A marinade adds flavor and in some cases tenderizes. Marinades are commonly used for thin cuts of meat, such as steaks.
A flavoring marinade is used with tender beef cuts for a short time. From 15 minutes to 2 hours.
A tenderizing marinade is used with less tender beef cuts (usually from chuck, round, flank and skirt).
A Tenderizing marinade contains a food acid or a tenderizing enzyme.
Acidic ingredients include lemon or lime juice, vinegar, Italian dressing, salsa, yogurt and wine.
Tenderizing enzymes are present in fresh ginger, pineapple, papaya, kiwi and figs.
Less tender steaks should be marinated at least 6 hours, by no more than 24 hours. Longer than 24 hours will result in a mushy texture.
Tenderizing marinades penetrate about ¼ inch into the meat.
Marinate in a food safe plastic bag or a non-reactive glass or stainless steel container. I like to use the large zip lock bags.
Turn steaks or stir beef strips occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade.
Allow ¼ to ½ cup of marinade for each 1 to 2 pounds of beef.
ALWAYS marinate in the refrigerator. Never marinate at room temperature.
If a marinade will be used later for basting, or served as a sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding the raw beef. Marinade that has been in contact with uncooked meat MUST be brought to a full rolling boil before it can be used as a sauce.
NEVER save and reuse a marinade.