Are there any general rules in marinating beef?

I’ve had my new boyfriend over for dinner several times already, but I have yet to cook any beef for him. I don’t cook beef very often for myself; it’s usually pricy, and it’s often tough. Although I’ve never marinated anything before, I thought that I could try marinating some beef. To practice, I bought two frozen T-bone steaks at Aldi. I cooked one of them yesterday without marinating, and it was tough.

Today, I looked up marinating on Wikipedia and it said to use vinegar, oil, and spices. So, anyway, I thawed out the second T-bone steak, and I made up a concoction of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, red-wine vinegar, and white cooking wine; to this I added some salt, some sage, and two bay leaves. This is just an experiment to see what happens.

Does anyone have experience in marinating beef? Are there any general rules as far as the ratio of vinegar to oil? And are any particular spices more suited to use with beef? Another question would be if I should buy a beef roast instead of T-bone steaks; and, how long should beef be marinated?

Thanks for your help, Henrietta

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    When to Marinate:

    For Flavor only, marinate for 15 min. to 2 hrs.

    For Tenderizing, marinate at least 6 hours.

    Marinating longer than 24 hours can result in a mushy surface texture

    Red Wine Marinade

    1/3 cup red wine vinegar

    2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

    1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    3/4 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

    Savory Marinade

    1/4 cup steak sauce

    2 Tbsp. brown sugar (packed)

    2 Tbsp. lime juice

    1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

    Citrus Marinade

    1/2 cup orange juice

    1/4 cup soy sauce

    1 clove garlic, crushed

    2 dashes ground cloves

  • 1 decade ago

    This is my recipe, which is good on anything from skirt steak to NY strip:

    1 large sprig of rosemary

    6 large branches of thyme

    5 or 6 large sage leaves

    1 large shallot

    1 small garlic clove

    1/2 cup good olive oil

    1/4 cup good sherry vinegar

    salt & pepper

    Remove the leaves from the thyme and rosemary, and roughly chop them. Roughly chop the sage leaves. Peel and chop the garlic clove and shallot.

    Place them in a blender with the olive oil and sherry vinegar, and pulse until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Place your steak in a zip top freezer bag and pour marinade over it, coating it well. Leave it in the fridge for 3 hours, or preferably overnight.

    This marinade will give the meat a wonderful flavor, and the vinegar will help to tenderize it.

    My preferred cooking method is a charcoal or gas grill, but this will do well in a broiler.

    Make sure either are screaming hot before cooking your meat!

    For rare to medium rare, depending on the size of the steak, cook it about 6 minutes a side, then remove it to a plate and cover with foil. Remove the foil after about 10 - 15 minutes and the steak should be pink but well cooked in the center, and very tender.

  • You don't need to marinate a t-bone steak. That meat should be plenty tender on its own accord. All you really need is whatever seasoning you like (honestly some olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper should do wonders).

    As far as a beef roast...if you buy something like a rump roast or eye of round roast, these can be cooked at a low heat (350) in the oven, and the slow cooking will help to tenderize.

    Something like a brisket can be cooked in a crock-pot at a low temp, and will become quite tender.

    General rule: your tougher, cheaper cuts require longer cooking times at lower temperatures.

    Happy cooking!

  • 1 decade ago

    You want to use more vinegar than oil and most any seasoning will work. I like to use red wine or a good balsamic vinegar and garlic for a basic marinade. i would marinate the meat for up to 24 hours but remember that if you over cook the beef then it will get tough. rare or medium rare is best for a steak and a long slow cooking process with low heat for a roast is best.

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  • mark
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    You should not have to marinate T-Bone steaks. They are of a very tender cut and have lots of flavor. I usually just use salt and pepper and sometimes rub a cut clove of garlic on them or use some worcestershire sauce on them before I cook them

    Cook on a grill under high heat for about 5-6 minutes on each side or broil for about the same time. If unsure if it is done to your liking, make a small cut in a thick part of the steak away from the bone and check.

  • 3 years ago

    Vinegar Marinade For Steak

  • 1 decade ago

    When I marinade beef, I allow to marinade at least 2 hours and up to over night. I have included a nice marinade for flank steak. This is a great recipe. You can taste the bourbon it is not over powering. At the end of the recipe is the link to my grilling page and you will find several recipes that incorporate marinades. Best to experiment and I recommend one or two vinegars at most. I would probably add some pepper and garlic powder to your marinade. Also, important to let meat rest 30 minutes at room temperature before preparing.

