Should You Pierce the Steak Before Marinating
Should you pierce steak before marinating? Does poking the holes really, make the marinade better absorbed by the meat?
In this article, we will try to provide answers to these questions.
Why use a marinade and how well does it actually penetrate your steak?
Using marinades is an easy way to add flavor and tenderize your steak. Most marinades typically contain these five key ingredients—acid, sugar, oil, salt, and some flavoring agents.
The acid acts on the connective tissue, softening it before the steak is ready to cook. Once the steak hits the grill, the sugar and oil help caramelize the surface. Meanwhile, salt and other seasonings (spices and herbs) create an incredible aroma that flavors the steak as it cooks.
Now, to get the most out of the marinade, your steak is usually soaked for a while before cooking. The longer it sits, the deeper the absorption and the better the taste. But is this true? How far can a marinade really penetrate your steak?
The conclusion after testing is that no matter what you mix together, the flavor of the marinade will only penetrate the meat by a few millimeters.
Now, keep in mind that salt penetrates deeper than the other ingredients in the marinade. But if you’re using too much in your food, you might want to try brine instead. Also consider that the meat is mostly water, so it doesn’t want to absorb more liquid. Don’t forget that marinades also have oil. And it doesn’t mix well with water.
So, how do you get the marinade to saturate the steak more efficiently? Many people come up with the idea of poking holes in them before pickling.
Should you pierce the steak before marinating?
Yes, you should poke holes in the steak. This way, the marinade will penetrate better. But there are a few things to keep in mind.
When the steak is pierced with a fork, it ends up bringing some of the bacteria on the surface into the meat. These bacteria are usually killed during cooking. However, if you decide to cook the steaks to any internal temperature below 155F (rare, medium rare, etc.), they won’t die in that situation. You are at risk of food poisoning here.
However, if you clean the surface of the steak with salt and make sure your fork is clean as well, there should be no problem.
One might argue that poking holes in a steak will leak all the gravy. It’s not true, just another BBQ myth.
Now, piercing the steak with a fork (ouch!) also helps to tenderize the steak. This technique usually works on cheap steaks with muscle fibers (such as flanks). However, I wouldn’t recommend doing this for more tender steaks with lots of marbling, such as ribeye.
Poke holes are fine. But there is another way to do the same thing, but better in terms of how it is presented and how far and how deep the marinade penetrates.
Instead of perforating, you can use a sharp knife to cut the steak in a crisscross pattern on both sides. These cuts allow the marinade to enter a larger and deeper surface. By poking, you are limited by the size and depth of the hole.
Another benefit of this method is that cutting creates these edges. When you grill steaks, they all caramelize and bring out more flavor. Plus, the steak looks tastier and more enticing.
Also, by slicing, you have the option of going through the grain. As a result, you cut off some of the long muscle fibers, breaking them into smaller pieces. This in turn softens and reduces the chewiness of the steak.
All in all, it’s better than making holes in a steak. And you could have a better experience on grilling these steaks on the ceramic bbq grill.
So, should you pierce a steak before marinating? The answer is yes. However, be sure to briefly sterilize the surface of the steak with salt. That’s to prevent some bacteria from being pushed into the meat when you poke the hole.
There are better options than pierced steak. It is cut on both sides in a cross-hatched pattern. This technique allows the marinade to penetrate deeper into the meat while adding flavor on a larger surface.
I hope you can find this article answering your question.