How to Use Beer to Tenderize Beef

Written by alexis kunsak
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How to Use Beer to Tenderize Beef
There are many flavours of marinades for grilling. (steak image by berean from

Enzymes contained in beer and other acidic liquids are good at breaking down cuts of beef to make them tender. There are many styles of cooking beef with beer to get a tender and juicy result. Some recipes work with a marinade, soaking the beef before grilling and basting the marinade on after boiling it. Another style is to make a thick stew using beef and beer together. A traditional Flemish recipe simmers beef in beer before creating a casserole with the meat and bread and cheese. Some recipes specify the best kind of beer to use, while others leave it up to your own judgment. Marinades are a popular way to use beer to tenderise beef and are open to improvisation.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 2 steaks
  • 1/4 cup dark beer
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Grill, grill pan or oven
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional)

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  1. 1

    Preheat your grill to get high heat. You can also use a grill pan or grill. Get out the cut of meat you want to use. Tougher cuts of beef like skirt, sirloin or flank are better for marinades because they need to be softened up to absorb flavour. Don't use porterhouse or rib-eye for a marinade. They are already tender and could be ruined by sitting in an acidic liquid.

  2. 2

    Mix the beer, teriyaki sauce and brown sugar in a large bowl. Stir the mixture so that the brown sugar dissolves into the liquid. Add three cloves of minced garlic and continue stirring.

  3. 3

    Place the steaks on a baking tray or dish with raised edges and pour the marinade over them. Let them sit in the mix for five minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each steak and let them sit for 10 more minutes. Turn the steaks over and season with salt and pepper again, marinating the meat for 10 more minutes.

  4. 4

    Remove the steaks from the marinade and set aside. Bring the marinade to a boil in a small saucepan and cook for three to four minutes.

  5. 5

    Oil your pan or grill top lightly. Grill the steaks to your preference. During the last few minutes of grilling, baste the meat with the boiled marinade.

    How to Use Beer to Tenderize Beef
    Steak on the grill (meat on grill image by blaine stiger from
  6. 6

    Use olive oil and lemon juice with half the amount of beer instead of teriyaki and sugar if you want. This combination tastes good whisked together with a variety of spices, including bay leaves, thyme and oregano. Steaks can be marinated for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. If the beer is strong and dark, leave the meat in the marinade for a shorter time.

Tips and warnings

  • Think ahead and start marinating your meat the night before or in the morning before work.
  • Marinate meat in a covered container or in a resealable plastic bag, which cuts down on the cleanup. Keep it in the refrigerator.
  • Do not reuse marinade unless you boil it for five minutes first. It was sitting with raw meat so do not reuse it for other food.
  • Do not marinate in any kind of aluminium, because a chemical reaction from the foil or container could spoil the meat.

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