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Bison NY Strip Steaks with Brown Ale, Ginger Lime Marinade

Bison NY Strip Steaks with Brown Ale, Ginger Lime Marinade

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The acidity in the ginger lime marinade helps break down the connective tissues in the bison, making the meat super tender


For the Marinade

  • 1 12 ounce bottle of honey brown ale
  • 1/2 Cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 1/2 medium red onion, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, minched
  • 2 Teaspoons Tabasco brand pepper sauce

For NY Strip Steaks

  • 4 8 ounce Bison NY Strip Steaks


Calories Per Serving951

Folate equivalent (total)12µg3%

The 15 Best Steak Marinade Recipes on the Planet

The easiest and most amazing ways to elevate any cut of meat.

Unless you're grilling the finest and freshest Wagyu beef in your backyard on a routine basis, chances are you're cooking with meat that could use just a little helping hand. Fortunately, the right steak marinade can help you elevate any slab of beef by tenderizing it and infusing it with loads of extra steak marinade flavor at the same time.

So whether you're grilling, pan-frying, broiling, searing, Pittsburghing, sous-vide-ing, or even slow-cooking, here are the best steak marinade recipes that are guaranteed to make your dinner turn out a whole lot better when it's done. And remember: whatever steak marinade you choose, all of them call for marinating the steaks between two and four hours before cooking. (However, the longer you let it marinate, the more the flavor your steak will have. We recommend doing it overnight, if you can.) And for expert cooking tips, here's how to cook a steak at home like a pro.

The Classic Italian Steak Marinade

This simple balsamic vinaigrette­–based marinade is ideal if you're looking for a lighter flavor to add to a thick porterhouse steak. Inspired by the classic bistecca alla Fiorentina dish from Florence, Italy, this steak marinade won't overwhelm the flavor of the meat, but will help accentuate it.

What You Need

  • One 3-pound bone-in T-bone steak, about 4 inches thick
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • What To Do

Combine the vinegar, olive oil, and rosemary in Ziploc bag. Add the steak, seal the bag and refrigerate overnight, turning the bag several times.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove steak from marinade and season with salt and pepper. Discard marinade. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high in grill pan. Grill the steak about 5 minutes on each side, until lightly charred on both sides.

Place the steak on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the tenderloin section 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.

The Lemon-Garlic Combo Steak Marinade

Lemon and garlic can make for a terrific combination, blending into a mouth-wateringly complex flavor. This is a great one, that hits citrusy notes with a kick of spice from the red pepper flakes.

What You Need

  • Two 6-ounce bone-in ribeye steaks
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and sea salt, as well as steaks, in a sturdy Ziploc bag.

Marinate in fridge for 2-4 hours.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high in grill pan. Grill the steak about 5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the meat.

The Soy Sensation Steak Marinade

Soy sauce is a solid base for a wide range of steak marinade recipes (as you'll see from the others on this list), bringing rich, salty and savory undertones to the meat. With this marinade, you can leave the steak sauce on the shelf.

What You Need

  • Two 8-ounce boneless steaks (sirloin works well)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, squeezed, with seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients, including steaks, into a sturdy Ziploc bag and mix well.

Remove steak from marinade and discard marinade. Grill on medium-high for about 5 minutes on each side.

The Savory Ginger Soy Steak Marinade

Ginger goes great with soy when creating a steak marinade, particularly if combined with something to add a bit of sweetness—honey, molasses, or hoisin sauce, for example (sugar can always work too, in a pinch). This recipe comes from The New York Times' Mark Bittman, who is not a big advocate of long marinating times and says it's "ideal for steak, but it works beautifully with any tender meats like burgers, boneless chicken, tuna and swordfish, all of which can be turned in the sauce before putting them on the grill."

What You Need

  • One 16- to 24-ounce boneless steak (rib-eye, skirt or strip), or one 24- to 32-ounce bone-in steak (rib-eye or T-bone)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey, molasses, or hoisin sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Mix together the marinade ingredients taste and add more of anything you like.

Turn the steak in the sauce once or twice, then let sit in the sauce until the grill is hot. (If you prefer to let your steak marinate for longer, consider combining all ingredients into a Ziploc bag and putting in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours prior to grilling.)

