Get the grill ready: Beef marinade recipes and tips

steak with Ask Jen text

Calling all cooks!

If you haven’t done so already… Get. Out. The. Grill!

It’s May, dudes. I’m pretty sure the snow is done flying, or at least I pray it is. Open the windows and let in some fresh air, and, for the love of Pete, fire up the grill! I’m not going to get into the whole gas versus charcoal debate because I don’t care. I mean, ‘If you grill it, I will come.”

You know, I don’t cook steak in the cold months. If I want one, I’m going out to dinner. If it isn’t grilled, I’ll pass. Or, I’ll just wait until May when I can grill one outside myself. Medium to medium well for me, please. I can do without the blood, and don’t you dare cook it to the leather stage. That’s just sinful.

And what about marinade? Do you use them? I do sometimes. One of my favorite marinades is a Balsamic-Dijon marinade. It’s just 2/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing and 1-2 tablespoons of dijon mustard. I always marinate my steaks in glass containers. I marinate this one for about 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Flank steaks with garlic-thyme marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Combine all of this goodness and marinate your 2-pound flank steak for about 6 hours in the fridge.

BBQ Marinade

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove 1 cup to use as the marinate.
  3. Bring remaining marinade to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
  4. Set aside to use as a sauce.
  5. Marinate your steak in the reserved cup for up to 2 hours in the refrigerator before grilling.

Chili-Cilantro Marinade

2/3 cup Italian dressing
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder

Marinate up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Marinating tips

  1. Always marinate in the refrigerator, never at room temperature.
  2. Allow 1/4 to 1/2 cup of marinade for every pound of beef.
  3. Marinate in nonreactive containers such as glass or food-safe plastic, turning the beef occasionally to evenly coat.
  4. Always pat beef dry with a paper towel to promote browning and prevent steaming.
  5. Never ever reuse a marinade. Discard immediately after removing your beef.

I love beef and I love salad. Keep reading for the recipe to, like, the best salad on the planet.

Go make something awesome,

Steak and Grilled Ratatouille Salad

  • 1 beef top round steak, cut 1 inch thick (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 1 small eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half
  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise in half
  • 1/2 cup grape tomato halves
  • 9 cups mixed baby salad greens
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl.
  2. Place beef steak and 1/2 cup marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally.
  3. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for salad. Spray vegetables, except tomatoes, with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade.
  5. Place steak in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange vegetables around steak.
  6. Grill steak, covered, 12 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 16 to 19 minutes) for medium-rare (145ºF) doneness, turning occasionally. (Do not overcook.)
  7. Grill eggplant and bell peppers 12 to 15 minutes; zucchini and yellow squash 8 to 12 minutes, covered (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, eggplant 6 to 8 minutes; bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash 7 to 11 minutes) or until tender, turning occasionally and basting with remaining reserved marinade. Cut grilled vegetables into 1-inch pieces.
  8. Carve steak into thin slices.
  9. Toss lettuce, tomatoes and grilled vegetables with remaining 1/2 cup marinade.
  10. Divide vegetable mixture between 6 serving plates. Arrange beef steak slices over vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Sprinkle with cheese, as desired.

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