Want A Juicer Steak? Try Marinating It In A1 Sauce

A steakhouse dining experience is synonymous with culinary luxury, but steak can be just as satisfying when cooking it at home. And while an ideal steak has a caramelized seared crust and a tender chew, perhaps the highest compliment for a steak is that it's "juicy." To promote this praise-worthy quality in your meat, a marinade can be a boon. 

Marinating helps to tenderize your meat, which can in turn yield a juicier result. But don't worry if you don't have time or interest in creating one of these flavorful liquids from scratch; there's a common ingredient that can be easily put to use in this capacity — and you may already have it on hand: A1 Steak Sauce. A1 is a popular bottled condiment, but you can do more with this stuff than drizzle it over a finished steak. Using it to marinate your meat before you cook your cut will not only add flavor and depth, but help ensure that you maintain those delicious juices in your edible investment.

How and why A1 gets an A+ in marinating

There is a meaty difference between BBQ sauce and steak sauce; the latter is typically used to help add moisture, particularly to meats that cook quickly and are likely to dry out. So what makes A1 an A+ marinade? In general, a marinade is typically made with a combination of ingredients, bringing salt, sweetness, acidity, and aromatics to the table. By that standard, A1 is almost a complete marinade all on its own. 

A1 contains salt, as well as natural sugars from raisin paste which promote browning. It also has plenty of acidity in the form of tomato purée, orange zest, and vinegar, which is important in the process of denaturing proteins, which plays a role in tenderizing meat. Aromatics show up in allium form, as garlic and onion powder, so all you need to do is add a little olive oil (and you can doctor it up with additional flavors you might enjoy), and you have an almost effortless liquid in which to marinate your meat, helping to juice-ify your steak.

Beyond the functionality, A1 is a powerhouse from the flavor perspective. That sweetness converts to caramelization when cooked, the acidity provides a punchy counterpoint to the unctuous fat inherent to your steak, and the balance of its total ingredient list creates a perfect complement for a little smokiness, whether from a grill, or a high heat cast iron sear.

More ways to make your steak juicy and use your A1 bottle

One of the most important decisions you'll make to guarantee a juicy steak takes place at the store. The selection of your meat makes a major difference, as one of the main factors in juiciness is the amount of fat marbling you have in your cut. Different parts of the animal will naturally have varying levels of this critical lipid, and some are better candidates than others for marinating. Flank and skirt steaks, top round or eye of round, and kebab meat are among the best options for this process. You can further tenderize your steak by pounding it out prior to marinating, which helps deconstruct the fibers in tougher cuts (just don't try it on tender cuts like rib eye or file mignon).

If you wind up with extra A1 sauce, in addition to topping your beef dishes with a dollop, you can find myriad uses for this versatile ingredient. It's a great component to a rich and tender classic beef meatloaf, or a flavor-packed spin on meaty sloppy Joes. It makes an excellent dip for French fries, but you can even make a savory salad dressing or use it as a take on teriyaki noodles. With this single familiar bottle, you can rest assured you'll enjoy a juicy steak, no matter the occasion.