Let me tell you how you can have high-end steak flavors on a ground beef budget using this delectable Balsamic Brown Sugar Beef Marinade and the best meat tenderizers I’ve ever used.
Summertime Grillin’ is Easy
Balsamic and Brown Sugar Beef Marinade
Summer is all about grilling and enjoying some time outdoors, and what could be better than digging into a perfectly grilled, delicious, tender cut of beef, marinated with the most heavenly sauce.
And we’ll be talking about a special tool that helps get that heavenly tasting marinade into your steaks. Read on and let’s get started!
Starting with the Meat
When talking about steaks (or any cuts of beef, really), the more tender cuts of meat are usually more expensive, and while their flavor is usually very nice, our pocketbooks often dictate the tenderness of the steaks we purchase.
Tougher cuts of meat are most often the most affordable, but sometimes,… wow.. they are REALLY hard to enjoy because they’re so hard to chew.
However, the BONUS to tough cuts of meat is that they are typically super flavorful!!
No one likes a tough cut of beef, but guess what? I found a solution to making those flavorful, (but tough) cuts of steak super tender!! We’ll talk about that in a second, but let’s just say, go ahead and buy those tougher cuts of steak because this tenderizer will fix that problem.
I will tell you upfront – I purchased this tenderizer with my own money, this post is NOT sponsored. I was just really impressed with this culinary tool so I wanted to tell you about it. However, there is a link below that if you make a purchase through, I will make a small commission at NO cost to you.
Getting the Marinade Right
Ok, let’s talk about marinades and marinating.
Whether or not you’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of this term often.
Marination is simply the process of soaking food (particularly cuts of meat or roasts) into a seasoned liquid (which is often somewhat acidic) for a few minutes or up to a few hours, before actually cooking it.
This additional step gives your food a deeper, more robust flavor, and with certain meats in particular, the acid content also helps tenderize the cuts to a degree and helps make them more tender and easier to cook.
Thus… easier to chew.
The marinade I used today is packed full of flavor and spices and has a simple base of balsamic vinegar and oil. This combination helps tenderize the meat, and the tangy taste of the balsamic vinegar can be a great contrast to the fattiness of the meat.
About The Marinade, Can I Make It Ahead Of time?
Yes absolutely. Make the marinade the day before you want to use it. You can marinate the beef (or even chicken or pork!) anywhere between 30 minutes to up to 4-5 hours!
What About Freezing The Marinade?
You can make the marinade in a huge batch and pour it into ice cube trays. Allow it to freeze, remove them, and then quickly transfer them into a freezer bag.
Now you’ll have the marinade on hand whenever you want!. Just remove 2-3 cubes per steak, and just thaw them before use. It’s that simple.
In fact, you can grab some freezer-safe bags or containers, add the steaks and marinade together, and then freeze them for future use (they stay good in there for 1-2 months).
Then, when you’re in the mood to grill, just get them out of the freezer, thaw, and you’re off to the races!
What Else Can I use this Balsamic Brown Sugar Marinade with?
You can use this marinade on pretty much any type of meat. Chicken, (chicken wings!), pork steaks, pork skewers, etc would be excellent choices.
You can also use them on pork chops, pork loin roasts, duck breasts and lamb. Pretty much any meat and poultry will work.
A while ago, my father and I were talking about grilling steaks. I was telling him my budget just can’t fit in those pricey, tender cuts of steak.
He told me about this tool that helps turn tough pieces of meat into REALLY tender, flavorful steaks.
Enter the Jaccard Meat Tenderizer.
When my dad had mentioned he had one of these tenderizers years ago, I looked it up on the net, and they were still being sold! These tenderizers work exactly like the big tenderizing machines that big butcher shops and meat plants use to help tenderize really tough pieces of meat.
So as an experiment, I went ahead and purchased one to try out. I also bought four medium-sized, inexpensive, tough cuts of meat. They were round steaks, (the cut is called a round steak, not round in shape.. lol), and they are from the area of the animal that gets used a lot.
Hence.. pretty darn tough.
How The Meat Tenderizer Works
The tenderizer has 48 steel knives connected to a handle. When you push down on the handle, the sharp knives go into the meat, breaking down the connective tissue.
Connective tissue makes the meat tough – the more tissue present, the tougher the meat.
So after running the tenderizer over three of the steaks (leaving the fourth untenderized for comparison) both front and back, I made up the marinade and let the steaks sit in the liquid for about 4 – 5 hours.
