The Art of Perfecting a Porterhouse Steak Marinade

Porterhouse Steak Marinade

Photo by Brian licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Marinating meat has long been a tradition, with secret recipes passed down through generations. However, today we approach the art of marinating with a more scientific understanding. The purpose of marinating is to tenderize tougher cuts of meat, infusing them with flavor. Whether you marinate your Porterhouse steak for a short hour or a lengthy three days, the key lies in finding the perfect recipe. This balanced marinade will penetrate beyond the surface, ensuring the best results for your steak.

Unleashing the Flavors

A well-crafted Porterhouse steak marinade works wonders for both thin and thick cuts, as every part of the meat is exposed regardless of thickness. The base of the marinade should possess an acidic or enzymatic nature to allow for penetration. Common acids like lemon juice, wine, and vinegar do the trick. Wine and flavored vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar, particularly complement steaks like the Porterhouse. As for enzymatic ingredients, pineapple juice, papaya extracts, crushed ginger, yogurt, and more prove effective for smaller cuts of meat. However, thicker steaks may not benefit as much from enzymatic marinades.

Apart from the marinade’s acid component, a stellar Porterhouse steak marinade is packed with flavorful ingredients. Liquid additions like olive oil, hot sauce, brewed black coffee, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and fish sauce all enhance the taste. Keep in mind that these liquids may contribute salt content, so adjust your final recipe’s salt accordingly. Dry ingredients, such as spices, herbs, garlic, ginger, and black pepper, also play a crucial role. While the liquid will reconstitute dry spices and herbs, a longer marinade time is recommended when using a larger quantity. Remember that a quick 20-minute marinade won’t allow sufficient time for the release of dry ingredients’ flavors.

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Timing Is Everything

Now, let’s talk about the marinating period. Porterhouse steaks are generally thick enough to benefit from an overnight session. However, longer isn’t always better, especially when dealing with exposed cut edges of muscle fibers. Extending the marination period beyond 48 hours may result in a surface that is too soft, almost mushy, due to prolonged exposure to the acidic marinade. Aim for around 24 hours or less to achieve optimal results. Strongly flavored marinades can produce excellent results in as little as 2 to 8 hours of soaking. With a marbled steak like the Porterhouse, there’s no need to plan your marinade a week in advance. Even a short marination of just 20 minutes to 1 hour can add flavor, although it won’t significantly affect the texture.

Tips and Tricks

Simplicity is key when selecting a flavor combination for your marinade. Since Porterhouse steaks are usually at least 1 inch thick, the marinade will primarily penetrate the surface. Therefore, bold flavors like coffee, black pepper, and hot peppers tend to shine more than subtle combinations.

Porterhouse Steak Marinade Recipe


For the Marinade

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

For the Steak

  • 2 Porterhouse steaks
  • Plastic bag or bowl with plastic wrap


  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients, adding up to 1/3 cup of water if necessary to fully cover larger steaks.
  2. Place the steaks in a bag or bowl, ensuring they are fully submerged in the marinade. If using a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap.
  3. Refrigerate the steaks and marinade for 20 minutes to 48 hours. Do not let the meat warm to room temperature before cooking.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

For the Porterhouse steak:

  • Serving size: 3.5 oz or 100 grams
  • Calories: 139
  • Total Fat: 5.3 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 2 grams
  • Cholesterol: 57 milligrams
  • Protein: 22.7 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams

For the marinade:

  • Servings: 2
  • Calories: 71
  • Total Fat: 0 grams
  • Total Sugars: 9 grams
  • Total Carbohydrates: 14 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams


Feel free to experiment with different combinations of dried spices and herbs to tailor the marinade’s flavor. Substitute the red wine vinegar with an equal amount of balsamic or apple cider vinegar, or try a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar. If you plan to use the marinade as a sauce, remember to bring it to a rolling boil for 10 minutes to eliminate any bacteria from exposure to raw beef.

In Conclusion

Achieving a juicy and flavorful Porterhouse steak is made easy with the help of a well-crafted marinade. Don’t be afraid to experiment and create your own unique marinade recipes. Happy grilling!

For more mouth-watering BBQ inspiration, check out Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.