It is getting to that time of year... grilling season! I'm so excited. I love a good steak, especially after it has been marinated for a while. I found this awesome list of Cheap, Healthy Marinades from 2008. I hope all the links work. I haven't made my way through all of them yet. Check out the list to see if any tickle your fancy.
Marinades can be used to tenderize meat and to flavor it in the process. It can also be used to flavor vegetables too if you are feeling creative. All recipes are different but I'll tell you what I have been told about marinades. Keep in mind that I'm no expert, this is just what I have learned over the years.
First of all, you need to let whatever you are marinading age a bit before you use it. Fresh cuts are not always the best... but makes sure they aren't spoiled too. There is a fine line between aged and spoiled. You can use your normal tenderizing methods. The hammer and tenderizing salt are a go-to in my house. Take your frustrations out on a steak for a couple minutes. It is very liberating! After that, toss your cuts into a lined pan, completely covered with the marinade, wrap it up, and refrigerate it for anywhere from 4 hours to 48 hours. The longer it sits, the more time the marinade has to break down the tissue of the cut. Dispose of any used marinade once you drain it off of your cut (used raw meat sauce = bad).
The best steak I have ever had (seriously) was back in 2003 at a wedding in Alabama. My neighbor got a 5 gallon bucket, dropped a large amount of top sirloin cuts in, and covered it to the top with cheap, off-brand beer. That is literally all he did. He stuck the lid on it and put it in his cellar for the two days before the wedding and then fired the grill up right after his niece said "I do" to a goofy looking guy in a Hawaiian shirt. The food was incredible.
Do you have a favorite marinade? My mom is a fan of bbq sauce type marinades. I like Dale's myself. Or a crap ton of Soy Sauce. Lots of salt but yum.