How to Make Marinade for Roast Beef

by Molly Thompson ; Updated September 28, 2017

A delicious, tender beef roast ranks high on many lists of comfort foods. But sometimes a roast comes out of the oven tough, dry and flavorless. Lessen the risk of this culinary disappointment by marinating the meat ahead of time. You can even transform the used marinade into a tasty sauce -- just be sure to thoroughly boil it first, after it comes into contact with the raw meat.

Effects of a Marinade

Although roasts don't require marination, it can enhance the flavor and texture of the meat. Particularly with less expensive cuts, an effective marinade breaks down tough connective fibers, leading to a more tender result. The right blend of spices and liquids, meanwhile, season the roast. Including a salty element in your marinade, such as soy sauce or flavored salt, helps the beef retain its flavorful juices as it roasts. Marinate a roast overnight in a tightly sealed container or a large resealable plastic food-storage bag, turning the meat in the liquid occasionally so it marinates evenly.

Traditional Ingredients

Standard marinades consist of approximately equal parts of an acidic liquid, aromatic seasonings and cooking oil. The acidic liquid cuts through the meat's tough surface; lemon or orange juice and vinegar are traditional choices. For a simple marinade, blend an acidic liquid with Worcestershire or steak sauce, cooking oil, and salt and pepper. Add onion or garlic salt for even more flavor. Whisk all of the ingredients until they are well-blended. Marinate the roast in the mixture for at least several hours but not longer than 8 hours or your meat might turn mushy.

International Flavors

Change up the ingredients in your marinade for a roast with a regional or ethnic flair. Add tomato juice, chopped green peppers, oregano, basil and garlic salt to red wine vinegar and olive oil for an Italian-inspired roast. A blend of cumin, cayenne pepper, lime juice and onion salt add a south-of-the-border taste; include a dash of hot pepper sauce in your marinade to make it spicier. For an Asian-inspired beef roast, use pineapple juice or yogurt as your marinade base and blend it with ginger, mustard, green peppercorns, soy sauce and Chinese five-spice powder or saffron.

Sweet and Sour Options

Making your own marinade allows you to experiment with non-traditional flavors, such as adding sweetness to the beef. Honey or brown sugar lends an unexpected sweetness, and the brown sugar helps the meat turn brown during cooking. Mix the honey with lemon juice and chili sauce for a zesty sweet and savory option. Cinnamon, orange juice, a garlic-pepper seasoning blend and cooking oil creates a subtle blend of flavors for a more delicate result.

Photo Credits

  • Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.