Looking for a fun marinade idea? Pull out the bottle of bourbon! These Bourbon Marinated Steak Tips make for a delicious (and easy) dinner idea!
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A couple months ago, a bunch of us guys (5 to be exact) piled into cars and headed up to the Thousand Islands region of upstate New York. (On a side note, the Thousand Island region is indeed home to the salad dressing of the same name.) One of the guys has a family cabin in the area, and we were bound for that cabin in the woods. However, the cabin wasn’t the ultimate destination. The cabin was a convenient place to sleep while we attended the Brier – Canada’s yearly men’s curling championship. (Little did we know at the time, but this turned out to be the last outing before the Great Quarantine.)
We crossed over the border into Ontario and watched several games. It’s always impressive to see the upper echelon of competition in any sport. Sure enough, the Canadian men’s championship didn’t disappoint! Good curling, good friends, good times.
Speaking of crossing the border, the duty free shop as you cross back into the States is a regular stop. Duty free prices on the Canadian side are insane! (To be fair, the low prices point out just how much alcohol is taxed here in the States.) You’re only allowed to bring 1 liter of alcohol back across the border. For me, that’s bourbon. I love whisky in all forms – be it scotch from Scotland or bourbon from the States. In fact, I’d guess that 90% of our liquor cabinet here at home consists of either scotch or bourbon.
Bourbon Marinated Steak Tips
Normally, I enjoy my bourbon neat or perhaps with a drop or two of water. I like to keep it simple. However, on occasion I might whip up a fun bourbon drink – like a Smoked Old Fashioned. This time, though, I used that bourbon in a marinade. These Bourbon Marinated Steak Tips are mighty tasty. (And, of course, they taste better when served with a glass of bourbon, too. Haha!)
A good steak marinade is a thing of beauty. To be fair, I enjoy steak in all forms. A simple salt and pepper rub on a New York Strip is perfectly fine by me. But I do like to plan ahead on occasion and whip up a fun steak marinade. Homemade marinades are actually quite easy to make, and chances are you have all of the ingredients on hand in the pantry. Skip the bottled dressings and sauces and make that marinade from scratch! After all, the best steaks start with the best steak marinade.
The key components of a good marinade are: (1) Fat, (2) Acid and (3) Seasonings.
Let’s start with Fat. 99% of the time, this means oil – typically either vegetable oil or olive oil. Oil helps hold the marinade together so that it evenly coats the meat. The oil also absorbs flavor from the other seasonings that go into the marinade. Think of the oil as the blank canvas for starting your marinade. For this recipe, olive oil checks off the box for fat.
Next up is Acid. Have you ever taken a bite of something and said, “It’s good, but it’s missing something.”? Often times that missing something is acid. Take seafood for instance. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice – an acid – elevates fish from good to great. In marinades, the Acid is typically lemon juice, some sort of vinegar or even beer. The amount of acid you put into a marinade should be roughly 1/2 or 1/3 of the amount of oil. The more acid you use in a marinade, the less time the meat should marinate. In this Bourbon Marinated Steak Tips recipe, red wine vinegar serves as the Acid.
And lastly comes the fun part – Seasonings and Spices. Typically, seasonings in marinades include herbs, garlic and sugars. Sliced onions are another good addition to marinade. (And if you want to get really fancy, you could blend the onions/garlic/herbs into a paste before adding them to the marinade.) The Seasonings category is where you get to be creative. For this Bourbon Marinated Steak Tips recipe, I relied primarily on soy sauce, bourbon and brown sugar.
One note about sugars – sugar will burn quickly once the beef is cooked. In this case, the steak tips ended up with a wonderful outer crust thanks to the brown sugar. However, you just need to be aware whether the marinade includes sugar. Nothing is worse than spending the time in advance to marinate some beautiful steaks only to “over-caramelize” (that’s a fancy term for burn) them.
You can use any cut of steak you’d like for these steak tips – we usually opt for sirloin steak or ribeye steak.
Now that we’ve chatted about marinades, let’s get to cookin’. These bourbon marinated steak tips are delicious! We served them up alongside roasted broccoli and a baked potato for a classic meal. These steak bites have so much flavor that they could be a meal in themselves. I hope you give this marinade a shot! Cheers!
Did you make these Bourbon Marinated Steak Tips at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
Bourbon Marinated Steak Tips
For the Bourbon Marinade
- Using a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except for steak tips.
- Place steak tips in a large ziptop plastic bag. Add marinade; turn steak tips several times to ensure well coated.
- Close bag, squeezing out all air as you close it. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or overnight.
- Using a large cast iron pan, add vegetable oil and butter. Place over medium-high heat. Once butter has melted, add steak tips. Cook, turning occasionally, until steak reaches desired level of doneness. (Tip: A good instead-read thermometer takes all of the guess work out of this step!)
- Let steak tips rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Looking for other tasty steak recipes? Check out some of these other favorites, too: