The Boozy Ingredient You Should Be Adding To Your Steak Marinade

One of the keys to a perfect steak is a flavorful marinade. In addition to amping up and complementing the beefy flavor, they also help tenderize tougher cuts. But there's one boozy ingredient that you may not be aware of that should be in your next marinade — beer.

Beyond providing you with an excuse to crack open a cold one for yourself while you cook, beer serves a variety of important functions in a marinade. For one, beer fills the traditional role of a tenderizer in several ways thanks to its alcohol content and slightly acidic nature. Secondly, it can provide additional flavor, particularly when dark beers or other kinds with distinct tastes are used. Beer can also help provide additional moisture to the steak, helping it stay nice and juicy even after time on the high heat of a grill or pan.

Beyond these taste-based reasons, there are also some potential health benefits. A 2014 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that grilled meat marinated in beer had lower levels of potentially cancer-linked chemicals known as PAHs that form during the cooking process.

The secret to top texture and flavor

Unlike traditional oil-based marinades, beer-based ones tend to be much looser, with higher quantities of the acidic, watery beer in relation to the oil or fat. Despite this, steaks marinated in beer often have some of the best crusts when cooked. This is a result of the Maillard reaction, where the beer's sugars and proteins break down on the surface of the steak when exposed to heat, creating the deliciously flavorful browning we all look for. 

The best thing about beer is that you can use it as the main ingredient in several different kinds of marinades. Say you want your steak to be a little spicy, try making a marinade with beer and hot sauce. Likewise, a beer and brown sugar marinade can give your steak a sweet glaze. Meanwhile, one TikToker puts together a zesty marinade that starts with 56 fluid ounces of Modelo beer. Paired with Sazón, adobo, cebollitas (or green onions), and jalapeños, it's finished off with two cups of lime juice and their rinds.


⚜️🍺 Certified Skirt Steak Beer Marinade Recipe: I'll never get enough of this delicious marinade. Stay tuned in for the cook, I'll be posting it soon. •5 lbs skirt steak •56 fl. oz. Modelo Beer •Sazón: 4 packs •Adobo: to taste •2 cups Lime juice with peels. •Cebollitas: 2 bunches •Jalapeños: 2 •Cilantro: 1 bunch •Normally add a drizzle/spritz of olive oil but I forgot to add it. •Mix •Rest in fridge for 2-24 hours. #tiktok #foryoupage #recipe #food #steak

♬ un x100to – Grupo Frontera & Bad Bunny

The recipe is enough for roughly five pounds of steak, meaning those cooking less can scale it down if necessary, using similar proportions and experimenting with spices and flavorings of their own. Now that you know why you should add this boozy boost to your food, check out our list of the beers you should be cooking with