Consider This Tip Before Using A Sweet Marinade With Beef

While a good steak can go directly onto a grill, for many beef cuts, a marinade is an indispensable step. Consider the sweet and salty notes of Korean bulgogi, or the cumin, citrus and spice in an aromatic carne asada. The beef softens due to the inclusion of acid and salt, while an oil component adds a bit of moisture. Other marinade ingredients are there to provide flavor, by adhering to the exterior of the cut.

This tenderizing quality can be attained by using sugar, too — in whatever type it's integrated. Sugar not only adds an obvious sweetness, but also enhances those charred grill marks. Upon contact with heat, it'll smoke up and also crisp up the external texture. But before you start sprinkling sugar all over your beef, note that if you're using a whole sugar — especially varieties with larger crystals such as brown sugar — you'll want to dissolve it prior to application.

This way, the sweetener won't clump together, ensuring the beef is evenly coated. And, it'll let the sugar dissolve further into the meat, which will allow the marinade flavor to mingle better. It's a simple step, but one with delicious pay-off.

Dissolve sugar for better beef marination

When it comes to the sweet element in a beef marinade, a little goes a long way. In addition to the obvious pitfall of overly-sugary meat, too much will also lead to excessive burning. Most chefs adhere to a rough formula of around one part sugar to four parts oil, to ensure that all the flavors are in check.

Of course, there will some slight deviation depending on the sugar type. For example, agave offers one and a half times more sweetness than sugar, so you'll want to go light on the pour. Plus, it's already more liquid, so it's all too easy to keep pouring — break out the measuring tools to avoid any off-tasting marinades.

And when it gets to the marinade mixing, a blender is a dependable contraption for the job, and will help to ensure the sugar is fully dissolved. You can throw in a range of ingredients that'll give your marinade a boost, and the consistency will be smooth. But just so long as you stir your marinade enough so that the sugar you use has completely dissolved before coating the meat with it, the beef should turn out flavored to perfection.