Why You Should Be Marinating Your Steak In Tomato Paste

Although steak purists will scoff at anything other than butter and a little salt and pepper going on their prime cut, marinades can enrich the flavors of steak, especially if it's a poor slice of beef. While no one is suggesting you cook your sirloin in ketchup, you might want to consider incorporating tomato paste or tomato sauce as a marinade next time you start up the grill. 

This is especially true if you're trying to switch things up. While tomato paste may not be the most apparent choice for a marinade, it does pair nicely with almost any cut of steak. The tomato paste or sauce lends a sweet but tangy taste that should subtly flavor the outside of your meat. If you're on the fence about it, consider that many cultures, including Italians, have combined both beef and tomato sauces to great results. One just has to look at the Italian beef ragu or the Mexican dish steak fajitas served with a pico de gallo sauce. 

A quick search online will lend many recipes that feature steak served in a tomato-based sauce. However, for this particular hack, we're going to show you how to use tomato paste as just a marinade. 

A natural tenderizer

The hallmark of a good marinade is that it will boost the flavor while also tenderizing the meat in the process. Some may opt to buy store-bought marinades, while others may choose more unconventional methods like cola or tea. However, store-bought marinades leave you at the mercy of whatever ingredients they come with, while cola and tea don't particularly pair well with the flavor profile of steak. In order to tenderize meat, marinades are typically acidic, so the natural acids of tomatoes will more than get the job done. 

The actual process for marinating your steak is fairly simple. If you want, you can make your own tomato sauce from scratch, but if you're in a hurry, choose your favorite store-bought brand. While both tomato paste and tomato sauce will work, tomato paste, in particular, is thicker and has a higher concentration of tomatoes, so it will be easier to smear onto the meat. Make sure your entire steak is covered for the best result. From there, let your steak marinate for about 30 minutes, although you can let it sit for longer if you want more flavor to settle in. From there, it's as simple as tossing on the grill or in the frying pan.