Marinate Your Steak In Brown Sugar For A Sweeter Taste

Holding grilled steak with tongs
Holding grilled steak with tongs - sweet marshmallow/Shutterstock

Steak and salt are an iconic duo, but what about steak and sugar — specifically, brown sugar? Although the sweet ingredient might not be the most commonly reached for ingredient to season the protein, there is a method to the madness. When worked into marinades, brown sugar elevates savory and smoky filets by offering a sweetly unique and unexpected twist.

Steak or otherwise, brown sugar merits a spot in your next marinade. The reasons are tenfold. For starters, it makes steak taste better, providing more complexity as it teems with nuanced flavors of toffee and caramel. Yet, while it does contribute layers of depth to a marinade, that's not all it's capable of doing. Thanks to its predominant sweetness, brown sugar is also able to balance the intensely umami profile of beef. In fact, it can even tame tangy and spicy components in a marinade, making it essential when crafting a well-rounded recipe.

Another reason brown sugar is perfect for marinating meat is that it can significantly improve texture. Given its tenderizing abilities, brown sugar rids even the toughest steaks of their chewiness. Furthermore, the sweet ingredient promotes browning and caramelization, allowing meat to develop a perfectly crisp exterior. This potential for successful lacquering also means that brown sugar has aesthetic perks, once again proving its worth in a marinade.

Read more: The Most Popular Cuts Of Steak Ranked Worst To Best

The Dos And Don'ts Of Marinating With Brown Sugar

Spoonful of brown sugar
Spoonful of brown sugar - Nedim Bajramovic/Shutterstock

Before you do anything, take stock of which ingredients to use. In addition to selecting the best cut of beef for sugar steak, consider how different types of brown sugar will fare in a marinade. For instance, light brown sugar will impart sweetness, but in a very subtle way. Dark brown sugar will offer bolder traces of toffee due to its higher level of molasses. While both options will be impactful in varying degrees, we recommend opting for dark brown sugar as it best complements steak.

Brown sugar can revamp nearly any marinade; should a recipe call for something sweet, simply swap in brown sugar. Otherwise, consider introducing it into a recipe that lacks an element of sweetness. That said, whether you whisk some into a smoky chipotle marinade or a zesty citrus-based recipe, the addition is guaranteed to create more harmonious flavors as the steak rests. The only question left is, how much brown sugar is too much?

To avoid candying cuts of meat, use brown sugar sparingly. Although exact amounts will vary based on quantity, generally, a few spoonfuls are enough to season most marinades. In fact, modesty can even prevent marinades from becoming burnt and bitter during cooking — a risk that can also be mitigated by brushing off glaze before steak hits the grill. In any case, be mindful of time and temperature so that your brown sugar-marinated steak turns out perfect every time!

Read the original article on Tasting Table