly, Lamb RIbs or even some good quality sausages, they just seem to have more flavour to me. As I write this, I'm realising this is not the best advert for this recipe; a steak marinade from a guy who thinks steak is a bit "Meh".
Well let me explain why that is exactly why you should keep reading:
I cook a lot of steak because Mrs MCF is a steak addict of note and a creature of habit, so if I ask her what she'd like for dinner, she only doesn't say steak sometimes because she doesn't want me to think she's boring (don't ever,ever, ever tell her I said that). Happy wife means happy life so I lovingly oblige in most cases even if I end up cooking steak for her and something else for me. Also we emigrated to a country where barbecuing (known as Braaiing here in Cape
Town) is the national sport and beef is the national meat so you better know you're way around a grill and a Rib-Eye if you live in South Africa and want to have friends.
So after 15 years of honing my craft, I can pretty much pull off the perfect cut, cook and crust on a steak.
And the secret marinade behind the curtain is this one:
Ingredients (will marinate 2 large steaks)
Your steak of choice (This is killer with Fillet)
4 cloves of Garlic, crushed
1 bottle of balsamic vinegar
Fresh Rosemary (4 large sprigs)
1/2 tsp sugar
High Temp neutral taste cooking oil (Peanut Oil is great but Sunflower or Vegetable Oil will do)
1 Beef Stock or Bouillon Cube
Finely Ground White Pepper
Kosher / Rock Salt
1 large zip-lock bag, big enough to hold your steaks
In a small bowl, pour 3 tablespoons of oil and add the stock cube.
I've never found a better way to do this (comment if you've got one) but you now need to mush up the stock cube and combine it with the oil. It's a bit of a messy job but essential. You should end up with a thick gloopy (good word) dark brown oil that's kinda like grainy gravy but has no lumps.
Before washing your hands, rub this concoction all over your patted dry steaks and set them aside whilst you make the rest of the marinade
In a large zIp-lock bag, pour 120ml / 1/4 of a pint of balsamic vinegar
Add 40ml / 3 Tablespoons of the oil
Add the garlic, sugar and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
Rub the bag together (being careful not to spill or burst the bag until the sugar has dissolved and the oil has began to emulsify (mix) with the rest of the mixture
Strip all the needles off the rosemary sprigs and chop them well. Add them to the bag
add a teaspoon of white pepper and mix again to make sure it's dissolved and all mixed together
Add your steaks to the bag and seal, squeezing as much air out as you can.
Put the whole thing in the fridge for as long as you can (maximum overnight) and if you can, at least an hour.
Salt the steaks only a few minutes before cooking to prevent it drawing out the steak juices.
Cooking A Great Steak On The Grill
I'm assuming your steak is around 1 to 1.5 inches thick (25-40mm) and you're cooking on charcoal or wood (gas grilling is just cooking outside, not barbecuing) and that it's a cut with a little fat (strip, sirloin, rib-eye, rump). This will cook it to perfect medium.
Take your steaks out of the fridge but leave them in the bag to come up to room temperature before grilling
Get your fire as hot as you can, screaming hot, the steak can take it
Once hot, take your steaks straight onto the grill from the bag (Don't forget to salt them just before you put them on the fire)
DO NOT TOUCH for 3 minutes
After 3 minutes flip it over
DO NOT TOUCH for 3 minutes
Flip it back over
DO NOT TOUCH for 2 minutes
Gently move it to a wooden chopping board (or a wire cooling rack if you have one with a board underneath) and cover with some loose aluminium foil or a clean dish towel.
DO NOT TOUCH FOR 10 MINUTES, I MEAN IT, HANDS OFF!
It's almost impossible to write a recipe for cooking a steak as there are so many variables but using the method above will get you pretty close. The secret is room temperature to high heat, minimum movement, sufficient resting, and under no circumstances touch it while it's resting. If you follow those rules, you'll be everyone's favourite pit-master in no time.
This marinade is a winner because the Rosemary, Vinegar, Garlic combo is super savoury against the caramelized beef and prevents the beef from being too rich (and that feeling you sometimes get half way through a steak that you're beaten), The little bit of sugar takes the sharp bite out and helps the steak to build a crust on the fire. (Don't be tempted to use extra sugar as it will bur on the hot grill and taste acrid). The stock/oil basting at the start gives the meat extra umami and prevents the vinegar from penetrating the meat too far. The vinegar and Worcestershire sauce cooks and tenderizes the meat before cooking and helps seal in the steak's juices. There's a lot of science going on with a good marinade and this is why I'm brave enough to call this one my best.
Finally, as a Brit that with so many readers from the US, I feel it's my duty to teach the rest of the world how to pronounce Worcestershire Sauce. Its one of the most well used sauces on cooking TV and it is hilarious to hear some of the pronunciations. Worsesestershire is not a word! So here goes:
Worcestershire is pronounced as "Wuster-Sheer". And that's it. Simple, no? You now have no excuse for any less than the confident use of Great Britain's favorite export.
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