Start a charcoal or wood fire or heat a gas grill the fire should be hot and the rack no more than 4 inches from the heat source.

Turn the steak one more time, then place on the grill spoon any remaining sauce over it. For rare meat, grill about 3 minutes a side for steaks less than an inch thick. For larger or more done steak, increase the time slightly.

The Korean-Style Steak Marinade

If you've ever been to Korean barbecue and tried the bulgogi, you can appreciate how flavorful this sweet and savory dish can be. Though that's usually made with short ribs, it can work great on steaks, too. Here's a recipe from celebrity chef and James Beard Award winner Michael Symon that does just that.

What You Need

  • 4 1/3-inch thick slices strip steak
  • 3 tablespoons ginger, finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • For serving: 2 limes, cut into wedges 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves picked

Combine the ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, Sriracha, and olive oil in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the beef and cover with plastic wrap. Let marinate for a few minutes to as long as one hour.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high in grill pan. Remove the meat from the marinade and place on the grill, cooking 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill.

Serve the strip steaks with lime wedges, cilantro and Sriracha.

The Vietnamese-Style Steak Marinade

Southeast Asia offers its own delicious flavor elements that work great in a steak marinade, including fish sauce—yes, fish sauce. This sauce, popular in Vietnamese cooking, comes from fermented fish, as its name implies. It might not taste great on its own, but neither does Worcestershire sauce (which is itself made of fermented anchovy). But when incorporated into a savory steak marinade, balanced with garlic, ginger, and brown sugar, it's pretty amazing.

What You Need

  • 16 ounces skirt steak
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Sunflower or canola oil
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar into a sturdy Ziploc bag. Taste to be sure it's not too salty, and add more sugar or lime juice if so. Place the skirt steak in the marinade and seal the bag. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high in grill pan. Set the steak on the grill and cook for 3–5 minutes on each side, until a both sides have a good char. Slice the steak across the grain and serve, adding a fresh squeeze of lime juice.

Cuban cuisine is rich with citrus, cumin, and spices. This steak marinade goes well with strip steak and a tropical salad (and maybe some Buena Vista Social Club on the radio)

What You Need

  • 24 ounces boneless sirloin strip steak
  • 2 tablespoon McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
  • grated lime zest

Combine the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Add the steak and turn, coating both sides.

Refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high in grill pan. Grill the steak for about 4 minutes on each side, until meat is as well done as you prefer. Slice and serve.

The Chipotle Adobo Steak Marinade

For rich flavor with a serious spiciness, you can't do much better than chipotle chilis—with a big assist from the adobo sauce it comes soaked in. This recipe leverages both of these delicious ingredients.

What You Need

  • 16 to 24 ounces of beef flank steak
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chilies, minced in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lime peel, freshly grated
  • Salt

Mix the marinade ingredients in small bowl, combining thoroughly, and place in a Ziploc bag with the steak. Turn steak to coat and refrigerate marinating steak for 6 hours or more.

Heat grill pan to medium high, adding a dollop of olive oil. Remove steak from marinade and discard marinade, placing steak on pan about 5 minutes on each side (or slightly less or more, depending on how you prefer it). Thinly slice across the grain on the diagonal and serve.

This one's probably a bit different than steak marinade recipes you've used in the past. Papaya naturally tenderizes tough meat fibers through an enzyme in its skin, while also adding a natural flavor to it. This recipe just requires the papaya skins, but don't let the fruit go to waste—a fresh papaya salad goes great with this marinated steak.

What You Need

  • 28 ounces flank steaks or skirt steaks
  • 2 skins from medium ripe papayas (should still have 1/8 inch of papaya flesh intact)
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, stir scallions, mustard, thyme, pepper, ginger, and cumin. Rub the mixture evenly over the steak.

Put 2 of the papaya skin halves in a glass baking dish, flesh side up. Place steak on top of them, then top with remaining 2 papaya skins, flesh side down. Be sure the skins are touching the meat's surface—that's what will break down the fibers to effectively marinade

Cover baking dish and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

Heat grill pan to medium high.

