Easy beer marinade recipe for steak + relevant tips.
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Beer Marinade for Steak
We love the ease of grilling steak for dinner and the simplicity of pampering the beef in a beer infused marinade before throwing it on the grill. As cooking with beer veterans, we have several go-to beer marinade recipes in our repertoire, all well suited for steak, but with different flavor profiles and relying on different beer styles.
The recipe we are sharing here is well balanced flavor-wise, uses easy to find everyday ingredients and is perfect for a variety of cuts – from strip and sirloin steaks through rump and flank to hanger, skirt, and flat iron steak.
Why Marinade Steak with Beer?
The main reason to marinate steak is to flavor the surface of the meat. Adding beer to the list of ingredients for a steak marinade takes this up a notch because of the very nature of beer. This is how.
A typical marinade relies on a ratio of 3 parts fat to 1 part acid plus other ingredients to taste. Besides being very flavorful beer is also a very mild acid. It can be added in a larger quantity vis-a-vis the oil in the marinade, therefore beer marinades tend to have a thinner consistency and higher water content.
The presence of beer allows the marinade to penetrate a bit deeper into the meat, acting somewhat similarly to a brine in that it both:
- increases the water content of the meat, thus allowing it to remain juicier during cooking (especially useful for steaks with less marbling)
- flavors not just the surface, but a little deeper into steak
NOTE: What a beer marinade does not do is tenderize the meat. Not unless an ingredient is added which contains protein breaking enzymes (ex. bromelain in fresh pineapple).
For more on this topic read When to Brine, When to Marinate and Can You Do Both?
Ingredients for This Beer Marinated Steak
- Steak. All beef steak cuts can benefit from this marinade, but especially skirt, flat iron (in picture above), hanger and flank.
- Oil. Use a flavorful one such as olive oil.
- Beer. For this specific recipe use a beer style such as Munich helles, Czech pils, German pilsner, American craft lager, Vienna lager (in picture). They balance a malty backbone with herbal/grassy hoppy notes.
- Worcestershire. Adds umami complexity to the marinade as well as extra acidity to boost that of the beer.
- Vinegar. Optional splash of mild vinegar such as sherry or flavored rice.
- Salt. Use kosher salt. It will balance the marinade flavors and help the beer penetrate deeper into the steak.
- Dijon mustard. Helps to emulsify the mixture of the above ingredients and brings its own rich flavor.
- Shallot. Use it for its mild onion flavor. Slice it thin. Substitute with a sweet onion or red onion.
- Garlic. Roughly chopped or minced fresh cloves.
- Thyme. Great savory flavor, not too strong and blends well with the rest of the ingredients.
- Paprika. Use sweet paprika such as Hungarian, unless you’d like to impart a smokey flavor, then use smoked paprika.
- Red pepper flakes. Optional, for a touch of heat.
Mix the marinade
- Prep. Find a container (or freezer bag) large enough to accommodate your steak(s). Roughly chop or mince the garlic, thinly slice the shallot and pick the thyme leaves.
- Combine and mix. Add the ingredients to your container and mix until well combined. Add the steak.
- Marinate. Be sure the steak is entirely covered in marinade. Marinate refrigerated and covered for a period of 3 hours and up to 24 hours. Overnight is ideal. Occasionally flip over steak to allow the marinade to access all possible surfaces.
- Grill or pan sear. Bring to room temperature before cooking. Scrape off the marinade from the steak, pat it dry and season it lightly with salt and pepper. Discard the marinade. Grill over direct heat, over a hot, lightly greased grill or sear over similarly prepared griddle or pan. Cook to desired doneness, flipping once. For grill marks in diamond pattern you may reposition steak on grill at 45 degree angle after 2 mins on each side.
- Rest. It is very important to rest the steak once you take it off the grill. You may place it onto a cutting board and loosely cover it with foil to keep it warm. About 8 and up to 15 minutes depending on steak thickness and size.
Serve Beer Marinated Steak
- Serve individual steak cuts you marinated and cooked as soon as they have rested, plated for each person eating with perhaps a sprinkle of sea salt as a finishing touch.
- For cuts meant to be shared slice the steak after it has rested and arrange onto a cutting board or a steak serving dish to present to the table.
- Be sure to cut the steak against the grain which shortens the muscle fibers and creates a more tender mouthful of beef.
- Serve accompanied by a dish of steak sauce or chimichurri (as seen above) and feel free to drizzle some over the slices as part of the presentation.
- For fajitas slice the steak into thinner strips.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- 2 lbs steak*
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp mild vinegar (Sherry or rice, optional)
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
- 6 oz beer (use Munich helles, Czech pils, German pilsner, American craft lager or Vienna lager)
- Prepare a non-reactive container or freezer bag appropriately sized for the steak(s). Thinly slice shallot, mince or roughly chop the garlic. Pick the thyme leaves (optional).
- Add all marinade ingredients to container (beer should be last) and whisk until well combined. Add steak and make sure it is well covered with marinade.
- Marinate for 3 to 24 hours, covered and refrigerated. Occasionally move the steak around to ensure all of its surfaces are adequately accessed by the marinade. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
- Heat grill (or pan/griddle) to medium-high to high heat. Scrape marinade off the steak surface and discard. Pat dry steak and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill or sear for about 3-5 minutes per side, flipping once until your desired doneness is reached. (See steak temperatures below).
- Remove from the grill and rest the steak before slicing/serving. You may lightly cover it with foil while resting.
*All beef steak cuts can benefit from this marinade, but especially skirt steak, flat iron steak, hanger steak, sirloin and flank.
Grilling time will depend on the type of steak cut, its thickness and overall size. Use a food thermometer to read the temperature.
- At 120 to 125°F steak is rare
- At 130 to 140°F steak is medium-rare
- At 145°F steak is medium
Nutritional information is not precise - it can change based on the type of steak. The beer marinade is not considered because it is not consumed per se, it simply flavors the steak.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 679Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 220mgSodium: 846mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 60g