Wondering if olive oil can be used to marinate steak?
Yes, it can!
If you are a beginner at cooking steaks and experimenting with different marinades, we have the perfect guide for you to start with.
Can Olive Oil Be Used to Marinate Steak?
Olive oil is a good basis for marinades for steaks since it has protein-dissolving enzymes but doesn’t tenderize meat (1).
You may either add some meat-tenderizing product that you can get at a local grocery store or create a marinade using fresh fruits that carry such enzymes.
In any case, the olive oil will guarantee that the tenderizing ingredient is distributed evenly.
How Should I Marinate Steaks in Olive Oil?
Since many taste compounds break down in fat but little to none in water, fat should be used in marinades. These flavoring ingredients are transferred to the meat’s surface by the oil.
Such little oil is required to make this happen. The meat should be gently coated. A few teaspoons of oil in a cup of many other liquids ought to be sufficient for a traditional marinade. Pastes of herbs puréed in an oily liquid, like pesto, are the obvious exception.
Contrary to common perception, oil doesn’t aid meat’s tenderization. Marinades can’t impact the inside since they only reach the outside 1/8″ (3 mm) or so.
The oil has difficulty penetrating even this far because the meat is mostly composed of water-soaked muscle fibers.
Olive oil should do okay since it doesn’t need to be fluid to function. Many professionals often use olive oil for steak marinades.
Whatever fresh herbs you use should be carefully chopped, and garlic should be minced or pressed to ensure that the taste components that are oil soluble are transferred to the meat.
Before mixing any other liquids, mix the oil with spices, herbs, and other seasoning elements, such as garlic.
Additionally, because you may reapply the marinade by rubbing the meat through the bag, we recommend placing the meat and marinade inside a plastic re-sealable bag—this aids in spreading the spices and oil throughout the meat’s surface.
Why Are Steak Marinades Important?
Marinades enhance meats’ exteriors by packing in the flavor.
Add any preferred spices, garlic, herbs, and sauces, such as soy, steak, or barbecue sauce, to give it flavor.
Particularly for harder beef slices, mix in a tenderizing agent. The meat from an animal’s midsection is the most tender, including the tenderloin, breast, and rib-eye, while the hardest cuts come from muscled areas utilized the most, including the shoulders, legs, and rump.
Before introducing the meat, taste-test the marinade and tweak the seasonings.
Put sufficient marinade to completely cover the meat in a dish or plastic bag with the meat. For smaller slices of beef, marinate it in the fridge for an hour or so; for bigger portions, marinate it for a couple of hours or even overnight.
To ensure that the marinade touches the meat’s whole surface, flip the meat occasionally.
What Ingredients Are Best for Marinades?
There are some amazing ingredients that can enhance the flavor of your steak, so you should definitely include them in your marinade.
- Balsamic vinegar: We don’t suggest using alternatives here. The finest flavoring will come from balsamic vinegar. Additionally, use black balsamic since white isn’t as potent.
- Worcestershire sauce: One of the greatest components for a marinade for steak.
- Honey: A little quantity reduces the vinegar’s acidity and improves the browning of steaks’ exteriors.
- Garlic: Only use fresh garlic. It profoundly affects the food.
- Freshly ground black pepper: Now is the moment to switch to freshly ground pepper! It truly is a huge improvement.
- Dried rosemary: If using fresh, use 1 Tbsp chopped; of course, dried rosemary works just as well.
- Soy sauce: If you simply marinate the steaks for an hour, you may still want to season them with a little salt since the more the steak marinates, the more sodium it absorbs from the soy sauce.
- Olive oil: Regular refined olive oil should be used instead of extra virgin olive oil since it has a higher smoke point.
- Dijon mustard: This gives the dish a little boost in taste. Regular types shouldn’t be used.
How Long Should Steaks Marinate?
Steaks should marinate for a minimum of half an hour and a maximum of 8 hours in the refrigerator.
To prevent the proteins from starting to break down and the outermost part from becoming mushy, we don’t advise marinating for any longer than that.
When to Use a Steak Marinade?
Steak marinades are mostly used to soften any tough meat cuts you may have.
This is when you are inexpensive cuts that can be enhanced with a great steak marinade, such as flank, hanger, skirt, chuck, and alike.
The acidity of the marinade can dissolve muscle fibers, tenderizing the cuts of meat as they sit in it. They will be able to develop greater flavor the longer they stay in the marinade. The flavor that comes from a marinade works well for inexpensive marinades.
When grilling beef, make sure to use such marinades. It will add a delicious char to the steaks when they sit on the steaks. The marinade will enhance the flavor, creating a delicious meal.
When Not to Use a Steak Marinade?
There are some dishes where the marinade will not add to the taste and texture of the steak.
It works well for inexpensive cuts, but for costlier ones like filet mignons, rib-eyes, and strip cuts, they come out perfectly moist without even using a marinade.
They come packed with flavor, so there is no need to marinate them in olive oil marinades.
One exception may be the filet mignon, which may not hold as much flavor as others. It doesn’t have the same amount of muscle fibers as other meat cuts.
Even if you don’t use a marinade, there are other ways to add flavor.
You can use an au jus sauce or herb butter after cooking it to pack in more flavor.
If you don’t want the meat’s exterior to be too moist or wet, skip the marinade. The juice gets absorbed into the meat, so even if you blot it with a tissue before you cook it, it will still come out after the meat has rested.
You should skip the marinade if you want an amazing sear on the meat.
When Should Steaks Be Grilled?
The time it takes to grill a steak depends on its thickness and size, the steak’s initial temperature, the grill’s temperature, and even the temperature in the kitchen.
This should take between 3 and 5 minutes on each side to cook an 8 oz. steak that is approximately 1-inch-thick at medium to high heat (about 425 F degrees – 218 C).
Which Steak Cut Is Best for Marinades?
Although top sirloin, rib eye, flank, and skirt steak are all excellent choices, many prefer New York strip steaks.
Flat iron or a petite sirloin will also work but aren’t quite as soft. Save the tender cuts for another day; the incredibly pricey wagyu, filet mignon, and Kobe don’t need marinating.
What Distinguishes a Beef Steak as Prime, Choice, Or Select?
Young cattle produce prime beef. This premium grade of beef is the finest and costliest because it has a significant amount of marbling, which results in very soft steaks.
Although choice beef steaks don’t have as much marbling as prime beef steaks, they are nonetheless of good quality and more affordable than prime.
The least expensive and lowest grade of beef steak is Choice. The meat is less soft and leaner.
Should I Try a Dry Rub?
A dry rub is sometimes better when steaks require a little more flavor. A spice and herbs mixture known as a “dry rub” is applied to the meat’s surface. A steak gets a lot of flavor from dry rubs.
More significantly, they give the outside of the steak a crust that an olive oil marinade cannot.
A dry rub’s protective coating crisps up while cooking to provide a good sear, unlike a marinade, which may leave steaks wet and unseared. Additionally, the browned crust aids in sealing in the steak’s natural fluids, keeping it as soft as possible throughout the cooking process.
Although rubs are often used for huge cuts of meat being grilled or smoked, they may be used with steaks. After wiping the steaks dry and applying the rub with the fingertips on both sides, combine the ingredients.
When cooking a steak, just note what kind of meat cut you use.
It can affect the way you prepare and cook it in a major way. An olive oil marinade for steaks can be a great idea when using inexpensive cuts.
For costlier ones, stick to the basics of salt, pepper, garlic, or herb butter during the cook.