Why You Should Remove Excess Marinade Before Grilling Steak

Whether you like leaner cuts of steak such as sirloin and filet mignon or fattier cuts such as ribeye and New York strip, there's one thing all steaks have in common: they need a good marinade. Sure, fattier cuts have that natural flavor built in, but according to Lean and Tender Beef, when adding salt and seasonings to the exterior of steak, the moisture from the steak is released and replaced with a brine that is absorbed back in. In turn, the proteins from the muscle fibers are broken down and made softer. If you've ever heard someone say that a steak cuts like butter, odds are, it's been marinating a while in order to be so tender.

While marinating is extremely important and adds layers of flavor that you wouldn't have otherwise, it's important to know when to keep it and discard it. Lots of times, you can turn your excess marinade into a sauce or salad dressing — because let's be honest, it's too delicious to get rid of. However, there's one common mistake people make when grilling their marinated steaks.

Too much marinade prevents your meat from browning properly

When you're ready to grill, the common mistake is transferring your meat directly from soaking in the marinade to the hot grill grates. According to Cook's Illustrated, this causes flare-ups which can be dangerous, especially with marinades high in sugar. The sugar will caramelize and burn, which can char the exterior of the meat too quickly, leaving an underdone inside. This can also be a problem if you're sautéing or stir-frying because it can prevent the meat from browning properly and, instead, will poach in the liquid. Lastly, Boss The Kitchen states that if a steak is drenched in marinade, the wet surface will evaporate when exposed to heat and cause the meat to steam or boil instead of sear and form that nice crispy crust. How do we prevent this?

The last thing you want to do is rinse your meat after marinating it — this defeats the purpose and dilutes the flavor. The best way to grill a marinated steak is to pat the steak dry first with a paper towel, per Boss The Kitchen. By this time, the flavors from the marinade have already nestled their way into the meat. From there, simply grill your steak over high heat, flipping once, and let it rest before cutting into it.