The Best Steak Marinade Recipes for Any Cut of Beef

Whether you’ve got a tri-tip, a T-Bone, or a brisket, here are winning marinades.

A steak marinade is perfect for the "value cuts" of the cow—your chuck and flat iron steaks—helping enhance the flavor and tenderize the lesser hunks of beef. But if properly made, the right steak marinade can be a terrific compliment to even a pricy cut of tenderloin. Deciding which ingredients and in what proportion is key to creating a perfect marinade for a given cut.

Also important: How long you marinate the steaks.

"A skirt steak is nice and thin—it needs no more than an hour or two," says Fabio Viviani, executive chef and partner in DineAmic Group, whose restaurants include Prime & Provisions steakhouse in Chicago, IL, and author of several cookbooks, including 30-Minute Italian, out this May (see his recipe below). "On the other hand, beef shank is a big piece, so it needs 12 to 24 hours for the steak marinade to penetrate that much tissue."

With these guidelines in mind, here we offer up a handful of steak marinade recipes that work especially well for a given cut of beef.

Skirt Steak: Chef Viviani's Parlsey, Lemon, and Thyme Marinade

What You Need

  • 16 ounces skirt steak
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

What To Do 

Combine the coriander, honey, lime juice, thyme, shallot, lemon juice, parsley, and garlic in a blender and pulse 4 times. Season with salt and pepper, and add the oil.

Blend on high speed for 1 minute until fully combined. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Combine with the steak, marinade for 1 to 2 hours.

Tri Tip: Marinated Tri-Tip Steak with Dijonaise

This recipe comes from Sam Talbot, a New York City chef and contentant on Top Chef. "Steak is de rigueur for game-day barbecues, and the tri-tip is a totally underrated version that is unbelievably flavorful—and won't break the bank," says Talbot. "This recipe offers easy prep, fast cooking, a knockout sauce, and double-knockout mustard. Rich red wine probably not optional."

What You Need

  • 2 pounds yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 pounds beef tri-tip steak, cut into 6 portions
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoons chopped garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Dijonnaise (recipe below)

What To Do 

Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the oil and red wine vinegar. Pat the steak pieces dry; rub each with the oil mixture. Stir together the cumin, chile powder, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle on both sides of the steaks.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy, ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high. Sear the steaks in the hot oil, about 1 minute and 30 seconds per side. Transfer the skillet to the upper third of the oven; bake until medium-rare, 6 to 8 minutes.

Transfer the steaks to a platter; let rest about 4 minutes before serving. Serve with the Dijonnaise.


1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise

3 tablespoons plain Greek-style yogurt

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Combine all the ingredients and serve.

Flank Steak: Tough Marinade for a Tough Cut

Part of the cow's belly, the flank steak is one of the tougher cuts of meat and a good steak marinade will be your friend here not just because of flavor, but the way it will help break down the tissue and tenderize it. The acidic qualities of the red wine and soy sauce will help in this—and taste delicious, too.

What You Need

  • 16 ounces flank steak
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, mined
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper (or regular ground black pepper)

What To Do 

Using a kitchen knife, score the steak's surface across the grain about ¼ inch deep, an inch apart (this will speed the marinating process).

Combine the olive oil, soy sauce, honey, red wine, garlic, and pepper in a Ziploc bag and add the steak, shaking to coat. Place bag in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours, ideally overnight.

When ready to cook, pre-heat grill to high. Remove steak from refrigerator and discard marinade. Place the steak on the grill and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or slightly longer/shorter depending on your preference of doneness.

Remove from heat and let steak "rest" for 2 minutes, slice and serve.

Flank Steak: Delicious Asian Marinade

This is another excellent option for the sometimes-tough flank steak. Combining soy sauce, ginger, and balsamic vinegar will give your steak an Asian flavor profile while softening it in the process. The honey in the steak marinade offers a sweet twist.

What You Need

  • 16 ounces flank steak
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

What To Do 

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, and oil in a bowl and thoroughly mix. Whisk in the honey, garlic, ginger, and scallions. Place the marinade mixture and steak in a Ziploc bag, flipping it to thoroughly coat. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.

When ready to cook, add oil to stovetop pan and preheat to high heat. Remove the steak from the fridge, and from the marinade, discarding liquid. Sear the steak on each side for 4 to 6 minutes or until it's cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Let it rest for several minutes, then slice against the grain and serve.

Brisket: Mouth-Watering Red Wine Marinade

Brisket, which comes from the lower breast of the cow, is a delicious, fatty cut of beef. It's a popular option for Korean BBQ and Pho, and any fans of Texas BBQ are well familiar with it. But the right marinade can elevate brisket to the next level. Here's a simple red wine–based one to consider.

