Summer is the perfect time for outdoor grilling over gas or charcoal. However, in cooler or rainy weather, steaks can be marinated and grilled indoors on a George Foreman grill. Whether prepared on an outdoor or indoor grill, marinating meats before grilling can make them tender and even tastier.

What Cuts of Beef Should be Marinated Before Cooking?

Marinating will make meats more tender and can also add a distinctive flavor such as barbeque, citrus or teriyaki. Cola, beer or wine are often used for marinating steaks.

As a rule of thumb, the more expensive the cut of meat, the less it is likely to need marinating. Usually, tender cuts such as porterhouse steaks and rib eyes are not marinated. Sirloin steak does well either way. Less tender cuts such as round, flank and skirt steak should be marinated before grilling.

Marinating meats can save money because less tender cuts are much cheaper at the grocery store than the more tender cuts. A marinated round steak or other cheaper cut is also leaner and healthier than a rib eye or other thicker steaks that contain more fat.

What is the Proper Way to Marinate Beef?

Marinating involves the soaking of meat for several hours or overnight in a prepared mixture which usually contains oil, wine or vinegar, and a combination of spices or sauces. Often, the meat is pounded or punctured in several places with a knife so the marinade will soak in.

To marinate, place meat in a plastic bag, then add marinade. (A glass bowl with a lid can be used in place of a plastid bag). Make sure the meat is covered well on all sides with marinade. Meats should be marinated for at least two hours. Meats should ideally be marinated overnight to bring out the flavor.

The meat is then ready to be placed on the indoor or outdoor grill. Extra marinade can be used to spoon over the meat while grilling.

What Makes a Good Basic Steak Marinade?

A prepared marinade can be purchased at the store, or a simple marinade can easily be made at home. Below is a basic marinade recipe.

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • dash of pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Place meat in plastic bag, then add marinade. Marinate several hours or overnight.

Marinating Meats: Safety Issues

Meats should always be marinated in the refrigerator instead of on the counter. Always make a fresh batch of marinade. Unused marinade should be thrown out and never reused as bacteria from raw meat may make it unsafe to use at a later date.