Basic Principles For A Good Steak Tips Marinade

By Ken Kudra

Lots of people believe that a tough piece of meat will be made tender by a good marinade, so they buy cheaper grades than they should. Unfortunately, that is not really the case. Good meat has to start out as good meat, and while many marinades taste great, they do not tenderize all that much. Let us look at three major categories of marinade and see how they work.

There are three basic methods of making a marinade, depending on the main ingredient. They can all have unpleasant side effects if you do not use them correctly. For instance, an acid marinade that is too potent will actually toughen that steak. Enzymatic marinades that are left on too long or used in large amounts could turn a good steak into mush, and dairy marinades do not work well with all kinds of cuisine.

One family of marinades relies on vinegar, wine, citrus and similar acids to denature proteins. This will unwind the proteins in the steak you are cooking. Once they run into other unwound proteins, they will bind back together. This happens when we heat proteins, as well. Water molecules start out trapped in this new mesh of proteins, creating a really tender steak. However, if the marinade is highly acidic, the bonds will tighten and the liquid will be squeezed out, actually toughening the tissues. That is bad news.

Milder acid marinades are preferable to really strong ones, since they allow us to add plenty of flavor without the danger of tightening the meat and toughening it. Meats that start out with a closer grain, including flank steak, will do okay in a stronger acidic marinade, but they are also tougher to being with.

An enzymatic marinade will actually work to break down muscle fiber and collagen. Sources from honeydew melon, raw pineapple, ginger, kiwi, fig and papaya, these marinades can be great in small amounts. Too much will get you mush, not a tender steak, however. The longer you marinate, the softer the texture, too. Commercial meat tenderizers use papaya enzymes to work the same way.

The last category of ingredients you can use in a steak tips marinade is dairy products. Usually mildly acidic and including yogurt and buttermilk, this is the kind of marinade you will find in a lot of Indian foods, as well as in southern fried chicken recipes.

Steaks can be interesting in this kind of marinade, but you may need to take a look at how you are cooking them, since this is not the most common type of marinade used for them. Try curry flavors along with your marinade for a good result.

Your marinade does not have to be all that complex, so long as you know what you can expect from the ingredients you use. You will get a great meal every time if you only take the time to check out all the kinds of marinades available. One of them is going to be right for your steak. - 29857

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