What You Need

  • 16 ounces of brisket steak
  • 1 cup red wine (get a dry one if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

What To Do 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well. Place steak in glass baking dish and pour marinade over it. Set in refrigerator and marinate at least 1 hour or ideally overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove the brisket from the fridge and marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the brisket in large covered roasting pan. Cook for about 1 hour per pound, covered. For last hour of cooking, remove brisket and slice to fully cook.

Brisket: Garlic-Lover Marinade

The smoky flavor of roasted garlic goes great with barbecued brisket (especially if you don't have your own smoker handy). Here's an unusual steak marinade that incorporates orange juice into the recipe, giving the whole dish a tangy undercurrent.

What You Need

  • 16 ounces of brisket
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup spicy mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

What To Do 

Preheat grill on low. Cut off the top of the garlic bulbs, exposing individual cloves. Pour one tablespoon of olive oil over the top and place on grill, roasting for about 30 to 45 minutes, until cloves are soft. Remove from grill and cool.

Pinch the cloves of garlic out of the bulbs, into a blender. Add orange juice, mustard, honey, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, thyme, and salt to blender and blend until smooth.

Combine with brisket in Ziploc bag and marinate for 1 hour to overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove the brisket from the fridge and marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the brisket in large covered roasting pan. Cook for about 1 hour per pound, covered. For last hour of cooking, remove brisket and slice to full cook.

Speaking of garlic, it also goes great with the leanest, most tender part of the cow: Tenderloin. Since this is one of the finest cuts (where filet mignon comes from), a lighter steak marinade is preferable. This one should do the trick, with a nice combination of herbs, garlic, and red wine.

Tenderloin: Garlic and Rosemary Marinade

What You Need

  • 1 five-pound beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons dried rosemary

What To Do 

Combine soy sauce, oil, garlic, vinegar, and rosemary in a bowl and mix. Place with the beef in a shallow dish or Ziploc bag, covering on all sides. Place in refrigerator and let marinate at least 8 hours, turning at least once.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove beef from refrigerator and marinade, discarding marinade. Place tenderloin in a roasting pan, sprinkling pepper on top. Let sit 10 to 30 minutes.

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Lower temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes, checking occasionally until it is your desired degree of doneness. Let tenderloin stand 10 minutes, slice and serve.

These hefty cuts of the cow generally lend themselves to a good rub, but if you opt to marinate, something on the lighter side is in order. Also, since these are usually on the thick side, you'll want to let it marinate a bit longer than the other cuts, at least overnight.

T-Bone/Porterhouse: Subtle but Strong

What You Need

  • 3 pounds bone-in T-bone steak
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1⁄2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt

What To Do 

Combine oil and vinegar in a bowl. Add in Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, and salt. Place steak in a glass dish, pour marinade over top. Set in refrigerator overnight, turning at least twice.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the steak on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reads 125 degrees.

Transfer the steak to a carving board and let it sit for 5–10 minutes. Use a carving knife to slice it across the grain and serve.

Chuck: Beer Marinade

This is one of the cheapest cuts of the cow, so it's a good one to get creative with in your steak marinade. This recipe and the next one do just that.

What You Need

  • 2 pounds boneless chuck steak
  • 12 ounces beer (go with a nut brown or amber if available, but any beer should create the desired taste and texture)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

What To Do 

Combine beer, olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic in a bowl. Thoroughly mix and combine with steak into a heavy-duty Ziploc bag. Refrigerate overnight, turning at least once.

When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator and allow steak to sit at room temperature 30 minute to 1 hour. Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove steak from marinade and discard liquid.

Grill over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or longer depending on your preferred degree of doneness.

Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice across the grain and serve.

Chuck: Red Wine Marinade

Red wine has come up a few times on this list, and for good reason: It both adds subtle flavor to the meat and helps to tenderize it better than many other ingredients. It has to work overtime in tenderizing on chuck steak, so this wine-heavy steak marinade is a great option.

What You Need

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chuck steak
  • 3/4 cup red wine (not too fancy, but dry)
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

What To Do 

Combine steak marinade ingredients in a bowl, mixing thoroughly. Combine with the steak in Ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (though better to leave it overnight), turning at least twice.

Once ready to cook, preheat grill for medium heat. Remove steak from fridge and marinade. Discard liquid.

Grill steak for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, depending on preferred level of doneness. Remove from grill and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut across grain and serve.

Alex Daniel
A journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Read more
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