Discard papaya skins and lightly oil both sides of steak, seasoning with salt. Grill the steak about 5 minutes on each side. Carve the meat across the grain into thin slices and serve.

The Red Wine Steak Marinade

Red wine goes great with steaks—but not just as an accompanying beverage. The subtle flavors of the wine actually make it a terrific ingredient for a steak marinade, and one which goes particularly well with a well-marbled tri-tip steak. Here's the recipe.

What You Need

  • 2 ½ pound tri-tip steak
  • 2/3 cup red wine (go with a nice mid-shelf wine—not dirt cheap, since the flavor will come through, but don't waste the really good stuff)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients into a Ziplock bag, mix well and add the steak. Marinade for 6 hours or more (it's a big piece of meat, so longer will help ensure more flavor gets through). Remove meat from refrigerator and lest sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat outdoor grill for high heat, lightly oiling the grate. Place the meat on the preheated grill, cooking for about 4 minutes, then flipping, repeating this every 4 minutes until the beef firms up and appears to be a juicy reddish-pink in the center (generally about 25 to 30 minutes). It should read 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Let sit for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

The Dijon Kick Steak Marinade

This recipe will give your steak a nice Dijon-spice kick, incorporating rosemary and crushed red pepper to create a really satisfying combination of flavors.

What You Need

  • 2 24-ounch hanger steaks, trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, picked and finely chopped
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch crushed red pepper

Combine the Dijon, garlic, rosemary, lemon juice and zest, and crushed red pepper into a bowl, fully mixing them. Place steaks in the bowl, fully coating them with the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for at least two hours (though overnight would be even better).

Preheat the grill. Remove steaks from refrigerator and remove from steak marinade. Season the steaks with salt but hold on to the marinade.

Brush and oil the grill. Place the steaks on a hot spot on the grill and brush them with the excess marinade, moving steaks out of the flame if there is a flare up. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare (longer for more well done). Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve.

The Herb Magic Steak Marinade

This herb-heavy recipe gives a nice light flavor to your steak, and works best with a thicker cut, like a porterhouse. The apple cider vinegar rounds out the flavors nicely.

What You Need

  • 2 16-ounce porterhouse steaks
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 6 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine oil, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and mustard, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion, garlic, thyme, and rosemary to the bowl, mixing well.

Put marinade into large Ziplock bags, adding steaks and ensuring they are covered completely.

Place bag(s) in refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours—turning once or twice.

Remove meat from bag. Discard the sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Season steaks with kosher salt.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill with coals or heat on medium-high. Brush both sides of the marinated steak with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and herbs. Grill the steaks, turning at least once, cooking until meat reaches desired doneness. Slice and serve.

The Garlic Special Steak Marinade

Some guys love garlic, some hate it. During dates and romantic evenings, it's probably best avoided, but for a hearty night of steak at home, you'd do well to make friends with the bulb. Here's a simple, delicious recipe that will allow you to do just that.

What You Need

  • 2 16-ounce rib-eye steaks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • Coarse salt and pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine oil, garlic, and thyme. Add steaks, making sure to completely coat. Cover dish and refrigerate at least 1 hour or as long as overnight. Turn steaks a few times if marinating overnight.

Prepare grill, lightly oiling grates. Remove steak from marinade and season with salt and pepper, discarding marinade. Place steak on grill, and cover, turning once, until meat is desired doneness (12 to 16 minutes should get it to medium-rare).

The Rich Tomato Steak Marinade

Here's another excellent marinade option that incorporates red wine, but goes even more hearty by making tomato sauce part of the flavor.

What You Need

  • Two 8-ounce boneless steaks
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme
  • 1 cup of Worcester sauce
  • I cup red wine
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

In a mixing bowl, combine the Worcester sauce, wine, and tomato sauce, as well as the salt, thyme, and chili peppers. Fully mix and add the steak, coating completely and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove steaks, remove excess steak marinade and pan grill about 5 minutes on each side or longer, depending on your preferred level of doneness.

Pour the marinade into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half. Serve over the finished steaks.

The Sweet and Savory Steak Marinade

Brown sugar is a great option when marinating, particularly when complemented by soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. The three work together brilliantly and give the meat a deep, satisfying flavor.

