A good marinade on a properly cooked steak lights up your taste buds. The time spent marinating the steaks helps to add flavor while tenderizing the meat. A steak marinade should include three basic ingredients -- acid, oil and spices -- with each playing an essential role in the marinating process. Most recipes call for marinating steaks about 24 hours, but you can extend that to two days by following a few basic steps to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Combine 1 cup of olive oil, 1 cup of vinegar, 1 tbsp. of sea salt and 1 tbsp. of black pepper in a large plastic bowl.
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Submerge the steaks in the marinade and cover. You can also use a resealable plastic bag instead of the covered bowl.
Place the bowl in the refrigerator and keep at a temperature between 32 and 40 degrees F. Leaving the marinade in the refrigerator at this temperature range is essential when marinating for two days.
Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and remove the steaks when it is time to cook. Discard any leftover marinade.
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The salt, pepper and other spices help to add flavor while the oil helps to spread those flavors throughout the meat and the acid helps to balance the flavors. Marinate tough steaks like flank, skirt, sirloin and round to tenderize the meat. Most marinades call for 24 hours, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service notes that you can marinate for up to five days. Experiment with different marinade ingredients to customize the flavor.
Never reuse leftover marinades. Do not use aluminum or foil containers for marinating steaks, because the materials can cause a chemical reaction that spoils food, StartCooking.com warns.