Should You Marinate Steak Before Grilling: Is It Necessary?

Marinating Steak before grilling

Are you a steak lover who wants to take your grilling game to the next level? Then you’re going to love this article about marinating steak before grilling! Marinating steak befor grilling is a great way to infuse it with flavor and tenderize the meat, resulting in a juicy and delicious meal.

In this article, we’ll explore the best methods for marinating steak before grilling, including the best ingredients to use, how long to marinate, and the impact of different marinades on the taste and texture of your steak.

So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned grill master, get ready to elevate your steak game with these mouth-watering marinating tips!

What is Marinating?

As mentioned earlier, marinating is the process of soaking meat in a liquid mixture to add flavor and tenderize the meat. The liquid can be anything from vinegar, citrus juice, beer, or wine, to soy sauce or yogurt.

The ingredients in the liquid mixture can vary depending on the recipe, but most often include herbs, spices, garlic, and onion.

When meat is marinated, it allows the flavors of the liquid to penetrate the meat and infuse it with flavor. The acidic nature of the liquid can also help to break down the connective tissues in the meat, making it more tender and juicy when cooked.

Benefits of Marinating Steak

Tenderizing the Meat

One of the most significant benefits of marinating steak before grilling is that it can help to tenderize the meat. As mentioned earlier, the acidic nature of the marinade can help to break down the connective tissues in the meat, making it more tender and juicy when cooked. This is especially beneficial for tougher cuts of meat like flank steak or skirt steak.

However, it’s important to note that not all marinades are created equal when it comes to tenderizing meat. Marinades with high levels of acid can actually toughen the meat if left too long.

For example, if you marinate a steak in lemon juice or vinegar for too long, it can turn the meat mushy and unpalatable. It’s best to follow a recipe or use a pre-made marinade that is specifically designed for the cut of meat you’re using.

Adding Flavor

Another benefit of marinating steak before grilling is that it can add a ton of flavor to your meat. The ingredients in the marinade can include anything from herbs and spices to citrus juice or soy sauce, giving you a wide range of flavors to choose from.

You can customize the marinade to your liking, adding your favorite herbs and spices to create a unique flavor profile that’s all your own.

The longer you marinate the meat, the more intense the flavors will be. However, it’s important to note that marinating for too long can result in the meat becoming overly salty or sour. As a general rule of thumb, marinate steak for at least 30 minutes and no more than 24 hours.

How to Marinate Steak: Choosing the Right Marinade and Timing

In this section, we’ll cover how to marinate steak, including how to choose the right marinade, preparing the steak for marinating, and timing.

Choosing the Right Marinade

Choosing the right marinade for your steak is essential to get the best flavor and texture. You can make your own marinade by combining a variety of ingredients like herbs, spices, oils, and acids.

If you’re not feeling up to making your own marinade, there are plenty of pre-made marinades available at grocery stores or online.

When choosing a marinade, consider the flavor profile you want to achieve. If you want a classic steak flavor, you might choose a marinade with garlic, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. If you want a more bold flavor, you could try a marinade with balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard.

Preparing the Steak

Before marinating your steak, it’s important to prepare it properly. First, make sure to trim off any excess fat or connective tissue. This will help the marinade penetrate the meat better and make it more tender.

If you’re using a tougher cut of meat, you can also score the surface with a knife to help the marinade penetrate deeper.

Next, place the steak in a resealable plastic bag or shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the steak, making sure to coat it evenly. If using a plastic bag, remove as much air as possible before sealing it to ensure the marinade covers the entire steak.

Marinating Time

The amount of time you should marinate your steak depends on a variety of factors, including the cut of meat, thickness, and type of marinade. In general, marinating steak for at least 30 minutes and no more than 24 hours is recommended. Any longer than that can result in the meat becoming overly salty or sour.

For thicker cuts of meat, like a ribeye or porterhouse, you may want to marinate for a bit longer, up to 24 hours. For thinner cuts like a flank steak or skirt steak, 30 minutes to 1 hour should be sufficient.

When marinating, make sure to keep the steak refrigerated. This will prevent any bacteria from growing and ensure that the meat stays fresh.

Tips for Marinating Steak

Marinating steak is a great way to add flavor and tenderness to your meat, but it’s important to do it correctly to avoid any mishaps.

Avoid Over-Marinating

One of the biggest mistakes people make when marinating steak is leaving it in the marinade for too long. Over-marinating can lead to the meat becoming overly salty or sour, and the texture can become mushy or slimy.

To avoid over-marinating, it’s important to stick to the recommended marinating time for your particular cut of meat. Thicker cuts of meat can handle longer marinating times, while thinner cuts require less time. As a general rule of thumb, 30 minutes to 24 hours is the recommended time frame for marinating steak.

If you’re unsure of how long to marinate your steak, do a quick internet search for the specific cut of meat you’re using to get an idea of the recommended marinating time. It’s better to err on the side of caution and not marinate for too long.

Use a Ziplock Bag

Using a ziplock bag to marinate your steak has a few benefits over other methods. First, it allows the steak to be fully coated in the marinade, ensuring that every inch of the meat gets the flavor and tenderness benefits.

Second, it’s much easier to store the steak in the fridge while marinating when it’s in a sealed bag, as opposed to a shallow dish.

To use a ziplock bag for marinating, simply place the steak in the bag and pour the marinade over it. Make sure to remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing it shut. This will help the marinade to penetrate the meat better.

Refrigerate While Marinating

Proper storage of the steak while marinating is crucial to avoid any food safety issues. The steak should always be refrigerated while marinating to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

To properly store the steak while marinating, place it in the fridge in a sealed container or ziplock bag. Make sure the steak is fully covered in the marinade, and that the container or bag is sealed tightly to prevent any air from getting in.

It’s also important to keep the steak in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. Leaving it out at room temperature can lead to the growth of bacteria and other harmful pathogens.


Marinating steak before grilling is a personal choice that ultimately depends on your taste preferences and the cut of steak you are using. While marinades can add flavor and tenderize tougher cuts of meat, they may not be necessary for more expensive cuts that are naturally tender.

If you do choose to marinate your steak, it is important to use an acidic marinade and allow the steak to rest before grilling to improve its flavor and texture. It is also crucial to discard any leftover marinade that has come into contact with raw meat to prevent foodborne illness.

Ultimately, the decision to marinate your steak before grilling is up to you. Consider the cut of meat and your personal taste preferences before making a decision. And remember, a perfectly grilled steak can be just as delicious without a marinade.