What You Need

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2 pounds ribeye steak
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

In a mixing bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and mix. Add steak and stir to coat. Marinate 6 hours to overnight.

Prepare grill, lightly oiling grates. Remove steak from steak marinade and season with salt and pepper, discarding marinade. Place steak on grill, and cover, turning once, until meat is desired doneness (12 to 16 minutes should get it to medium-rare).

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A cup of brewed black coffee adds a strong, highly aromatic and slightly bitter flavor to the meat soaking in it. Add mustard, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and a touch of brown sugar to the coffee base. A small amount of ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick broken into pieces adds a subtle dimension to the taste.

The brown sugar in a bourbon marinade helps the steak to achieve a crisp brown exterior. Bourbon helps diffuse the flavors through the meat. Add some mustard and a dash or two of hot sauce to finish the marinade. Use rum and lime juice for a Caribbean twist.

Bison New York Strip Loin Steak with Herbed Brown Butter

Bison is a lean, tender and flavorful meat that shines with this simple preparation. Serve with red potato gratin or your favorite side dish.


  • 2 ounces vegetable oil
  • 1 bison New York strip loin steak (10-12 ounces), room temperature
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic


In an oven-safe pan, heat vegetable oil until it starts to smoke. Season bison steak with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sear steak for 1-2 minutes on each side or until well browned. Place pan in oven and roast for 5-6 minutes for medium rare.

Remove pan from oven and add butter over medium heat. Turn steak over in the butter. When butter begins to foam, add the chopped herbs and garlic. Use the butter and herb mixture to baste the steak on both sides for 20-30 seconds.

Recipe Summary

  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic (Optional)

Place the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, and pepper in a blender. Add hot pepper sauce and garlic, if desired. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds until thoroughly mixed.

Pour marinade over desired type of meat. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Cook meat as desired.

Grilled New York Strip Steaks

Pull the steaks out of the refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking.

Heat a grill to high heat. If your grill has a thermometer, aim for between 550 and 700 degrees.

Brush both sides of each steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When the grill is hot, place the steaks diagonally on the grill — if your grill were a clock, start the steaks at 10 o’clock — and cook for 3 to 4 minutes with the lid closed. Next, give the steaks a twist, turning them to 2 o’clock on the grill, to give the steaks those perfect criss-cross grill marks.

Close the lid and let steaks cook for an additional 3 minutes, then flip to cook the other side until an instant-read thermometer reads 125 degrees, 4 to 6 more minutes (for medium-rare). Transfer the steaks to a plate and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve.


For the steak:

Allow steaks to warm up slightly at room temperature.

Rub steaks with olive oil and dust with smoked salt.

Place steaks in oven and allow them to reach an internal temperature of 125°F for medium rare.

Preheat a pre-greased cast iron pan over high heat for 5 minutes.

Remove steaks from oven and place directly in hot cast iron pan, turning every 30 seconds for a total of about 5 minutes, or until desired level of overall crust has built up on the steaks.

Remove steak from pan, let rest for 7-10 minutes before topping with herb butter and serving.

For the butter:

Remove butter from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (don't try to hurry this process by using the microwave — you'll end up with a mess).

Finally chop the garlic, parsley, chives and rosemary.

Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl and stir in the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and herbs. Mix well.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the herb butter onto parchment paper, forming into a 1½-inch diameter log, twisting the ends to seal.

5 Ways to Tenderize Steak

There are several popular ways to tenderize a cut of meat, and all of them can be effective. Those include:

  1. Beating it into submission (sounds tiring, right??)
  2. Letting your meat rest after cooking
  3. Cooking it “low and slow”
  4. Marinating the meat
  5. Slicing the meat against the grain

While all of these methods can be effective, they almost all take extra time, which is a luxury you might not always have! Luckily I have a single foolproof method that’s the best of the bunch…

My Secret Ingredient

So what IS the simple secret behind this trick? It’s SALT! (The more I learn about cooking, the more I come to realize that the secret is almost always salt. Except for when the secret is butter.) -)

Yes, salting your steaks for one hour before cooking them will cause a miraculous transformation! From chewy and tough, to tender and juicy.

