Marinating Beef

Marinades and marinating times for Cuts of Beef

Flank steak in marinade
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Tougher cuts of beef need a strong marinade and time for it to work. Tender cuts of beef may not need to be marinated for tenderness but the flavor and healthy benefits are still there (see Marinades). Plan on about 1/4 cup of marinade per pound of beef. This is a general rule and largely depends on what you are putting the beef and marinade into. I like 1 gallon Ziptop bags for marinating but larger cuts may need to be placed in a large container.

Since many marinades, at least the ones that work, contain an acid, any container used to marinating must not be metal. Acids react with metal with will cause an undesirable flavor. Make sure that you turn the beef periodically so that the marinade has equal access to all sides.

For the sake of this chart, steaks have a thickness of 1-inch and roasts are thicker than 2-inches. If you have a cut of beef somewhere in between, average the times. Even short marinating times will work. Marinades won't turn a tough cut into something fantastic, but they add loads of flavor.

Beef Marinating Times

PrimalCutsMarinating Time
Chuck (Steaks)Chuck Arm Steak, Chuck Eye Steak, Mock Tender Steak, Chuck Shoulder Steak, Top Blade Steak4 to 6 hours
Chuck (Roasts)7-Bone Roast, Arm Roast, Chuck-Eye Roast, Cross Rib Roast, Shoulder Pot Roast8 to 10 hours
Rib (Steaks)Rib-Eye Steak, Rib Steak30 minutes to 1 hour
Rib (Roasts)Rib Roasts, Rib-Eye Roast1 to 2 hours
Short Loin (Steaks)T-Bone Steak, Tenderloin Steak, Top Loin Steak30 minutes to 1 hour
Short Loin (Roast)Tenderloin Roast1 to 2 hours
Sirloin (Steak)Sirloin Steak, Tri-Tip Steak2 to 4 hours
Sirloin (Roast)Tri-Tip Roast4 to 6 hours
Round (Steak)Round Steak, Round Tip Steak4 to 6 hours
Round (Roast)Bottom Round Roast, Eye Round Roast, Round Tip Roast, Rump Roast, Tip Roast8 to 10 hours
Plate (Steak)Hanger Steak, Skirt Steak4 to 6 hours
Flank (Steak)Flank Steak4 to 6 hours
BrisketTrimmed10 to 12 hours
BrisketUntrimmed16 t0 18 hours