Marinating steaks gives you the opportunity to experiment with different seasonings and flavors, ensuring that no two meals taste the same unless you want them to. If you have a tough piece of steak, marinating helps tenderize the cut and bring out the juices. The longer the steak soaks in the marinade, the softer it gets. If you have the time, marinating a steak for two days will really bring out its gusto.
The key to a good marinade is the acid it contains. An acidic sauce tenderizes the steak by breaking down muscle fiber and connective tissue. Mixing vinegar, wine or lemon juice with oil makes a hearty marinade. Italian salad dressing also works well as a marinade if you're pressed for time or don't have all the ingredients on hand. Add onions, garlic, ginger and soy sauce to your two-day steak marinade, if you wish, to enhance the flavor.
After mixing up your two-day marinade, it’s time to add it to the steak. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before handling the steak. There is no need to wash the steak before marinating it. Lay the steak, flat, in a glass or stainless steel container. A plastic container is OK to use as long as it is food grade. Pour the marinade over the steak and cover the dish. Wash your hands again after handling the raw steak.
Your steak cannot sit out on the counter for two days while it marinates. Unless steak is cooked immediately, it needs to go in the refrigerator. Put the covered container into the fridge right away. Remove the container after the two-day marinating period and cook as usual. If you are unable to cook the marinated steak in two days as planned, there is no cause for concern. A marinated steak can stay in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Food-grade plastic bags make marinating simple and clean. If you do not have a container large enough to marinate steak in, use a gallon-sized storage bag. Slip the steak into the bag and pour the marinade on top. Seal the plastic bag and work the marinade into the steak by massaging it, and place the bag into the fridge for two days. After the two days, remove the steak from the refrigerator and throw away the bag -- no mess, no cleaning.
Words of Warning
Once a steak has been sitting in a marinade, even if it has only been for two days, the marinade may contain bacteria and is not safe to use. If you plan to use some of the marinade as a sauce for another cooked dish, put some in a separate dish from the marinating meat or make a fresh batch in a separate container. Marinade that comes in contact with raw meat is only reusable if boiled. The boiling process kills any bacteria that leech into the marinade.
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