    Bourbon Flank Steak with

    Red Wine & Balsamic Vinegars

    1 1/2 - 2 pounds Flank Steak

    1/2 cup Bourbon

    1/4 cup red wine vinegar

    2 tbs balsamic vinegar

    2 tbs olive oil


    1 tsp onion powder

    1 tsp garlic powder

    1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper

    1/2 tsp paprika

    1 tsp salt

    1 tsp pepper

    Place steak, bourbon, red wine & balsamic

    vinegars in large plastic bag, remove as much

    air from bag before sealing. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

    40 minutes before ready to cook, remove steak

    from plastic bag. Place on serving platter, cover

    with plastic wrap until ready to grill.

    Mix seasonings well, blot steak of all marinade

    and sprinkle both sides with seasoning.

    Start grill, heat for 10 minutes. Oil grill rack

    with a paper towel soaked in olive oil. Grill steak

    4-6 minutes per side, rotating a quarter turn to

    get grill marks half way through cook time.

    Cook to Medium-rare or 120 degrees. Meat will

    continue to cook while resting. Tent with foil,

    rest 10 minutes. Cutting against the grain, slice

    thin and serve with horseradish sauce.

    More grilling recipes at:

  • 4 years ago

    Im sure itll be safe, unless your kitchen is very warm I dont think meat can really go off in 6 hours, at room temperature. Maybe if it was shellfish, Id think twice about eating it, but beef will be fine. Just check it smells ok first, It should smell of nice fresh blood and beef. You know the smell I'm sure :-)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Marinating 101: An Introduction to Marinating Beef, Chicken and Fish

    posted in Meat, Poultry and Seafood by Jessica Howard

    previous | blog index | next

    One of the simplest ways to flavor food is to marinate it. That is, treat it like a sponge. All you have to do is pour sauce on the food, let it soak for a while and then cook it. Try teriyaki marinade for an Asian dish, a red-wine based marinade for steak or a yogurt-based marinade for a Middle-Eastern dish.

    Marinades typically consist of an acidic ingredient like vinegar, lemon juice, wine or yogurt, plus oil and spices. The acidic ingredient softens the food, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the sauce. Marinating works on all kinds of meat, as well as fish, tofu and vegetables.

    You can either follow recipes or experiment with whatever ingredients you have on hand. A handy formula for creating your own marinades can be found at Cookthink, along with recipes for different styles of marinades.

    How long should you marinate? Depends on what you want to marinate! Here are some pointers on poultry, beef and fish.


    * You can marinate an entire chicken or chicken parts. Piercing the chicken with a fork, or cutting it into smaller pieces will help it absorb marinade.

    * Removing the skin from the chicken will help it absorb marinade

    * In general, two hours of marinating is long enough for the meat to soak up the flavor, but poultry can marinate for up to two days in the refrigerator, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Very acidic marinades can actually toughen the meat over time, so follow the recipe or package directions.


    * Marinating is best suited for the tougher steak cuts like flank, skirt, sirloin, round and hanger. These cuts can usually marinate up to 24 hours. You can actually ruin better-quality steaks, like porterhouse or rib-eye, by marinating them.


    * Fish and shellfish should marinate for only 30 minutes to an hour; any longer and the flesh might start to "cook" and go mushy.

    Dos and Don'ts

    * DO think ahead: If possible, start marinating meat the night before, or in the morning before you leave for work.

    * DO marinate food in the refrigerator, rather than at room temperature.

    * DO marinate in re-sealable plastic bags, rather than in bowls or other containers. They cut down on cleanup and allow you to evenly distribute the marinade. But you can marinate in plastic, stainless steel or glass containers too.

    * DO cover containers containing marinating meats

    * DON'T use marinade from raw meat or fish as a sauce unless it's boiled first for several minutes. It contains bacteria from the raw meat.

    * DON'T reuse leftover marinade for other food.

    * DON'T marinate in aluminum containers or foil, because a chemical reaction could spoil the food.

    Marinating is a great way to experiment with new flavors and new recipes. If you have a favorite marinade, please share your recipe with us!

    If you are new to startcooking, or are a regular visitor here, please consider

  • 1 decade ago

    In addition to the first answer, there are some really good commercial marinades available. Watch out for too much salt. I like the Alegro brand. They have several flavors but I like the traditional one for beef.

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