The marinades below can be used to give great flavor to steaks. For less tender steaks, longer marinating is required to allow for tenderizing, as well as flavoring.

~ Mediterranean Marinade ~ Combine ½ cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 large cloves garlic (crushed), ½ teaspoon dried rosemary leaves and 1/4 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper; mix well. Makes approx. ½ cup.

~ Salsa Marinade ~ Combine ½ cup prepared chunky salsa or picante sauce, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 clove garlic (crushed), 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin; mix well. Makes approx. ½ cup.

~ Caesar Dressing Marinade ~ Combine ½ cup prepared olive oil Caesar salad dressing (not creamy) and 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; mix well. Grill according to chart and sprinkle steak(s) with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper during last 2 minutes of cooking. Makes approx. 2/3 cup. Seasoning rubs are used to flavor the surface of steaks and should be used for tender steaks only. No marinating time is required.

~ Herbed Lemon Pepper Rub ~ Combine 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves, 2 teaspoons lemon pepper and ½ teaspoon garlic powder; mix well. Makes approx. 1-1/2 tablespoons.

Season, Flavor and Tenderize Using Marinades and Rubs


A marinade is a mixture of seasonings and liquid ingredients that add flavor to beef, and may even help tenderize depending on the ingredients.
In general, steak cuts from the chuck, round, flank and skirt are excellent candidates for a tenderizing marinade. To make such a mixture, you’ll need acidic ingredients (lemon or lime juice, vinegar or wine) or a natural tenderizing enzyme (found in fresh ginger, pineapple, papaya, kiwi and figs.) These ingredients will not only make the beef more tender, but will also add interesting flavors.

Review our helpful hints for making marinades:
  • Allow ¼ to ½ cup of marinade for each one to two pounds of beef.
  • When tenderizing, marinate for at least six hours but no more than 24 hours.
  • Tender cuts such as tenderloin or top sirloin only need to be marinated for 15 minutes to 2 hours to soak up the flavor.
  • ALWAYS marinate in the refrigerator, NEVER at room temperature.  Be sure to use a food-safe plastic bag, non-reactive glass or a stainless steel container.  Turn or stir the beef occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade.
  • NEVER save and reuse a marinade.  If you’re planning to use the liquid later for basting or to serve it as a sauce, reserve a portion of it for later before adding uncooked beef.
  • Remove beef from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel before cooking to prevent steaming and encourage browning.


A rub is a mixture of seasonings rubbed onto the surface of meat before cooking. They are commonly used on roasts, steaks and ground beef. Rubs not only add flavor, but they can also help seal in juices and form a delicious crust. One thing you can’t expect them to do, however, is tenderize.

  • Make your own dry rubs by combining your favorite fresh or dry herbs, spices and other dry seasonings.
  • Add additional zing and spice to your favorite cut with a paste rub.
    • To make a paste, you combine dry seasonings with oil. You can use your favorite oil that’s infused with garlic, red pepper or lemon, or any other oil of your choice.
    • You can also add small amounts of finely chopped garlic or onion, or seasonings such as mustard, soy sauce or horseradish that will help bind the mixture.
    • The goal is to maintain a consistency that can be spread thickly on your beef.
  • Rubs can be applied just before cooking. For more pronounced flavor, apply rub to beef, then refrigerate for several hours.
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