But not just ANY salt will do! You need to use a coarse sea salt or kosher salt. Coarse salt helps to break down the proteins and muscle fibers in the meat, resulting in maximum tenderness. I’m getting hungry already!

Why Salt?

Salt is an interesting substance that can do a lot of different things to the food we eat. You may well be wondering, “I thought salt dried stuff out?” And you’d be right! When using salt in the kitchen, it’s all about the timing.

Over a short period of time (like an hour or even up to overnight,) a layer of coarse salt on a steak will draw out some of the meat’s natural juices. The juices will dissolve the salt, creating a brine. Most of the brine will then be reabsorbed, where it will tenderize and flavor the meat.

If left for a longer period of time (like weeks to months,) the salt would slowly pull all of the moisture out of the meat, curing and preserving it in the process. Fascinating!

The Test for the Best Steak Marinade

The test is simple. Test equal amounts of boneless beef chuck with three easy steak marinades-Coca-Cola, bottled marinade, and beer. One steak would have no marinade and would act as the control. The marinade would sit for 2 hours, then the steak would be cooked in a cast iron skillet over high heat until medium-rare.

Once in the kitchen I divided the steak into 1/2-pound portions and placed them in individual plastic bags, pouring the marinades in each bag. The store-bought marinade had the most common marinade ingredients including soy sauce, garlic powder, brown sugar, lemon juice and olive oil.

Two hours later, I could already see a major difference in the color of steaks. The steak which was sitting in the beer was almost white in color while the steak in the soy sauce marinade was visibly darker.

According to The Kitchn, marinades are usually made with an acidic component (fresh lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, etc.) along with a flavor component (olive oil, basil, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, sesame oil). As the marinade sits on the meat, the acid begins to break down the surface tissues, rendering it more tender.

In the article, "Unlocking the Mysteries of Marination" Food Editor Russ Parsons describes that most common meat marinades have a pH from 2.1 to 4.5, with lemon coming in as the most acidic at 2.1 and vinegar at 3-4 pH. Coca-Cola had a pH of 2.53, making it a perfect candidate to soften the protein on the outside of the steak.

All science aside, it was time to start to cook up these steaks using the same method, temperature and timing. Each steak got a sprinkling of salt and pepper and was cooked in a cast iron pan with butter and a bit of olive oil.

After spending some time cooking up the steaks it was time to dive in. I placed all four steaks on different plates, writing down the marinade and slipping it under the plate so no one would know. I called over my family for dinner and the testing began.

Tips & Tricks

•The sharper and more acidic the liquid you use, the more it should be diluted with oil. Use up to 5 parts oil for every 1 part sharp, unaged vinegar, for example. Four parts oil is usually suitable for 1 part wine or citrus juices, and with milder choices such as Worcestershire or well-aged balsamic and wine vinegars, 3 parts oil should be sufficient.

•Grilling a steak creates browning through a chemical process called Maillard reactions. Amino acids in the beef's proteins break down under the heat, and then the fragments recombine to make complex, savory flavor molecules. Most of the ingredients in this marinade emphasize that savoriness, known by the Japanese term "umami." Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce are both potent carriers of naturally savory glutamates, and thick, dark balsamic vinegar adds both umami and a trace of caramelized sugar flavor.

•The flavor of the marinade is infinitely variable. Experiment with different oils, acidic ingredients, spices and herbs until you find a blend that suits your personal taste.

•Many cookbooks and recipe writers sharply discourage piercing a steak, on the grounds that it lets juices run out during the cooking and leaves your steak dryer than it should be. This long-established piece of kitchen lore doesn't hold up under scrutiny. The steak's muscle fibers run from top to bottom, so each puncture affects an infinitesimal percentage of the steak's surface area. The remainder of your T-bone remains intact, and the overall effect is negligible.

•If you plan to pan-sear your steak, use a wadded-up piece of paper towel to blot excess marinade from its surface. In the full-contact cooking environment of a hot skillet, steam from the marinade can impede the initial browning that gives the steak its glorious crust and much of its flavor.

Watch the video: Bison NY Strip BBQ Recipe