Baste Your Steaks In Leftover Marinade For Deeper Flavor In Every Bite

A sure way to add flavor both on the grill and when you pan sear a steak is to baste the meat as it cooks. Basting is simply the process of brushing or spooning liquid over meat as it cooks, infusing it with the aromas in the liquid and returning moisture that's lost from heat. Melted butter, especially herbaceous compound butter, is a frequent basting liquid for steak. Another practical choice when you've marinated your steak is to reserve a bit of the mixture before you submerge it to use for basting when you cook.

It's important for food safety reasons not to use the actual marinade your raw meat was in because bacteria can multiply rapidly, making the liquid a potential cause of foodborne illness. And while you could bring the marinade to a rolling boil to kill the germs, boiling will also change the flavors of the spices and herbs in the liquid, and then you've also got an extra pot to clean after dinner. Keeping a bit of marinade off to the side for later is safer and easier all around.

Basting helps build complex layers of flavor

Basting with marinade while cooking your steaks builds up gradual layers of flavor that aren't possible to achieve with a simple bath in the liquid. Heat interacts with meat proteins and the acids, sugars, and aromatics of the marinade to form new complex flavors on the crust of the steak. By repeatedly spooning the marinade over the meat in your skillet, eventually all the edges will be coated, making for an extraordinary finished steak. This is equally possible on the grill, brushing the marinade on to avoid flare-ups and taking care to not miss the sides of the steak.

Using marinade for basting can also help ensure a good flavor profile when you're planning to bathe your steak in a tenderizing marinade, which should ideally not be left on meat as long as other seasonings. The acids in those tenderizing marinades can give your steak a mushy texture over time. So, since it's not advisable to leave it on to soak up more flavor, basting can help fill the gap.