One of the cooking questions I get asked most is about cooking meat. People are always wondering how to cook a chicken breast that isn’t dry and flavorless. A huge revolution happened for me when I learned how to marinate.

Don’t be Chicken to Do It Yourself

One of the simplest ways to marinate chicken is to use your favorite salad dressing. You can find premade marinades that come in bottles, but personally I think those are totally unnecessary. The basic set up to DIY homemade marinade is the combination of acid, oil, salt and additional herbs or seasonings. Some basic ingredients I always keep on hand for various homemade marinades are Sriracha, soy sauce, mustard, garlic, white and regular balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, lemon, garlic and various oils. I also always use a Ziploc bag to marinate this way you can easily massage and make sure that your protein is evenly marinating.

The reason I am writing this now though is because for the first time I decided to try a homemade steak marinade. If I am spending money on a nice steak, I want to really taste the steak. But my inspiration for this recipe came when I was menu planning for Valentines Day. I wanted to do something that was a little more laid back than a steak dinner, but my boyfriend loves when I make steak because he won’t usually make it at home. So I decided to do steak sandwiches with caramelized onions, the best of both worlds.

 

Marinated for Love

I started out with a beautiful strip steak, that I picked up from the Union Square Greenmarket, from Grazin Angus Acres. My homemade marinade was equal parts bourbon and balsamic vinegar with a splash of soy sauce and olive oil. You may have heard before to only cook with alcohol that you would drink and enjoy. The same goes for marinating, it doesn’t have to be the priciest alcohol but at least something you enjoy drinking. For this homemade marinade, and my tastes, that bourbon was Bulleit Bourbon.

After you have the homemade marinade in your Ziploc bag with the steak, secure the zip top and place it into a large bowl and into the refrigerator. You always want to place the marinade into a bowl and on the lowest shelf of your fridge because you don’t want any of the homemade marinade to leak out and get on anything else. I marinated the steak for a total of two hours and flipped the bag over at the one-hour mark.

Homemade Marinade

Bring on the Cast Iron

After two hours take the steak out of the homemade marinade and onto a clean plate and allow the steak to come to room temp. I brought my cast iron pan up to a searing hot temp with a tablespoon of butter, and then salt and peppered both sides of the steak. I seared the steak on both sides and then placed it in a 400-degree oven for about 5 minutes. My steak came out perfectly medium rare and very flavorful, a total success!

Homemade Marinade

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About The Author

Profile photo of Meredith
Sustainable Eater

As a former athlete with an intense competitive nature I like to challenge my cooking skills with new recipes and unfamiliar ingredients. I source local and organic ingredients as much as possible. I’m on a mission to conquer the kitchen