Doing this doesn’t just break down the tougher fibers in the meat, but also creates little channels in the meat that help the marinade seep into the deeper layers of the steak, which in turn, makes it more flavorful after cooking!
A few other benefits of the tenderizing tool are:
- The meat cooks up to 40% quicker which allows the meat to retain more of its natural flavor and marinade!
- It promotes even cooking across varying thicknesses of the meat to ensure it’s grilled to perfection each time!
And check this out!! EMERIL LAGASSE discovered the tenderizer years ago and thought it was pretty awesome!!!
Moving On To Grilling
Ready to finally grill your delicious cuts of steak?
Well, you’ve got many different options to pick from. You’ve got charcoal grills and kettle grills (known for their portability) of course, but apart from that, pellet grills and gas or propane grills are also an option.
Any grilling appliance you choose will work great for this recipe!
So after tenderizing the steaks and leaving them in the marinade for 4 – 5 hours, I fired up the grill to about 375 (burners lit only one side). I put the steaks on the hottest side of the grill.
I REALLY like that outside char when the meat is seared at high heat. If you prefer to not develop the char, start with a temp of 350..
After achieving the desired ‘char’ on the steaks, I turned down the heat to 350 and kept grilling to about a medium-rare doneness.
GRILLING NOTE: Rest the meat a few minutes after cooking before you go ahead and cut it. That way, it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and as a result, will be succulent and juicier when you eat it!
The Results Are In
So let me tell you, I was shocked at just how tender these rounds steaks were! I’m not kidding when I say that they were super flavorful with the marinade, and the tenderness of the steaks was on par with a higher-end cut of steak.
I won’t go as far as saying the round steaks were as tender as a ribeye or a filet mignon – but I’m telling the truth when I say that they were really tender and such a delight to eat!
I tried grilling some SIMMERING STEAKS the following week using the same marinade as the first time. These steaks turned out even MORE tender than the first round steaks!
Let’s Talk About Jaccard For A Moment….
After using this beef tenderizer, (thanks Dad for telling me about it!!), I reached out to the company to let them know how much I loved it and that I was going to tell my readers about it.
If you’re interested in purchasing your own tenderizer, you can find the one I bought here, from Amazon and if you have Prime, it’s free shipping.
In fact, keep checking back because I’ve got some FANTASTIC ideas for other recipes coming up using the tenderizer!! I truly believe that the small investment in this meat tenderizing machine is worth every penny.
It’s worth your money only for its tenderizing solutions but even for infusing great amounts of flavor into the meat itself. Looked after properly, this culinary tool will last you a lifetime, paying for itself over and over.
Also, if you’re totally into grilling, you should check out these other super easy and delicious grilling recipes!!
- Sweet and Spicy Grilled Wings on Skewers – Perfect for feeding a crowd!
- Country Chili Lime Ribs – Tender, slightly spicy and tangy ribs!!
- Grilled Pepperoni and Cheese Flatbread Pizza – What? Flatbread Pizza on the grill? YES!!
- Grilled Cinnamon Bun Flatbread with a Fruity Topping – Breakfast on the grill!!!
The Recipe For The Balsamic Brown Sugar Marinade is Below!
- 1/3 c Balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 c low sodium soy sauce
- dash Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 Avocado oil (see notes)
- 2 tbsp Brown sugar
- 2 tsp minced Garlic
- 1/2 tsp of Onion Powder
- 2 tsp Seedy mustard (see notes)
- as desired Pepper
- Mix all ingredients into a shallow marinating container or a large Ziploc bag.
- Using the Jaccard 48 Knife Meat Tenderizer, tenderize the steaks both on front and back sides.
- Place the steaks in the marinade and marinate anywhere from 30 minutes to 4-5 hours. The longer the better for infused flavor.
- Preheat the grill to approximately 350 - 375. *See notes
- Grill each steak approximately 4-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.
- Remove from the grill and let the steaks rest a few minutes to redistribute the juices.
- Serve and enjoy!
1. If you like a searing char on the outside of the steaks, start out with higher heat and sear over direct heat till you've achieved the desired sear/char. Turn down the heat and grill the rest of the way.
2. If you prefer not a lot of char/sear on the steaks, preheat the grill to only 350 with all burners going and grill according to your preferred doneness.
3. Grilling time will depend on your preference for doneness and the thickness fo the steaks.
4. The amount of mustard will also depend on your preferences. If you like a sharper, mustardy taste, then use what the recipe calls for. Use less if you want it tamer. ALWAYS taste as you go and adjust.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 742mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g
Nutritional data is only approximate. Calculations will depend on brands used.